The past year has held so much transision for us. Noah is adjusting well to Connecticut. He has switched from a mommy and me class to a preschool class (once per week, two hours at a time). He's a big boy now...I drop him off...and sometimes actually leave the premisis...then come back for him. I think I'm more traumatized by it than he is...I have to go out and find things to do with my time because I hate being away from him. Then when I go back to pick him up, I feel the freshness of the joy his little smile always brings as he bounds to me, art project of the day in hand and a look of pride on his face as he tells me he made it for me. I tell him it's beautiful, and his response is "you're welcome".
He has also settled into Sunday school quite nicely, and now Sunday school for a Bible study on Thursday mornings as well. Before we actually go to church, he gives me a hard time and says he doesn't want to go, but when we arrive there, he flys into his classroom without hesitation. For a long while Keith and I thought maybe something happened that was traumatic to him...whenever we talked about Sunday school to him in the car, he would make remarks like "I like the boys but I don't like the girls" (which he pronounces gawls). He carried on and on about not liking the girls, how they were mean and he wished they weren't there. Then he started to say the same type of things at preschool: "I'll share my toys with the boys but not the gawls". Imagine my surprise when I went to pick him up from preschool and his teacher told me "Oh, by the way, Noah LOVES Emma". She went on to tell me about how Noah takes her by the hand to go with him and play, and tells her to sit by him in the circle while they sing 'hello', and when she does, he puts his arm around her. After the "baledtines" (valentine's) day party, he asked me which one of his valentines was from Emma. Last week after class I told Emma's grandmom that Noah has taken a liking to her, and in her Italian accent, she said "Oh, Emma likes Noah too! I ask her why she likes him, and she says 'because he makes me laugh'". When we got in the car, I told Noah that Emma told her Grandma that, and he said "Well, when we get home, I want to call my Grandmom and tell her that I like making Emma be silly". It was so precious...it was the first time I've seen him return sentiment. He was impacted in a positive way by hearing Emma's kind words on his behalf, and he wanted to do the same thing, so that I would tell her Grandmom, and Emma would feel the same warmth when her Grandmom relayed it to her. It's tiny things like these that show me how he's growing and maturing.
Last Thursday I picked Noah up from Sunday School and his teacher, Miss Lois, said "boy oh boy does he like to pretend! We've been swimming around the classroom for the past hour, with goggles and surf boards and everything!" And it's SO true! Noah LOVES to pretend. His imagination amazes me sometimes. His thing lately (at home) has been to put on his new flip flops that we got him for the summertime, and put on his swim trunks, and with his goggles on his head, he will go to the 'beach' (the sunroom) with his cooler packed with food. When we went on our family ski trip to Vermont, he was enjoying playing "pee-saucer" (police officer) with his Aunt Joey on the bunk beds. Bless her heart for devoting so much time and energy to playing with him. That communicates love to him, when you are willing to enter into his pretend world, and I know he will remember that forever. She got him Chef and Fireman costumes for Christmas. That was the icing on the cake! Now he can cook, and be a 'real' chef, like Ratatoullie! As an aside, he has grown so fond of that movie that when we trapped and scooped up a mouse in our kitchen, Noah raised his hand to the sky and said "it's ok, it's ok! he's a chef!". I was so much like him when I was young. I think he has pieces of his mommy's hopeless romantic in him.
We tried ice skating this year. We got skates from babyskates.com. I was so happy to finally find some for him- double bladed and somewhat cute. We got them in the mail and he was elated! Wanted to wear them all around the house, along with his helmet. I had to confine him to the few area rugs we have on our floors, so he didn't do any damage, which was disheartening to him, but he didn't quit....until we put him on the ice. :) I took him to an ice rink in Danbury by myself (mistake number one-you should always bring daddy for scary first time experiences). We got all laced up and he was anxious to try it. His feet touched the ice and he started screaming. I held two of his hands and pulled him around the rink verrrrrrrry slowly, and he cried the whole time. We were there all of 10 minutes before I realized that it wasn't going to happen today. Then we went to the Gaylord hotel in DC over his birthday weekend. He LOVES hotels, too. Calls his room "OO". "when we going back to OO?"...we got a kick out of it. Anyway, the point of the story is that he saw us ice skating there, and didnt' want to try, but watched closely. The third time we made a bit of progress. We managed to talk him in to going to the place where the hockey players sit. Keith...thank you Lord for his patience...carried Noah on the ice for a few rounds, then brought him to the benches. I told Noah that if he skated while holding mine and Mom Mom's hands, we could go to the vending machine and get a treat. Finally, he agreed. He held our hands, and moved his teeny feet back and forth ever so slightly while we pulled him. He was SO proud. We haven't been back since, but it's on our list of to-do's.
Our family is finally adjusting to CT. Noah got a head start. I remember when I was a kid, when we moved, I never worried. As long as my family was going to be there with me, everything would be fine. My mom and dad would make sure of it, I was confident. I remember that security, and it didn't feel forced. I didn't even question whether or not I was scared at the time. I just wasn't. It came as naturally as breathing. Now that I'm standing in my parents' shoes, moving my family to a new place, I'm feeling the void of not having them around. For the first time, my stability was shaken, and I think that's a large part of why I had such a hard time in the beginning. Now, suddenly, I'm the one who is supposed to deliver the same stability to Noah's world. The transition is much easier when I focus on that piece. There is never a second of regret when I focus all my time and attention to Noah. He has brought me so much joy and delight! I thank God for him every day!
Noah is starting to have an awareness of God now. If there is anything that he can't explain, or it's not in his power to do, he asks if God is responsible. Then we talk about why, and how He makes things work. Now and then he'll get a little boo boo and I'll say "do you want me to kiss it?" and he'll say "no, God will make it better". So sweet and innocent...a blind trust that God can and will fix everything. A basic truth that I have to pull myself back to on a daily basis, while my controlling instincts pull me the other way. Noah asked one time if I had a Mom Mom too. He had seen a photo of she and I on my nightstand. I told him that I had one, but that she lived with Jesus now. We were in the car at the time, and when I gave him this answer, there was a long pause. I could almost hear the wheels turning. "How?" he asked me.
"Well, her body used to be here, but sometimes your body doesn't work right, so your heart (trying to communicate soul) has to leave it to be with Jesus."
"So your Mom Mom went to live with Jesus?"
"Did her arms go too?"
"No, her arms stayed here. Her whole body stayed here. It stopped working remember?"
"Did her legs go?"
*by this point we covered each piece of anatomy that Noah knows of, and established that they all stayed here while her heart went to live with Jesus*
Then there was more silence.
"Where does Jesus live?"
"Up in the sky?"
"A little further than the sky, but it's up that direction, yes."
"When did He come out of my tummy?"
I turned around in my chair to face him this time.
"Jesus lives here," he said, his tiny finger pointing to his chest, "that's what Mom (mom mom) told me".
And then I had a moment. It was so special for me to hear that Noah knows that Jesus's home is meant to be his heart.
"He lives in your heart and in heaven. He lives in both places."
I pray every day that God will bring Noah to know Him at a very early age, and use him to touch lives.
Moving here has brought us closer as a family, and has brought us closer to our Heavenly Father as well. We decided this year that it was time to try for another baby. We had no idea what we were in for. We had six very early pregnancy losses, which brought me to the end of my rope. One morning I woke up early, and not knowing what else to do with my pain, I opened the Bible, and randomly picked a place to read. It was the story of Hannah. She was barren...could not have children. Her husband's other wife rubbed her nose in it. She wanted a child so bad, so she went to the temple one day and prayed. She was praying so fervently her mouth was moving, mouthing the words. The temple priest saw her and thought she was drunk, and called her out on it. She said that she wasn't drunk, but that she wanted a son so badly, and she told God if He gave her a son, she would wean him and bring him back to the temple to be dedicated to God's service. The priest was moved with compassion and said 'may it be granted to you'. God honored the priest's request, and blessed her with a son, Samuel.
The story was better than any conversation I could've had. God heard me. I knew He was telling my heart that He saw what had happened. That my greif wasn't hidden from Him, and that He had a plan, and this was part of it. I was so refreshed in the Word that one day that I started reading every morning, picking up where I left off in Samuel, and reading through 2nd Kings. My anxiety was a non-issue. I still wanted a baby more than anything, and felt desperate at the thought of the possibility of it not happening, but whenever I felt desperate, I called on Him, and He reminded me of His faithfulness. To trust Him. Every day was a journey that God was taking me on, when I read the Bible in the morning. He was teaching me about Who He Is, in the real, un-diluted sense of the word. His true nature, and His holiness. He used the old testament stories to show me how He used to treat people before Jesus's blood stood as remission for their sins...He was no-nonsense! He drew lines in the sand. Everything was black and white. If you stepped over, you were finished. But then somewhere in there, He would show mercy. He's such a good God! But then He continued to pull me through the stories and speak to my heart that just because circumstances were changed by Christ's death, and then further so by our culture, doesn't mean that He has changed. He is still just as Holy. Just as no-nonsense. When I was seeing all of this holiness being unveiled (the best way my mind can perceive it anyway), He convicted me of how lax I've been living. Even my best efforts would not be enough to meet the standard, and He knew that- that's why He sent Christ. But I wasn't even giving it a good honest try. So I made changes. Then, He took me through plans He has for our family. Showed me that we are the first generation in the family to be born into a Christian upbringing, and because of this we are miracles, and He has work for us to do! He told my heart that He would bless Keith and I with a big family, and that if we raised them in Him, that He would use us. The last thing that He gave my heart to hold on to was December. I just had to wait until December, and He would put a child into my womb, and make it thrive by His power.
I believed, but still, a part of me doubted. I am only human. But Christmas morning came, and with that a positive pregnancy test so strong that the test line was darker than the control line because there wasn't enough dye to go around. I was elated! We all were. Normally, I wouldnt' have told anyone at all right away, because of our history. But this time was different. God said it would be so, and it was so. I had no reason to worry at all. We told my parents and my brother that day. God is so faithful. In hindsight, He used my pain to change my life. I spend more time with Him now than I ever have! We are more involved in church, and are finding a family there.
A week or so later, we told Noah. He is so excited to be a big brother. He keeps asking questions like how the baby will get out. I told him my belly will get bigger first. This concerned him...he said he didn't want it to get bigger. I told him that it was just because the baby was going to take up all the room, and once the baby was out, it would get smaller again. He seemed relieved, but then asked "when will God give you a new tummy?". I don't think he gets it just yet. He is so excited to teach and play with his younger sibling, and to help me feed him the ba ba. He is so precious, my sweet little love. I wish I could put into words how much joy and pride he brings my heart.
So that's where we are! On a new journey for Baby Collier, in the process of buying a house, and making new friends every week. I'm starting to really appreciate every day because it's been my experience that you don't just go on a whim to see what happens. Every day is a divine appointment that God Himself sets up. He has flawlessly brought friendships together that otherwise would've been unlikely. He has provided for our every need. There were times when things were tight, financially, and He always made sure no need went unmet, and no bills went unpaid. As much as I hated Connecticut (and I still don't love the state itself so much), I'm so grateful for the way God has used it to blow our minds with who He is and how He cares for us.
Your prayers are coveted, and you are loved. Hopefully it won't be another 6 months before I post again!