Hazy Days

the shadow of the life to come

Hazy Days

Archives for Katie

Conquering her fears…

On this blog you’ll find all types of posts – snippets from daily life, ponderings, shared blessings, theological thoughts and, yes, the odd unashamed mommy boast.

Today, I write about one of those moments that makes my mommy heart almost burst with great pride. Not in anything I’ve done, mind you. Oh no. This boast is, I hope at least, something along the lines of Paul’s boast when he tells the Thessalonians how he boasts about their perseverance and faith to all the other churches. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the growth and maturity of a little girl called Katie.

My Katie is a bit of a conundrum. While she is a spirited child with wide-ranging outbursts of emotions, she is also fairly even-keeled when it comes to the things that typically bother kids. It doesn’t bother her a wit that she doesn’t achieve in the competitive sense. She isn’t fazed by the nitty-gritty problems of friendships and seldom analyses why so-and-so said such-and-such. And, despite suffering from a very real condition called gravitational insecurity since birth, she doesn’t get hung up on the fact that it means she is an 8-year old who is terrified of walking up stairs with gaps, going on roller coasters and still struggles to do an independent forward roll over the bar at gymnastics, despite having done them for three years. It simply doesn’t bother her. Until last week.

It was their club’s competition time for the preparation groups. It’s a fun contest to give the non-competitive groups an opportunity to shine and to experience a competition, with all its skill and character-building factors.

The night before, Katie came to my room: her usually bright, uncomplicated smile was nowhere to be seen. Her downcast face; her glistening eyes, pooling over with unshed tears; her anguished expression spoke of her fear. Her concern? She was so terribly nervous that she’d not make it over the bar the next day at the contest. She can do it as long as the teacher touches her, but, if she’s on her own, she is just not confident that she can do it. Her fear was palpable and my heart went out to her. We talked, we prayed and off she went to bed, with a little more confidence.

At the contest the next day, I was again amongst the spectators at a gymnastics competition. All the gym contests this year have revolved around our eldest daughter – a competent gymnast who works hard and has enough talent to see her through to the next round. Usually, my eyes are trained on her routine, watching for errors and delighting in her achievements. Usually, my nerves revolve around her performance. Usually, my mommy pride is in her sporting achievement. But, this gym contest was different. At this contest my eyes were trained on my second eldest girl’s face. This contest, my nerves fluttered at the thought of her nerves. And this time, my mommy pride burst forth at the look on my daughter’s face when she completed her bar routine with a successful forward roll over the bar.

I can’t begin to explain my joy that day. Katie had prayed the night before so sweetly and sincerely. She had sought out my face in the crowd just before, remembering my promise to look for me as a reminder that I’d be praying for her too. When her eyes locked on mine, she had beamed with such joy, despite her rampant nerves devouring her tummy. She had held her hands together in the universal sign for prayer,nodding at me with our shared secret. Then it was time to approach the bar. A frown of concentration replaced her smile as she faced her nemesis head on. Within seconds it was all over. She had done it! My gravitationally insecure little girl had conquered her fear! Her joy was as palpable as her fear had been. She raised her fists in triumph, all while grinning from ear to ear.

Our world celebrates achievement and rightly so. It is exceptionally rewarding to see the beauty that talent can produce. But, unfortunately, the achievements we celebrate more readily are those that are produced only by talent. Seldom do we celebrate perseverance, unless it is attached to a gold medal. Seldom do we recognise bravery in the face of fear, unless an exceptional summit is reached. Seldom do we give credence to accomplishments of character, heart or spirit. I am just as guilty of that as the next person. But, on this particular Saturday, my little girl taught me a little something about celebrating accomplishments of character and faith. From afar, I watched her trust Jesus. I watched her take a deep breath and persevere. And I held my own breath as she faced one of her biggest fears: and conquered it.

Her joyful triumphant smile echoed in my heart.

That afternoon, as we all walked back to the car, I marvelled to myself how I felt a similar sense of deep pride after Katie’s contest as I have after Kiera’s contests – for completely different reasons.

Yet, it is only now, on deeper reflection, that I realise the reasons aren’t too dissimilar: my heart overflows with joy for them because they accomplished what they had set out to do. No matter how brilliantly. No matter how hard. No matter the mistakes. At the end of the day, they each get to shake the hands of the judges in acknowledgement of their completion of the task at hand. Yes, some get golds and silvers, but all get to stand up and celebrate their completion.

Completion.

It reminded me of a passage in the Bible: Acts 20:24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. And it made me wonder if the Lord feels a similar sense of great joy when His children tackle the things in this world for His glory – whether their God-given talents enable them to shine the gospel brightly as great teachers or preachers, or whether their circumstances cause them to stumble and yet persevere towards the end…. I wondered – perhaps His Great Joy in His children is reflected in some small way in our own joy for our own children. And I rejoiced – so very thankful that He gives us such a blessed common grace of being able to celebrated joyfully in our children’s growth. And so very thankful that it causes me to think upon Him and His Great Joy!

Katie’s Brawns Club Junior Group Gymnastics Competition:

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Floor…

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And her great nemesis: bar…

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She did it!

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Receiving her medal of participation…

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Such joy! This little girl was beside herself with excitement – she sailed home on a great big high for conquering her fear! What joy!

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Jam-packed June

This year is turning out to be the year of monthly summaries!  Thanks to my book, my computer hours have been less dedicated to blogging than in years past!  So, here’s some of the stuff that made June 2012 an extra-packed month….

Lapbooking our Alpaca experience:

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Then our first weekend in June we were hit with a frenzy of activity.  That Saturday began with Mamas and Munchkins at St James – a monthly meeting of moms (of all ages) and kiddies (of all ages).  The aim?  A place to meet younger and older moms for encouragement and friendship.  This time around the ladies organised Kath Megaw of the book Feeding Sense to talk the moms through feeding tips with kids.  I wish she was around when I was in the baby stages with my lot – what a wealth of information and wisdom she exudes!  0

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I had to duck out early from that talk to make it to Katie’s Children’s Church social – a lunch date of Art Jamming with the kids in Grade 2 and 3.  What fun!  They all got to colour/paint parts of a huge collage – parents and siblings too!

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Kiera and Craig hard at work!

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Hot dogs and biscuits for lunch – those go in your mouth, Katie Wates!

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Ta da!  Finished product! Smile  Love it.

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and on the wall…

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Then, home again, home again for Katie’s birthday party prep.  As if the day wasn’t jam-packed enough already, we had to add a visit to the emergency room for 1x husband who managed to slice his finger down to the tendon while I was in the shop buying last minute food for the party …

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All’s well that ends well, though – and with the enormous help of both sets of grandparents, the party managed to start on time and Katie had a blast.  Thankfully, Craig had finished the cake long before then, and was back from the ER by the time the candles were ready to be lit:

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ah!

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With all the drama of the previous night, you’d think that certain young kids would sleep late the next morning?  No sirree.  Not this lot.  Early to rise, and just as well, since we did have to fit in all the usual birthday morning traditions before church.

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And Katie had a wonderful day celebrating with family for tea and her specially chosen dinner meal that night: sushi and pizza! 

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Micah experienced a strange, inexplicable pain in his leg for about a week.  The poor boy could not walk on it at all by Monday, after Katie’s birthday.  Eventually, by Tuesday, we went to the doctor.  He couldn’t find anything and thought maybe it was systemic.  So the poor kid had to have bloods taken.  Kiera and I tried to distract him, but the repeated jabbing to get the blood to flow had the poor guy in tears…

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I wanted to cry too!  Poor kid.  Turns out that there was no indication of systemic anything.  His leg gradually got better on its own and to this day we have no idea what it was! 

Thankfully all was better by Father’s Day, so we all got to relax and enjoy the day – starting with presenting Dad with his Daddy Day book along with the kids 2012 messages:

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Other moments in June included playdates…

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Buying our first ever HUGE tub of honey – 14 350ml jars of honey’s worth in that tub – it’s only the beginning of August and we’ve already used 2/3rds of it!

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Time with Granny and Gaa – nothing like listening to grandparents read and tell stories is there?

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Hot chocolate on wintery days with friends …

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We left Cape Town behind towards the end of June to head off to Oudtshoorn for Kiera’s gymnastic’s contest.  We stayed at Amaranth and had the most amazing time.  Our accommodation and surrounds were breathtaking …

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We could’ve stayed a whole lot longer!

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But we enjoyed the time on the farm – the long walks, the fireplace, the stunning facilities…

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And we enjoyed all the touristy things too – like the Cango Ostrich Farm and the Cango Caves

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And we even managed a trip to the Cango Wildlife Ranch

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And, of course, the contest itself, where Kiera placed 2nd on beam.

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By the end of June, I was ready for a holiday, which is why this picture below is so very poignant….  I got to have a mini holiday on the last Friday and Saturday of June.  My dear friend Sue organised an overnight getaway for the Lunch Bunch moms at her home in Greyton.  Ahhhhh – bliss.  IMG_6442

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That’s it for Jam-Packed June!  Stay posted for July’s Joys! Smile

Celebrating 8 – Katie

Sunday June 3rd dawned with Katie a fully fledged 8 year old!  Here it is – in pictures…

Our morning Happy Birthday singing with pressies…

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Katie absolutely DELIGHTED with her scooter.  She has wanted one for some time now and I actually knew about it!  Normally, I have no idea about the desires of her heart, but she’s learning to speak up!IMG_8944

Church in the morning, followed by delicious rotis by Des.  Lovely not to have to cook.  Des was raising funds for her son’s sports tour, and we were only too happy to support such a worthy cause! Smile 

Family came around for tea later.  Mom armed with her new blackberry!

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More gifts…

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And then, since Katie was quite bummed that we missed the chocolate game at her party, we got to play it with the family…  Odd that one piece was solid milk choc!

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It was Bronny’s chocolate game debut!

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Dinner according to Katie’s request – pizza and sushi.  Sushi for those who eat it and pizza for the rest.  Of course, Katie got to have both.  IMG_8986IMG_8987IMG_8988-001

Ever since Sam went with Dad to his office for his birthday breakfast with Dad tradition, the other kids have wanted to do just that.  In fact, it was one of the main things that Katie talked about leading up to her birthday.  But this year her birthday fell on a Sunday!  No office for dad that day.  So he obliged the next day – and Katie got to enjoy a special birthday breakfast with dad at his office, after a trip to the hospital to have his wound checked!

Certainly not the healthiest breakfast, but a treat none the less!

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Katie is 8!

I’ve stopped.  I’ve started.  I’ve stopped again.  Words appear, and then disappear.  Decreasing letter by letter. 

How does one begin a post like this without falling back on old cliches; gushing about time flying and little girls growing up?  I feel all that.  I’ve written it in plenty of past birthday posts.  But, this past year hasn’t flown so much as exploded, littering a flutter of experiences and emotions at our feet.  Yet, as the air clears, and the last little bits settle gently all around, the metamorphosis before me is breathtaking:  the metamorphosis that is Katie.

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Life with Katie over the last year has been impregnated with raw emotions and vivid experiences.  It’s been a rollercoaster ride, for sure.  It’s all cuddles and kisses and sweet innocence around one corner, before we’re whipped over a hump and around another corner of tears and tantrums and sulky defiance.  Just as the adrenalin and terror seem simply unbearable, we find ourselves rushing towards the end, disembarking laughing and hugging, full of joy and great contentment. That is Katie.  Emotions felt deeply, but kept lightly.  Love given as freely and generously as the frustrated wails that burst from her lips. 

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But, when I look back over the last few months, I see my little Katie growing before my very eyes towards maturity and stability.  I am heartened.  And terrified.

Heartened that self-control and independence is starting to take root in tangible and productive ways.  The tears and tantrums are fewer now.  The sense of accomplishment drives her more.  She speaks her mind these days – establishing clear preferences, be it learning styles or favourite music. I now know what she wants for her birthday, whereas years before it was a guessing game.  She has happily carved a niche for herself in her identity and style.  Girly girl to the core and not in the least bowed by the disdain from her much-loved and admired older sister, who detests all things pink and frilly.

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But, I’m also terrified that my little girl, who loves fashion, accessories, make up and popular trends almost obsessively, will want to deepen her flirtation with popular culture in ways that only spell danger.  Yet, at the same time, I am heartened that while she feels quite naturally pulled towards such things, her conscience still resonates and acts as her tuning fork.  And usurping all fashion codes and expectations of a fashionable society is her deep love of people.

Her ready embracing of all people is beautiful to behold.  My heart swells with joy, love and pride when I hear of how she, yet again, looked after a timid or shy child at Sunday School.  Or when I see her treating a new friend as a treasured long time friend.  Seeing her bond instantly with others, of all ages, races and sizes, is indeed heartening.  And frightening – so trusting, so caring, so vulnerable.

Yet, while she holds her friendships lightly and with unbiased love, she pours her love into her family like precious oil in a deep jar.  The depth of her remorse when family relationships are disrupted due to her actions is more than just moving.  It’s a sucker punch to the gut, quickly healed with the wash of love that is her generous, forgiving nature.  The restoration is sweet.  The harmony sweeter.  Hugs are fierce, long and penetrate the receiver with a message that spells deep heartfelt love.  It’s a gift.

Ah, but she’s not all sweetness and perfect love.  Sometimes she contradicts the very words written on this page.  Flirting with independence and attempting to establish herself in the world of her peers, she’s been known to show off in that way that kids just seem to know.  Yet, even then, her bravado seldom runs its course without finding Katie chumming with the new kids on the block, despite just moments before having attempted an us-vs-them division through throw away comments and much blustering.  Just last week she did just this with a group of homeschooled kids she just met at the Alphen Trail.  One minute she was calling them loons and the next she was helping them guard their fort! 

I smile as I write this.  My Katie warms my heart; keeps me on my knees and makes me both terrified and delighted to be her mom.

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Some Katie Funnies for 2011-2012 taken from Facebook Status Updates…

Katie and McDonalds…

So, my girls were discussing the nutritional value of MacDonalds tonight on the way home from church. I inform them (again) that it’s full of sugar: ‘the bun is, the pattie is, the sauce is, the fries are all full of sugar…’
Katie (7) then interrupts me … ‘No mom. There’s no sugar in plastic!’
Ah! Indoctri-humour!

Katie’s view on busyness…

Coming back to the house after a trip to a nearby field, I greet the neighbour with a ‘how are you?’. He takes a look at the pram I’m trying to hang on to, as the wind and steep road try wretch it out my hands, and then he glances at the seven boisterous children whom I am about to bath and feed, and he says cheerily, "Not as busy as you!"  My 7-year old looks up at me with a bemused expression and says, "Why would he say that? You’re not busy are you, mom?"

Katie and the Tin-Tin role play…

I’m killing myself laughing! My kids have been watching lots of Tin-Tin lately. Today they’re playacting "spies" using Tin-Tin character names – in the opposites. Katie is Can-Can and Sam is Darky the Dog! 🙂

Katie’s take on swearing…

Katie’s one uncle, in great exasperation with his daughter who wouldn’t get out of our car, started his rebuke with, "I swear to God if you don’t get out of this car right now …"  To which Katie, who was also bouncing around the car, stopped and said with great incredulousness, "Swear to God????  Why on earth would you want to do that?"


Facts about Katie, 7:

Katie is terrified of rollercoasters and stairs with open gaps.  She’d rather take a lift than walk a flight of steps with open gaps any day.

Katie loves gymnastics and is not at all concerned about striving towards some competitive goal.  She enjoys it for the sake of enjoying it.

Katie has taken up violin along with her sister.  It’s a love-hate relationship at the moment, with the love starting to take root the more she practices.

Katie loves learning via games and visual aids. We switched to the Math-U-See curriculum for this reason and she likes it a whole lot more than her previous curriculum!

Katie’s favourite food is sushi.

She’s started enjoying longer chapter books and now I have to threaten her with removal of her books when she doesn’t get her nose out of one!

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