It seems that was the theme of our entire day today.
Today we had such a special day. It started very early with all of us rising at 5:00 AM to get Joshua to his triathlon where he was going to ride his bike 3 miles in his leg of the 3-man event. He was participating with his best buddy who also is in 1st grade. To see our little guys there doing such a grown up activity tugged at the heart strings of these two mommies who could recall when they were just 3 years old and toddling around our legs at church. What started out as a team named the "Three Amigos" turned into the "Two Amigos" when we arrived and learned that the 3rd youngster was ill and couldn't compete, so Joshie's friend ended up doing not only the swimming portion, but the running as well.
They were so little compared to the other triathletes, and yet had more heart than all of them! When you are 6 years old, 2 full laps of the pool is a major challenge, as is biking 3 miles, and yet our little guys met the challenge head on with real gusto. Did they win? HAHAHA!!! No Way! Am I thankful to have fellow parents counted among our nearest and dearest friends who also could care less in the midst of other parents screaming at the top of their lungs at their kids? You bet I am.
They did it, they finished it, and we were very, very proud. The night before Josh lost it, sobbing as he shared that he was very scared about being out of our sight on his bicycle so far away from us, despite the fact that roads were closed down for the day and there were police and other adults along the well marked route. Once again, big brother Matthew stepped in and with no need to be recognized volunteered to ride the route unofficially with him, which still allowed Josh to feel some independence from his parents and yet feel secure enough to compete. Kenny and I stood on the sidelines and were the official cheerleaders and photographers.
And with the successful completion of the triathlon, I think Josh and his buddy both took another baby step towards manhood today, and it is such a gift to be present to watch each of them...for I love his buddy as if he were my own child.
Go Joshie, Go!!!
A ruddy faced Joshua post-race. "Mommy, it was COLD!"
We went home to rest for a couple of hours and then headed to church for the installation of our new Pastor. Matthew had been asked to be a Scripture reader, so this was a big event for our him. It was an even bigger event in the fact that we are blessed to have another extremely gifted Pastor called to our church who will make it her new home.
Thanks to some handsome hand-me-downs Matthew had a new suit to wear (Thanks Apryl!!). Kenny wanted to wear his "Washington, DC" suit, and knowing we would need something nice for court in Kazakhstan for Josh as well we went ahead and bought him a little outfit as well. We don't often have reason to dress up in our family, so it was fun to know they would get a little extra use out of these items, even though it wasn't entirely necessary for the day. It made the day feel more memorable, and was sort of a special marking of a rite of passage for Matthew as he made his "debut" taking on a more adult role in the life of our congregation.
This was the best I could do at the moment!
I had been thinking to myself just how grown up Matthew was, how mature he looked in his new suit and how time is flying by so quickly. Then he stepped up front to read Scripture passage, and you could barely see his little face over he top of the pulpit! He was so short that his still-high-pitched voice didn't carry all that well with the microphone because it was too far away :-) It reminded me that he is still a young boy, who may be well on his way to manhood but is still my little guy in so many ways. He did a very nice job of it, and stepped down feeling as if he had climbed a mini-mountain. Only later did he reveal that he had been stricken with a decent case of stage fright, but you never would have known it watching him. So it seems that both he and Joshua faced up to some fears today and came away having conquered them. Kenny was quite the gentleman today, cheering on Josh and complimenting Matthew almost as if he himself were the Daddy. That alone is a gift in our family, that our sons do not tend to compete with one another but take great pride in the accomplishments of their siblings. I have no idea how or why we have been blessed with such good hearts in these little guys, but believe me Dominick nor I take it for granted and thank God daily for it.
Later, after the service, I met the Pastor of another church who had been a counselor in Matthew's group last year. Can there be any greater joy than hearing that your children continued to show great love for one another even when outside your presence? She shared with me that while at camp Kenny sought Matthew out at almost every meal, and each and every time Matthew listened attentively to what Kenny was telling him. She remarked "It was actually quite extraordinary and very nice to see between brothers. It was obvious they love each other very much and you don't see that often.".
You know what I think at moments like that? Thank You God for giving us the wisdom to listen when You spoke, thank You for helping us to see what would be best for our family through Your guidance. I am so deeply and profoundly grateful that Kenny is a part of our family rather than me trying to force the issue about adopting a girl in between the ages of Matthew and Joshua. Comments like this one today remind me that letting go of control is always, always best for we do NOT know what great gifts God has in store for us if we just quit trying to run the show. For a control freak like me, that is one of my greatest challenges in life.
Today was truly a day of celebration as we welcomed our new Pastor, a woman with incredible gifts and a way of walking in the Spirit which is obvious and almost palpable. She ministers in a way that is gently intentional, and she feels as drawn to our congregation as we do to her. It will be interesting to see where her ministry leads her here, how we all will be affected by participating in it with her, and how God will move in, around and through our congregation.
So here is to our new Pastor, to the spiritual growth our own family and our church family will experience in the months and years to come. And here is to finally getting one good photo of the boys with Reverend Karen Winkel! Love Kenny's smile in this one!!