Tibault & Toad

Posts with tag: family

birthdays for families


One cousin.

The other cousin.

My dad!

My mama!

My sister (being silly, and my brother-in-law looking like he hates life a little bit).

My other sister!

A couple of Saturdays ago now we had the family over to celebrate Tenny's first year with us. I brightened up the kitchen by making some tissue paper banners, the cousins played, we ate burgers and watermelon and homemade ice cream (starting with this recipe for basic instructions and ratios, but substituting a cup of maple syrup for all of the sugar, steeping fresh mint in the cream while it warmed up, and throwing in a cup or so of roughly chopped semi-sweet chocolate). Tenny was gifted great books, clothes, and wooden toys of his very own.

When Indy turned one we had a party with all of our friends, but since then it's felt more right to us to just gather the family together to celebrate birthdays. For one, the number of toys netted from a big party immediately puts us into toy overload (and if the Lord blesses us with many children. . . I mean could you imagine?!) But most importantly, while we gather to bless Tenny, its also an opportunity to recognize what God has done in his (and our) lives over the past year, and to be grateful for everyone who loves and supports us and him and really acts as the village who helps us raise him. As the kids grow older, I hope to make birthday parties an opportunity for them to recognize that and be grateful for the family who loves them and has seen them through another year, and not just a time to get toys. I hope they feel celebrated, but mostly, I hope they feel loved and grateful, and conscious of the greater family to which they belong. As they grow older, perhaps that will mean they will invite a few choice friends who have had an impact on them to join us. We continue to brainstorm ways to make their birthdays another opportunity for them to turn their hearts upwards and outwards.

What does your family do for birthday parties? Do you have a party philosophy?

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keeping company

When I was young and would play outside in the snow in the winter, I remember occasionally looking towards the house and seeing my mother standing and watching us through the big bay window. Yesterday, Alan and Indy went outside to dig us out before we headed to the Ash Wednesday service at church. They weren't out there for long, and I only watched them for a few minutes out the window, but I think I had my first genuine moment of feeling like a parent, feeling like I was standing in my mother's shoes for just a fleeting second. Standing there in the warm, dim house, with Tenny wrapped on my back, him watching Indy over my shoulder, it was just so quiet, quiet enough to actually hear myself think - a rare moment in the life of a mother of young children. It was a moment of feeling very present, with this comfortable, settled feeling, anticipating the mother-henliness of welcoming my loves back into the warm house with dinner steaming on the table, and peeling Indy out of her soggy snow clothes. I suppose I felt very blessed.

Later, during the sermon, our Bishop was speaking about the idea of "keeping company" with God in relation to prayer. When you keep company with someone, you don't always have intention for it, sometimes you just talk about the weather, because the point is just to spend time with the other person. I like the phrase, and I'm a girl so I don't compartmentalize - instantly my brain was a web of applications; I thought about that moment earlier, standing at the window, how I could draw closer to God and keep company with Him without needing to really pray anything. I thought of this space, and how that phrase applies to what you do when you come visit me here - you keep company with me - and this space can also often mirror my feelings about my prayer life: I feel all of this pressure to have great intent, something thoroughly crafted to say, a clear end goal, and if I don't have that then I just don't write or I don't pray. If I free myself of that pressure then I am free, free to come here and write and free to pray, about the weather or plants or food or deeper thoughts if I have them, and growth happens naturally. In fact, even the act of writing here can be prayerful, spiritual, if I invite God to keep company with me here, too. When I write here, I'm inviting you into moments of my life, an act which mirrors what I'd like my relationship with God to look like: the practice of continually inviting Him into every moment of my life.

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