Aubrey Elizabeth June came into the world screaming, her tiny red face clearly unhappy about her current circumstances. Her unhappiness was still evident 4 hours later. Nothing I did could make her stop crying. I contemplated sending her back, but it was not allowed, so I rocked her and prayed for hearing loss. It wasn’t until her siblings came in, all adorable in their “I’m a big sister/brother” t-shirts, and crowded around her bassinet that she stopped crying. They poked her like she was a science experiment and talked simultaneously but it was just what she needed. And so life with 4 children began.
I’ve had people ask me, “After you have three, what’s one more?” Well, it’s one more whole entire person. She’s not a hamster, or I’d agree with that sentiment. Luckily, she was a very agreeable little human, and integrated into our established routine with ease. Ayden used to carry her (as an infant) tucked up under his arm like a football. Alyssa saw him doing that and looked at me and spoke sternly these words: “Like an egg in a jar, Summer”. She was referring to Aubrey’s developing brain. I was in a sleep-deprived stupor and thought to myself, “I’ll take my chances.”
She survived infancy and moved into toddlerhood, where her true personality began to shine. She became deathly afraid of any doll with hair and called all of the boys’ dinosaurs “monsters”, which she also did not like. Nanny always had gum (it’s a grandmother requirement), and Aubrey named the spicy gum “mean gum”. She only liked “nice gum”. Aubrey was a small person with a big personality. At that age she planted kisses on any baby she saw. It almost seemed like she didn’t believe she, too, was a baby. She became our tiny little dictator, and we catered to her every whim because it was cute. We were a bunch of fools.
Toddlerhood gave way to the age of the preschooler. This was the time of massive meltdowns because I refused to let her wear her bikini in January – she locked on to certain outfits and wore them constantly, like she was a cartoon character. Her preschool teachers loved to see what outfit she would put together for the day. Aubrey was a delightful source of entertainment in that respect. She simply knew what she liked, but with no concept of time…(After being told to clean her room as a 4-year-old: Tiny fists balled up at her sides -“I will clean my room YESTERDAY, mama!”)
School days brought an end to some of her strange wardrobe choices, but opened her up to the magical world of education. She is like a sponge, and it’s exciting to see her continue to blossom into such a wonderful student. I loved to hear all about elementary school drama and how she tried to fix it even when it had nothing to do with her personally (“Matthew told Justice he was smarter than her and she cried so I yelled at him and I got into trouble!”). I bet that was fun to deal with for the teachers.
On her 9th birthday she invited 3 of her friends for a birthday sleepover. The party began with Aubrey giving them “the rules” and ended with my hissing in my scary mama voice for her to be nice to her friends after I witnessed less-than-ideal friendship behavior from the tired little dictator. Not much has changed 5 years later; she still believes she in charge and we clash on a whole new level much of the time.
But sometimes as a mom I need to say “I hear you”. I hear your heart, I respect your ideas and I pray one day you will fully understand why you can’t be in charge yet. (You know, after you’ve survived being a teenager specifically BECAUSE you are not in charge.) This is a tough season of life as you continue your childhood without your siblings with you every day. Know this, sweet girl – we WILL get through this. You will come out on the other end just fine. I can’t always give you the answer you want but being your mom is my greatest privilege and I promise to do my very best. Unfortunately sometimes that means we won’t agree.
There is truly nothing about you I would change. Your heart is tender and full of love for your family, friends and Jesus. I could fill a book with the most adorable prayers you have prayed since you could talk. When you were 3 you prayed, “We do not eat our friends”. The day after your birthday sleepover was a simple “Dear God, please help me get better at sleepovers”. As you get older the stakes get higher emotionally; I wish I could protect you from every heartache, but we know the One who can, so never stop praying, honey. I can look at you and not only see the baby you were, but also the woman you are quickly becoming, and I am honored to be a part of your journey. No matter what, I am your biggest fan.