Thursday, October 2, 2008

One Year

My darling children,

7 years ago I never could have imagined a life so wonderful. The Lord has been merciful to this sinner and blessed my life much more than I deserve. 6 1/2 years ago I wasn't even searching for your father but the Lord sent him to me. I knew the moment I saw him (despite what some might say) that I was going to marry him. I love your father more than words could ever describe and sharing you with him only makes my love for him run deeper. 2 years ago I was searching desperately for just one child and the Lord sent me two. Once again He's blessed me far more than I deserve and the love that your father and I have in our hearts for you will never end. The first 27 days of your life were tough on you and harder on us. You were so tiny and fragile when you were born. We were not prepared even in the least for the heartache we experienced watching you both lay there in those incubators and fight for your lives that 1st week. One night I found a passage in Psalms that when I read to your daddy we both cried and cried. We had finally found words to describe the way we were feeling. Those words, even though they made us cry more were the most comforting words we'd heard. Psalm 102:1-7 Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me in the day when I call answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. My heart is smitten and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch and am as a sparrow alone upon the housetop. Even though most days were filled with lots of tears and hardly any words, your daddy and I found comfort in the Lord and in each other. Watching your tiny bodies struggle and not being able to hold you was undoubtedly the hardest trial we have ever been through, separately or together. But the Lord blessed us once again to come out stronger and more grounded in our faith. We grew as disciples, we grew as individuals, we grew as a couple. I write of this so that you both will always know where our strength as parents and as husband and wife come from: the Lord and He alone.

James Bryant, the love that a mother has for a son is simply unexplainable. When you were born I never imagined you would get so big and thick or that you would be such a mama's boy! Watching you grow and develop over this last year has been the absolute joy of my life. You are such a loving and gentle little boy, so much like your daddy. Your sister torments you day in and day out and you take it pretty well most of the time. You have just now started to push her out of the way and take the toys back that she grabs from you. But even though she gives you a hard time so much of the time, it is clearly evident that you adore her. You are always laughing at her but who can blame you? The girl is a hoot! You are a cautious child. It takes you awhile to adjust to new people and new situations and some times you never adjust(i.e. the beach!!!)You have a smile that could melt the stoniest of hearts. You love your daddy and you crawl as fast as you can to get to him when he comes home in the evening. You love to wrestle with him; that is probably your happiest time of the day. That and meal time! I have never seen a baby love food as much as you. You are very, very demanding when it comes to getting your belly full! You love taking a bath, when Audrey is not playing slip and slide around you and knocking you over! You get very excited when Mickey Mouse or a baby Einstein comes on the t.v. and you adore books. You will sit quietly for long periods of time flipping through books. I love you my son, now and always.

Audrey Grace, you are my little sunshine. The love a mother has for a daughter runs deeper than I could have imagined. While you laid in the incubator you would move your legs like you were riding a bicycle. Now we know that you were preparing to constantly be on the go! Watching you grow and develop over this last year has been the joy of my life. You always make us laugh because you are always having fun. Everything that you do is an adventure and I hope and pray that you will always have this fun-loving, free spirit about you. Even though you rarely like to be held during the day you have your moments when you cling tightly to me at night while we are rocking. You love your daddy ever so much. When you see his face peer around the corner when he gets home, you are like a bolt of lightning crawling to him! You love to wrestle with him and you love to pull his chest hair! You have eyes that, as grandaddy says, are haunting and a smile that is intoxicating. You don't have a very long attention span when it comes to anything except for books. That is the only thing you do that keeps you still and quiet for longer than 5 minutes. For long periods of time you will sit on the floor flipping through books; sometimes quietly and sometimes reading them out loud!(In fact you did that very thing at 3:30 this morning!) You love your brother deeply and 99% of the time are just trying to love on him when you push him over or poke him in the eye or slap him on the head! For the most part you play extremely well together! You have a temper but it's rare that it comes out. You have to be really tired usually to get upset. I love you my angel, now and forever.


19 comments:

Becky said...

Ok, I'm trying to work here. That is SO BEAUTIFUL! Thanks for making my morning. I can always count on you.

Sis. Gail from Camp Creek said...

Wow, Amanda, this entry was amazing! You have such a wonderful talent in expressing yourself in the written word. Your children are so beautiful, and they have come so far since they were born all because of the love and wonderful parenting that you and Bro. Jon have given them and the amazing mercy and Grace that God has bestowed on all of you. I told Sister Mary Alice at church last night that I so enjoyed your blogsite, and that through them I am seeing your amazing children grow up. We all miss you and Bro. Jon so much around here, and I want to thank you for this blogsite so that we all can continue to keep up with your lives. I just love the pictures and the videos of them. You are such a great mother to these children, and they are two of the most beautiful children I have ever seen. Audry looks like you and her daddy, but that little James is all Bro. Jon. Thank you so much for letting all of us out here in cyber space be a part of your tremendous life. I love you all! Sis. Gail from Camp Creek P. S.-- If you want to read about Bro. Robert Torrance's little miracle great-granddaughter, go to lettertocatherine.blogspot.com
You will find another amazing example of God's Grace and mercy in Katie's and Donnie's beautiful journey of her pregnancy and the life of her precious baby who is 6 weeks old after the doctors all said she would likely die very soon after she was born.

Emily said...

Happy Birthday James and Audrey! There's a little something coming for you to your mama's email today.

Amanda,
This is gorgeous! The kiddos will love reading your letter to them one day! (Shoot me an email and let me know when you receive a little something from us.)
Love y'all bunches!

~sydney~ said...

Happy Birthday, James and Audrey!!! I love you so much birthday buddies! Mannio, I just got back from failing my permit test (which made me cry for a LONG time) and now I had to start crying again while reading this post! Is this your way of getting me back!?!?! :)

Kathy U said...

That is so beautiful! As soon as I stop cring, maybe, I can comment. Sis Kathy

Tara said...

What a precious video! And such sweet letters. Being a mother is truly a wonderful belssing from God! Happy 1st Birthday James and Audrey!

Dianne said...

'Manda,

What a beautiful legacy for James and Audrey someday. What a tear-evoking writing for me TODAY. The love you and Jon have for the Lord, for each other, and the love showered over these babies is such a blessing for me.

With each photo I can recall the words that accompanied them in earlier posts.

May God bless these litt'luns daily and their parents, too.

Happy Birthday, Audrey & James!

Dani said...

So very beautifully writen. You bring tears to my eyes, that I'm pretty sure is more than the hormones. :)

Lil. Bit said...

That was such a sweet video Amanda! You have truly been blessed with two gorgeous babies!

su said...

Dearest Children, James and Audrey,

One year ago today, you were born, bringing unspeakable joy into our lives. My heart is full to the brim with love for you and gratitude to our loving Heavenly Father for His mercy and grace to bless us with you, James and Audrey. Time, space, and my own limitations do not permit me to relive all the precious memories of your first year, but pictures of you and your mommy and daddy grace my heart everyday, and I cherish them so. Your mommy and daddy are so good, and kind, and precious, and how blessed you are to be born to them!

I am in awe of you and your mommy and daddy and forever may you remember that my love for you has no bounds.

Your SuSu

the ladner family said...

okay whoever is not crying has no heart!
James and Audrey, i love you both so much. I know will always be as close as your daddy and i are. There is a special bond between a brother and sister. I wish i could be with you all the time. we miss you all so very much and wait from say to day to see what is going on in your world. harrison and issy ask about you both all the time. we will always remember the time you came and spent a week at our house! those are some cherished memories for sure.
happy 1st and we love u jamesy boy and aushrey (isabella's words)

Dana said...

Wow, it is hard for me to remember them that small! Beautiful entry Amanda. I will never forget the phone call from you that you were pregnant, and then that you were going to be blessed with twins!!! I love you guys so much and am so thankful that the Lord blessed you with the three most precious people in your life!

amber said...

Oh, that was so stinkin' sweet! I teared up a few times...gosh, when did they go and grow up on us? Seriously!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMES AND AUDREY!!!

Emily said...

Hey 'Manda!

Had to write again and tell you that my third niece (Tanya's third one) was born yesterday on your babies' b-day! Hannah Joy now joins the wonderful ranks of October 2 birthdays. :) Mama and baby are both doing awesome.

Ms. Robin said...

Happy Birthday, James & Audrey!!!!!
I feel very honored to share the same birthday with them.
One of us is getting old! (that would be ME).........:)

Amanda Grace, you out-did yourself on this one! What a precious letter to the ones that will forever be holding onto your heart strings. Years from now, they will treasure this letter from your heart to theirs.

Lots of love to you, to Jon, and the "darlings"........

Love,
Ms. Robin, Mr. Donnie and ALL the Howell clan

Rhonda said...

Your words, video, and music are splendid and sweet.......

Ms. B said...

Wow..1 year!

Happy Birthday, James & Audrey. I will be praying for you as you make your journey through life!

Anonymous said...

Amanda, That was such a sweet video. Your children are so precious. I love keeping up with them on your blog. Can you tell me the name of the song you used on the video? I loved it. Love, Amanda McCook( Macclenny Primitive Baptist)

Amanda said...

Thanks! The song is Miracle by Celine Dion!