Five Years of Sabina Marie
Our beloved Sabina Marie is five years old today. Five years ago my little breech baby, who wanted her head to remain close to mama's heart, was ready to be born. My body was cut open and she was removed from my uterus, poopy butt first. I had absolutely no clue what I was getting myself into becoming a mama. I had absolutely no clue what lay in store over the next five years. And thank God, ya know? One day at a time we have tackled the challenges together, both learning and growing on this messy and beautiful adventure.
Bina has been talking about all the things that are going to happen when she turns five. When she is five, she can ride a horse (or she can start lessons at a certain farm nearby). When she is five, she is going to need a booster seat instead of a carseat. She is going to need new clothes because when she turns five she will magically be too big for her current wardrobe. And we have been excitedly counting down the days to her big milestone.
We received her birthday present from my mom and bonus dad several days ago and she lamented that everyone is getting so big so fast and she is not (because I told her that we were going to wait until her birthday to open it). She absolutely LOVES birthdays and has been looking forward to hers since June 2, 2019. We have had parties at our house with family and friends for the last four years to celebrate her. This year we will not be having a party, but we did order a bounce house, which Bina calls a "jump jump." We have talked and she has shed tears over her friends not being able to come. Holding space for all the feelings and thank God for jump jumps. For her cake this year, Bina requested a vanilla cake and vanilla frosting with a rainbow on it. What a fitting symbol for our girl. I am so proud of our Bina. So proud of who she is. Strong and smart and kind and brave and loving. She feels big, just like her mama.
Pausing to have conversations with Bina about different things has been a highlight of motherhood for me. I love hearing her little heart and holding space for her big emotions. One day after she left her Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class wearing her fancy yellow Belle dress, she informed me that people were calling her the wrong name. "That's not my name, I'm BINA!" she declared. She often wears her fancy dresses out and is called a princess or the name of the character's dress she is wearing. Even at home if she's wearing a fireperson costume or her Anna from Frozen dress, we will call her a firewoman or Anna and she will say, "NO, I'M BINA!" and then we will quickly correct ourselves, "of course! You are Bina wearing a firewoman costume" or an Anna dress. This kid knows who she is. I absolutely adore that about her. Something I wish had been true of me! Something I still struggle with at the age of 34. I have learned so much from our Bina.
One of her favorite phrases is "I have a better idea!" And while sometimes I just want to roll my eyes, Bina truly is full of ideas. I do my best to listen and if at all possible, implement her idea or a variation of it. I want her to know that her ideas are valuable. That I want to hear them. That we will implement them whenever possible. I also want her to push back. I want her to assert herself. Her wants and needs. It is not always possible to accommodate her, but when it is I think it is so important to do so. I want Bina to grow up to be someone who is not just compliant but someone who questions the status quo, who thinks critically and creatively. Who has a voice and knows it is a voice worth hearing. It can be so frustrating at times when I just want her to comply with a request. But then I remember again and again, a compliant child is convenient but not what I want. I am not raising my girls to be compliant and cooperative. I am raising them to be world changers. And Bina? That girl is for sure going to change the world, one "better idea" at a time.
I love Bina's empathy, her kindness. With big empathy comes big emotions, big joy and big anger. Many a time recently she has declared "I HATE YOU!" I have also heard "Mom, I love you so much and I am never going to be mad at you ever again," to which I reply: I doubt that you will never be angry with me again, but we can love each other AND be angry with each other at the same time. I am glad she feels safe enough to yell "I HATE YOU" at me, knowing the words will not change how I feel about her, or her standing as my daughter. That she is secure in my love. I have felt and feel these feelings too and I hold space for them in myself and her. It is hard to feel that way, to have hatred for someone you love. It is not something we enjoy. It hurts. The intense sensations in the body that make us feel out of control when words like this come out of our mouths. And you know what never works for me during times like this? Being told I cannot say that, or that it is not true, or that I need to calm down. I love Bina's passion, her depth and intensity of feeling. When she experiences the full range of emotions, I see the image of God in her. I never want to snuff that out. We will navigate big emotions together and learn how to process them well.
Bina adores her baby sister, and also there are many times throughout each day that Bina is totally over her because she is babyzilla who gets into everything. EV-ER-Y-THING. Every day Juniper finds and attacks Bina's carefully and lovingly designed play involving figurines and blocks and who knows what else. Whatever big sister is playing with is what baby wants to get into. Always. We are working on creative solutions and incorporating baby into her play when possible. There are so many frustrations everyday, AND there is also so much love. Intermingled. Both/and. The kindness Bina shows her sister is balm to my mama heart, knowing that it is human to have a loving relationship and also get so annoyed with the people you share a home with. And it is safe to do so here.
A few weeks ago the girls and I were out driving just to get out of the house. Juniper started fussing and Bina, with kindness and empathy, turned to her and quietly started singing a song about how she has her big sister and her mommy and daddy with her. Eventually Juniper fell asleep and my heart melted. This is something she does often, talks kindly to a distraught baby sis, working hard to soothe her. She does not give up, she keeps trying. Sweet and attentive. Just the other day the three of us were on a walk together, me pushing the two girls in my double stroller side by side. The canopies were pulled down over each of them and Juniper stuck her baby hand through the gap in the canopy reaching for big sister. When Bina noticed she started playfully interacting with Juniper and the rest of our walk consisted of sister giggles and cooing and delight. It was so sweet. Bina loves driving around the block in her Jeep with baby sis as her passenger. Last week she put an arm around her and kissed her head as they rode together. When I picked up a sprinkler toy at the store and set it up for the girls, Bina picked up Juniper in her arms and happily trotted around with a first unsure and then happy giggling baby sis in tow.
Bina is such a delight. Her joy is infectious, her imagination limitless. I often find her in her dress up clothes playing with her stuffed animals, baby dolls, or horses. Always engaging in dialogue in her imaginary world. Lovingly caring for her toys. Bounding around the house atop "Pink Spirit," her Rody horse. Jumping from the height of the Nugget Comfort cushion tower. Leaping over cushion hurdles. Sitting at her art table drawing a family portrait, or one of me and a big flower. Pulling out her instruments and making music with baby sister. Building a foam block tower for sister to gleefully knock over. Building a wooden block hospital for the female rider figurines that go with her Schleich horses, because they have fallen off their horse doing a trick over a rubber mallet jump course. Outside, she runs around the yard asking to play "freeze tag," which is just tag and enjoys watering the pink flowers she picked out at a flower market, always our big helper. She has fun riding her Frozen bike or her purple Jeep around the block and drawing rainbows and her family on the driveway with sidewalk chalk. And she is always down for sharing a popsicle with her baby sister.
I am so in love with our Bina. I am so grateful I get to be her mom. These last five years have been quite the journey for both of us. I look forward to many more years of learning from Bina and supporting her as she learns and grows into the fullness of who God created her to be. Sabina Marie.