Happy 4th of July!
Guess this is the most perfect day to talk about my little firecracker, Ava Jo! My second blue-eyed beauty is now 5 years old according to her birth certificate and 24 according to her attitude! My sweet Ava Josephine has been my biggest handful since the day she was born. AJ is stubborn and only she can hear the tick of her own clock. I remember my mid-wife came in on her day off to deliver my 2nd born on December 5th 2005, I wanted so badly for her to NOT be born on the 6th because it was the same day as my first marriage anniversary. December 5th 1997 was the day I graduated from Marine Corps boot camp so that seemed better in my head! I was induced with her on the 5th due to medical reasons and couldn't be happier. Now it was only fitting for Ava to arrive with a mid-wife who came in special for her arrival (I couldn't have done it with out Connie!) and to be just a few minutes after midnight ensuring she won the December 6th birthday battle! Her father and I were still trying to figure out middle names...only knowing we wanted to call her AJ (but we only do in typing). I wanted Ava Jones...because that is my grandfathers last name and seeing as though I would never have a boy I liked it! We only agreed on Ava Jolene ... my favorite song for a long time and it just sounded beautiful. Some how we ended up with Ava (yes, for the Hollywood beauty Ava Gardner!) Josephine. Her daddy wanted to help with the name choosing and at first I was like YUCK...not even a nice name...don't talk to me! (yeah not a good topic for a woman just an hour after natural childbirth) I woke up after a little rest...listened to why he liked it...listened to how he thought it was spelled "Joesafine"... sent him to the nurses station to get the baby name book... and as I looked at this tiny little beauty in my arms I whispered 'I love you more than words Ava Josephine' ... she made a small chirp and I cried--like a baby! I just knew that daddy had come up with something that was meant just for her!
Ava was our only 'planned' baby! We knew what we were up too...just didn't think we'd knock it out of the park on the first pitch! I found out I was pregnant on Easter 2005 and she was here before Christmas! That's Ava...never missing an opportunity for a gift giving holiday :) We enjoyed the fireworks show today. This is our first year going through all the holidays without their Daddy and the toll it is taking on us all. Which by the way didn't hit me until I got home this evening. Trying to figure out all day what was missing and why it seemed today couldn't get over fast enough. Not to say that it was not enjoyable as always watching the delight on their faces at each burst of firework, but even though we have been separated on and off for years we ALWAYS spent the holidays together in some sort of way. Knowing that it was best for the kids to be together. We made a promise to never let all that go no matter what. Well I guess that is a promise we have broken for now. I am hoping to give that back to Ava and them all, but most of all to Ava Jo. She is the middle baby and I think needs to know her place in this family more than the other two. Some how-- some way I know she will MAKE a place for herself in this world. It will be a very loud and explosive sort of forcing herself in way. Like a firework bursting amongst the stars in the night. Bigger, Louder, and Shining Brighter! She has been a force to be reckoned with since I first looked into her eyes.
Ava Jo was the only baby on my tummy straight after birth and straight to the breast as they cut the cord. She screamed in the car seat the WHOLE drive home from the hospital and every car ride thereafter. She was my sidekick--she breastfed the longest--she slept with me the longest--she was attached to my hip the longest--basically everything that Grayce was not is all that Ava came to be. I love them each for the different ways they make me a mother. Josephine, as Ava is most commonly called by me has tested every ounce of patience I have. For a time I was not allowed to call her Jo...then she told me 'Well, I am in trouble a lot. So I guess you can call me Jo, because that is my trouble name'. Well said Ava!
She wore a dress EVERY day from the time she was 2 until she was nearly 4 years old! It was a battle. Some days she would wear pajamas and jeans and a dress and a sandal and a tennis shoe...AT ONCE! I would just yell and yell trying to fight her out of it into something reasonable and that would match. Please JO let mommy brush your hair--NOOOOO! Getting her to eat was a battle she once told me 'If you EVER talk to me again like that I won't neber eber eat again'. WOW!Okay...
Ava Jo-101 MOM-0
Jo spent most of her 3rd year in time out and in tears. Her dad accused me of babying her (which I did) and then I think I went too tough for a bit. Until one morning we were about 20 mins late for preschool and Grayce Kinder--she sat in a ridiculous outfit not wanting to change her clothes. She had 5 layers of clothes, unmatching socks, and flip flops on. My patience was worn so thin I walked out to the front porch and just cried. I begged God to help me reason with her. I begged him for the strength to simply be her mother. And suddenly IT hit me. I stood up and walked inside looked at my sweet angel faced Ava Josephine and told her 'Grab your backpack. You better be president or save the rainforest someday!' In that moment I just knew God had made her a fighter, she fought for what she believed in and was not going to back down! I figured out it was now my job as her mother to teach her to use her powers for good not evil! I can just see her chained to a tree screaming that trees have feelings...or protesting in the nude to save a historical building!!! So everyday since then I have let her win most battles and am making sure that she knows the war she is fighting--because when the time comes she will not stop at defeat!
Everyday Ava reminds me of the strength inside of myself. The strength I gave to her. The strength my mother gave to me and the knowledge that her heart is bigger and her mind is wiser than my own--I just know she is meant for BIG things in a LOUD way. I pretty much believe that whatever Grayce conjures up...Ava will be clearing the way! What an amazing duo! What a lucky Mommy!
Diva Ava- I love you so much. My life is more interesting and honest with you in it. There is not a thing I would ever change about you and by God don't let anyone else change you either. Fight the good fight and love with all you got baby girl! Mama will let the world know your coming...yet somehow I know you will still stun the hell out of them! You are smarter than you let everyone believe...
I know that you encountered your first bullying battle with hate and racism this year. Mommy is so proud at your grace and strength in dealing with it all. You won in the end and I am glad that it all never took your spirit. I hope you remember that we are family...we stick together. We love those that may not love us and most of all we NEVER stop loving each other :)
Life's a dance...sometimes you lead...and sometimes you follow.