The Ropers' Review of the Year
It’s been a good year for the three of us with lots happening as always, including good times of relaxation and fun! Here’s a brief summary…
A Year in the Life of Daniel
The biggest changes have of course taken place with Daniel. He started the year as a little 2 month old and ends it as a nearly toddler. There are too many milestones to mention that have happened over the whole year, but over just the last week he has achieved the following:
• A first tooth (finally)
• A stagger between mummy and daddy. I am calling it unaided walking, especially as it happened in church and was v cute but the jury’s out as to whether they were his first steps.
• Standing on his own for ages.
• Meeting Father Christmas in his grotto and looking fairly perplexed by the whole experience.
• Making lots of new noises and words, although we can’t understand most of them. He copied me sneezing earlier and it was so cute!
• Opened up the deck and put the needle on a record – Neil was particularly pleased with that!
Daniel is very funny and brings joy to so many people. We love him so much and are trying to enjoy every part of every stage of his life. We are pleased, though, that the 4 month stretch of waking in the night has finished. Those of you who see us will hopefully have noticed that we look less like zombies now. His particular interests are horses, pushing (toy) cars and tractors around, tickling toes, climbing stairs and sliding back down again, biscuits at church and giving Mummy kisses. Okay, that is more like something that I have trained him to do but I enjoy it immensely.
Neil – the Primary Carer
Neil’s had an interesting year, as he stopped full time paid employment in April and is now Daniel’s primary carer! He has adjusted well to this very different lifestyle, as has Daniel and is a regular at various groups and activities. He is particularly pleased to have met another stay-at-home dad recently, as it is still largely a woman’s world! He was pleased that him and his friend were the first dads ever at the recent Christmas dinner for the parent’s and toddlers group!
Neil still has a heart for children’s ministry and is pleased to be spending so much time with Daniel, learning from him. He also started a new degree course in September called the BA in Children’s and Youth Ministry. This is great as it is giving him a wonderful opportunity to study something that he is so passionate about, but is challenging as looking after Daniel feels like a 24 hour job at times and fitting in study after a hard day with a baby takes a lot of will power.
Neil has also taken on responsibility for running Lasers this year, which is the Junior Group at church. He coordinated the Holiday Club in February last year, which saw nearly 100 children coming along, and we are hoping for even more in Feb 2008. It is something he really loves doing and he does well. I think it is a real gift from God, and a great way for the church to show children something of God’s love for them.
Me – Full time mummy and youth worker
Those of you who read this blog will notice that the posts have been somewhat sporadic for a while, and that is largely due to me trying to adjust to working full time and spending lots of time with my lovely boys. I normally manage the balance ok, but am always glad of a time to rest and chill out. This term in particular has been hard for a number of reasons but I can see God challenging me and developing me through it which is good, although difficult at times. I still love what I do and it is such a privilege to be alongside young people watching them grow and change. I have particularly enjoyed the schoolswork that I am involved with.
I was really pleased to have completed my Diploma in Youth Mission and Ministry despite having had Daniel in the middle of it, and even more excited to be invited back to Cliff College in October to take a session on my Research Project. I am going back in January to take a couple more lectures. I love study and training, and I had been praying for doors open in this area if it was right. And a few doors are opening! Now I just need discernment to know what to say yes to!
It is far too easy to fill these things with lots of stuff that we have been doing and although that is important, I think that the best things that have happened for us as a family aren’t always centred on actions or big events. Instead, it is being together, enjoying the little things and sharing time with family and friends. For those of you that we have seen and spent time with this year, thank you! We love being with you and hanging around together. For friends that are further away, praise the Lord for Facebook… We know we are rubbish at staying in touch but we do care even though birthday cards may be late or never arrive. Please stay in touch – we are so blessed to have people near and far that are special to us and we don’t take it for granted too much.
And finally, merry Christmas! Enjoy the wonder of this time of year and take time to reflect on the birth of Jesus, light of the world rather than eating too much turkey. That’s what we will try to do…