It was breathtakingly beautiful on the day we took you home. I believe this was the world welcoming you properly after a good clean fight with a collapsed lung. The sun was shining. The sky was covered with large cotton ball clouds. Your dad took the scenic route and I sat in the back with you. I couldn’t take my eyes off of you, but when I could, I glanced out the window and smiled at the simplicity of the moment. Here we were after many exhausting hours bringing you to your crib, to your dogs, to your new life. It was perfect.
When we got you home we weren’t quite sure what to do with you. We put your car seat on the coffee table and stared at you, a welcomed stranger to this home. You didn’t quite feel like you belonged to us until you were home. While you were in the NICU, I lacked confidence. I trusted the nurses more than I trusted myself. This was their life’s work. I was just a first time parent trying to take it all in and be a sponge to their expertise. They were so kind and gentle with me and respected my time alone with you, but I felt restricted with the wires connecting you to machines. I kept disconnecting them on accident and I grew frustrated with these wires connecting you to machines. I wanted you to be free.
We were cheated out of those moments we were supposed to bond and I was scared you were forgetting who I was. In hindsight, I realize these were hormones not real, raw emotions. I was exhausted from a long night in the NICU, but my adrenaline wouldn’t let me sleep. I just stared at you for hours until I realized we both needed to eat. I fed you and we both drifted away. That was the first time since we went into the hospital I got two hours of true solid sleep.
The next two months quickly became two of the happiest and fastest months of my life. We spent the mornings exploring nature and taking long walks appreciating the beauty around us. I talked to you all the time and I'm sure people passing by thought I was a little crazy, but I didn't really see anyone else in those months. It was all about you and me and our time together. We spent the afternoons cuddled up on the front porch, back patio or couch. I sang to you when you were tired but trying to fight sleep. And you fell asleep almost every time. I prayed you weren't inheriting my inability to match a pitch.
For my 30th birthday we took our first vacation together. Your dad planned a surprise getaway to French Lick. He set up a spa treatment for me while you two hung out and bonded. We quickly realized that travel with you wasn't only possible, it was enjoyable. You slept most of the time so we could enjoy our romantic weekend together. He even surprised us with a trip to Edinburgh Outlets on the way home. I hope you can one day treat a woman like your dad treats me. He is constantly surprising me with little things like my favorite ice cream or wine and big things like a getaway with you. Listen to him when he gives you advice. He is wise beyond his years.
You have been one of life's greatest gifts in many ways. You have made your father and I fall in love all over again and made us more of a team then we have ever been. Without teamwork, parenthood simply can't be as enjoyable. You may not always understand this, but your father and I have chosen to put our marriage first. You are a crucial incredible part and result of that marriage.
Yesterday you had your two month shots and just before the nurses poked you in both legs you looked up at me with the biggest toothless grin. I had to contain myself from pulling you off the table and running. In that moment I learned it is my role to protect you, but sometimes that means a little pain. One day you aren't going to like me very much. You may slam the door and tell me you can't stand me, but it is my job to guide you through this tricky world and sometimes my answer to you may not be the popular one. You may not have every toy your friends have, but I can assure you that you will have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the world around you if you follow in our footsteps.
On Saturday we are taking our first overnight trip without you. This is something I'm not necessarily looking forward to, but it's an important step. You will be staying with G Mom and G Dad White. They are counting down the days until they can spend this time with you so please be good and know that I am thinking about you every minute and hour of the day and I'll be home soon.
We love you, Jack Peckinpaugh. More than you will know (until you have kids of your own). :)