Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Birthday, Becky White

There is a light that shines from deep within certain souls and no matter where they are the room shines a little brighter when they are in it. There is a kindness that lingers long after they are gone. A warmth that hangs around and fills a space.

Happy Birthday, Becky White.


Happy Birthday to you.

I have these images of you holding me when I was a baby smiling so big just like I do when I hold Jack. I can't get it out of my head especially today, on your birthday. If you were here with me I would wrap up all the happy memories you gave me as a child and free them in front of you. If only you could watch these images I have running through my head of you and me when I was three at Winona Lake running free in my red swimsuit and Josh pointing at the ducks and Autumn with her hand on her hip watching over us.

If I could release these memories to you on your birthday I would and we would dance in a cloud of memories.

Happy birthday dear Mom.




Here's the deal, mom. You have given me so much to smile for, to laugh about, to love. You have comforted me in difficult times even though you knew my version of "difficult" was insignificant in the big scale of things. You never made me feel insignificant. You have such a way to piece together the thoughts that dance through my head and make sense of moments that don't always make sense.

On my wedding day, when Dad walked me down the aisle, I saw your face and for a moment I swore you had a glow surrounding you. And I fought back tears because here I was walking with Dad down the isle and all I wanted to do was stop hug you so tight and thank you for standing by me until this day. I wanted to take your hand and have you stand beside me while I said my vows because you were the reason I never gave up on love.



And in this moment, on your birthday, I can't help but hope I can be half the mom you were to me. Half  the mom you still are to me. In this moment, on your birthday I can't help but stare up at the sky and thank God that he picked you to be my mom. Thank God he picked me.

Happy Birthday to you.

The world shines a little brighter on September 28th. And to me you will always be the most beautiful woman on earth.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

That Chair

Tonight as the house was disturbingly quiet and the only light was the moon shining into your nursery window, I held you in our chair. I touched your face and your little hand and smelled the top of your head. You smelled like a baby, the cleanest purest baby.

That chair.


I remember sitting with you in that chair the first night I brought you home. I cried that first night because I wasn't sure I could do it on my own without the nurses. I held you crying because I didn't know if I could give you everything you needed. I didn't want to disappoint you. I felt scared and insecure in that chair.


That chair.

I remember my mom sitting next to me and calmly instructing me how to hold you and telling me I couldn't break you. I remember watching her organize your closet so I could hold you and get comfortable with you. I watched her fold tiny socks and crib sheets. No one knows how to fold crib sheets, but she knew. She knew how to fold those crib sheets.

That chair.

I remember watching your Dad rock you early in the morning and singing to you so softly I could barely make out the words. I remember closing the door and trying to fall back asleep, but adrenaline pumping so fast because I knew he finally understand the connection I felt with you for 9 months as you grew inside of me.

That chair.

I remember your Great Grandma waking up early and sneaking into your nursery and holding you and whispering to you in that chair. Lord only knows what she said to you in that chair.



That chair.

I remember reading book after book after book in that chair our last day before I had to return to work. I remember telling you that it would be okay, that it would be better. That you would meet other kids and have other things to look at and our time together would mean more. It would be more precious.


That chair.

I remember bouncing you in that chair and for the first time you looked up at me and giggled. I bounced you higher and you giggled louder. I remember watching you laugh for the first time in that chair.




That chair.

I remember rocking you when you got your first cold. I rocked you and rocked you and you cried and cried and coughed. I rocked you and sang your favorite lulluby and you cried yourself to sleep in that chair.

I remember staring at the moon at 3 am and asking myself if life could possibly get any better. How could life possibly get better?



That chair. It has an incredible history and it's only 6 months old.


This Blog is About Carrots


This blog is about carrots. If you’re not interested in carrots, you may want to leave now. Carrots. Carrots. Carrots. This blog is about carrots.

You ate your first real food last night. Carrots. It did not go well in the beginning. You looked at me like I was a traitor. How could I torture you with such a food, these carrots? You gagged. You did your spooky little shutter. You spit them all my work clothes. (Hey, it was Monday, I was too tired to change).


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Carrots. You hated them in the beginning. Your brilliant dad stepped in.

“Why don’t you mix the carrots with the rice cereal and milk and give him smaller bites? He’s just a little guy.”

Insert large carrot in mouth here. Dad to the rescue again.




Upon this new blend of rice cereal, carrots and breast milk, we tried our third bite of carrots and you sighed deeply. That’s better. And then it happened. You went to town on those carrots. You ate like the eating champion you are, the eating champion I knew you would be. You ate like your mama. I’m proud of your little pallet and I hope you continue to expand it.

Here is the beautiful thing about those carrots. I was doing my Monday Super Market Sweep Dash yesterday after work just to stock up on carrots and BAM. There was a sale ON CARROTS. Apparently Aldi has a vegetable of the week.


You know those moments when life aligns perfectly and you have to smile? That was one of those moments. Carrots were on sale for 59 cents and I had it in my head, you’re first food would be carrots. I’m sure the folks at Aldi were curious when I dumped 5 bags of baby carrots on the conveyer belt, but my total was $4.46 (I got bananas too) and I was feeling pretty good after that trip.

What a beautiful week for carrots. So, how did I prepare the carrots?

There is a secret little device called the Baby Brezza only your true mom friends will tell you about. You cut the baby carrots in half, you dump them into the device and within 15 minutes the device steams and blends the carrots.


It’s amazing especially when your parents treat you to the device as an early Christmas present. I realize $99 at Target could have bought me 99 containers of baby food, but I like the idea of pure. It excites me. 

Last night I made 4 feedings from one 59 cent bag of carrots. What was my only mistake? I didn’t buy MORE CARROTS. I have this funny feeling my husband may have to put up with puree for dinner until my obsession with this device subsides. I'll do a full product review later. 

Don't say I didn't warn you. This blog was about carrots.

Side note-Day 2 he devoured those carrots like it was nobody's business. Don't give up!

 


Monday, September 24, 2012

Keep Calm, Rock On

I didn't take a lot of pictures of you when you were first born. The mental images of you in the NICU were too painful. I didn't want to remember your first days on earth that way. It hurt too much. But now as I reflect on those days, I am proud of us. You fought through it and I became a stronger person, a stronger mom. Luckily my mom snapped some pictures.





Deep breath. Big sigh. A little bit of a childish huff met with a whimper.

Here we are. The day has arrived. The time has come. It's here. IT'S here. IT'S HERE. On this very day you have turned 6 months. SIX MONTHS. You are six months old today. And there are some things I want to tell you on your 6 month birthday.
At this amazing accomplishment of you turning 6 months, I'm torn. I want you to do all these cool things the big kids are doing. I want you to explore the world. I want you to say mama. I want you to read and write and walk. I want pick up sticks and run through the woods. I want you to figure out who you are. Who you want to be. I want all of these things for you.
But in this very moment I want you to be small and to need me. I want to be the one who calms you in the storm when you're feeling a little insecure in a stranger's arms, the one who still has to hold your bottle and snuggle you early in the morning. I want to be your only method of transportation from point A to point B. From Point C to point D. I want to be the one can provide food for you even during a famine (because famines do exist).
Today at 6 months, you're starting to hold your own bottle. You're inching forward on your little belly. You're comfortable in stranger's arms as long as you are fed. You're starting not to need me as much and as much as I'm holding back the tears I know this is a right of passage. You will continue to grow up and I will continue to let go.

I realize these emotions are ridiculous, but they are raw and they are real and it's how I'm feeling today, on your 6 month birthday. As you reach your milestones in your 0-1 life, I want you to know I've reached many milestones right alongside of you.

Since I met you...
  • I'm more calm. I read babies can take on your energy in the womb and it can translate to life outside of the womb. If you are a stressed out basket case, chances are your baby may have anxiety later in life. So I stayed calm. I did yoga, I meditated, I took long bubble baths, I did all the things calm people were doing and it worked. You are a chill baby. You are calm. I make an honest effort to remain calm. No matter how rushed I am in the morning, I slow down and take a breath before I see you. I'm more calm because of you.
  • I'm happier than I have ever been. You are like a drug to me. When I see you, this feeling of complete contentment comes over me. Nothing can affect that feeling. Nothing can impact the way I feel when I'm with you. I hope I do the same thing for you because this depth of my the bond I feel with you is indescribable.
  • I live more in the moment.  Last weekend we drove across the great state of Indiana. We were on a road I'd never been on and I glanced in the rear view mirror and you were staring out the window smiling. This made me smile so big. I glanced out the front window and the perfect sky and the perfect fields full of yellow. I was more in that moment than I think I had ever been catching a glimpse of you in the rear view mirror smiling as you stared out the window.
  • I love harder. I've always been madly in love with your father, but I love him differently now. I love him from a place I've never loved before. Watching him with you makes me fall in love him over and over and over again. Watching him with you makes my little heart beat a little faster. Watching him with you makes me build electric fences around our little family unit. If anyone tries to hurt us, they are going DOWN. 
You're a great soul, Little Jack. I can just feel it.

And I conclude with my favorite words from The National. 

You know I dreamed about you, 29 years before I saw you. You know I dreamed about you, 29 years before I saw you. You know I dreamed about you, I missed you for 29 years.


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Friday, September 21, 2012

Tonight

Tonight as the hail pounded on a hotel window and our trays of half eaten room service surrounded us, I watched a Grandma hold her Grandson. I watched my mom hold Jack. She thought I was playing on her Ipad, but I was listening to her whisper to him.
"I love you so much, Jack. I love you so much."

And once again he stared deep into her eyes, inside of her, like he knew what she meant to me. Like he knew she was my mother, my blood. Like he knew she was the reason I existed which was the reason he existed. He knew.

"I love you so much, Jack. I love you so much."

She repeated these words until his eyelids grew heavy and he floated away. And in that moment time stopped. I turned the Ipad off and I watched her hold him and whisper to him, her grandson. He looked huge in her arms.

"He's becoming a little boy," I told her.

"It goes so fast, Erin," she said. "And before you know it he'll be getting married."

"I don't want this to end," I said.

 "But look at us now," she replied. "I love the stage we're in now. I love watching you as a mom."

How is it that moms always know the right things to say at the right moment? How is it that when we become moms we need our moms?

Mom, thanks for telling me I'm a good mom. It means more than you will ever know.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Pot of Gold

Your Dad is upstairs rocking you. He has no agenda, nowhere else to be except rocking you. His dinner is getting cold and he is missing his favorite show, but he isn't bothered because he is rocking you, his son. I keep making excuses to walk by your nursery so I can witness your dad agenda-free with nowhere else to be rocking you. And I am reminded of how precious the beauty of a moment can be.

The past five months have been made up of moments with you. Moments that are simply indescribable, moments that make me feel like I'm dancing on a rainbow surrounded by a field of yellow sunflowers rubbing my eyes because I don't do well with yellow sunflowers. I won the lottery with the two of you. I could be poor and carless and homeless, but if I had the two of you I would have everything I needed in life (besides a car, shelter and money).

Moments...here are a few imprinted into my brain:
  • When I learned we could take you home from the hospital. I walked into your room in the NICU and your Dad said we could take you home. The frog in my throat disappeared immediately and the anxiety melted to the hospital floor. I cried happy tears in that moment. The happiest of the happy tears. This was a great moment, a spectacular moment. 
  • When your Dad got to hold you the first time. You were taken from us within moments of your birth and your Dad didn't get to hold you. Here he had just learned he had a SON and he didn't even get to hold you. That night a nurse asked him if he wanted to hold you while she gave you a sponge bath. I wasn't present for this moment, but I'm thankful for that nurse who let a father hold his son for the very first time. That moment meant a lot to him. It meant the world to him.
  • When we brought you home. I know several of these moments were in your first days, but I can still picture the sky the day we brought you home. It was a painting of perfection. I stared at you and at the huge cotton ball clouds and I realized this was the happiest I had ever been in life with you and your Dad bringing you home.
  • When I dropped all anxiety and finally trusted my mom instinct. Having a baby in the NICU changes you. It makes you hard and it makes you scared and it makes you feel like all the little things that pop up in any given day can't add up to the big thing called life. The big fat blessing we are granted each day. I took you to visit your Grandparents and after we survived your first night away from home I woke up with a new level of confidence. I had my mom groove and nothing was going to get in my way. Something inside me changed that weekend. I earned my mom card and I proudly carry it in my metaphorical wallet.
  • Your laugh. This isn't one particular moment. It's a combination of moments when I drop my 20 pound purse, slip off my heels, throw off my suit jacket, put you on my lap and bounce you until your giggle fills the house, until your giggle makes me giggle. Your laugh makes me smile from my toes to the ceiling. 
Your laugh makes me run through fields of yellow sunflowers in my mind. Your laugh is the best single sound I've ever witnessed (besides our vows on our wedding day). Your laugh is my pot of gold. 
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

22 weeks

I held a 6 week old baby today and I simply could not believe how small she was. You have changed so much in 22 weeks.




















I'm watching you on the monitor right now. You should to be taking a nap, but you're fighting it. You're staring directly at me like you know I'm watching and you are not happy with me. It's a stand off and you want to PLAY, PLAY, PLAY. You drop your heavy head and lift it back up immediately. I can tell you're fading fast. Wait for it. Wait for it. And you're out. Sleep wins again.
Once you wake up we'll feed you rice cereal and a bottle, give you a bath, read you five stories, play with you some more and by 7 pm you'll be down for the count. 

You before bath time:
After bath time:

You reading books:

You sleeping:
This is a new thing. I've been keeping you up until 8 so I can squeeze in an extra hour, but lately you begin getting cranky around 7. And by cranky, I mean throwing your head into my chest, pulling my hair, squeezing my arm. You are a cranky little monster when it's time to drift away. My cranky little monster.