Thursday, January 31, 2008

These Boys Of Mine

My husband gave me a gift today. He reminded me of a blank book that we used to write in once, he and I, in an attempt to communicate when life got the better of us and talking didn't seem to be effective anymore. Some days, it is easier to be honest on paper.

I spent some quiet time this afternoon looking through the pages of this book and reading of places we once were, watching the journey to Now. I found a letter that I wrote to Cole, years and years ago, when he was a baby and it was only Us Three. I want to share this letter, because reading it today reminded me suddenly and painfully of the joy this is all supposed to be about. That joy gets stifled sometimes, certainly, under the weight of daily tasks....but it is still there. This was the reminder I needed today.

Oh, how I love these boys of mine!


Today a woman stopped me in the post office and told me how beautiful you are. This is not uncommon. What is it about old ladies and little girls---that notice all new life and are compelled to reach out a hand? It makes me understand that the circle of life is not that vast; there is a curiosity that exists between the span of ages. I am continually amazed.

She--the post office woman--said also that you "greatly resemble" me. How is it that such a simple statement gives me so much joy? I look at my own silly baby photographs--ugly, even--embarrassing childhood pictures, awkward teenage moments--and find only a handful I can be proud of. I wonder at times what others could see in me. And yet, when someone, anyone, recognizes your innate beauty as stemming from my own being, I am overwhelmed with pure emotion. You are mine! You belong to me, you came from me---there is no question. I feel at once swelled with pride over my own power and accomplishments.

There is something wonderfully heroic about giving birth. I understand now why women tell their life-giving stories over and over again, are obsessed with the details, the triumphs, the pain. It becomes legend in its own rite--the moment of superseding what is physically possible and letting spirit propel one forward. Breath becomes existence. And where there was one, there is two.

I could tell our story, yours and mine, for all eternity. I'm not sure others care to hear it. That's okay--they have their own hero story. But I have tasted what legends are made of--mystery and fear, joy and pain, thrill and sorrow. You and I made history--if just for a moment. I see the waterfalls and forests, knights fighting dragons for fairy princesses. My love for you delivered you, and in turn, delivered me.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Good vs. Evil

In our house, illness is commonly referred to as a fight between The Good Guys and The Bad Guys. This allows for general ease of parenting (ie: "Go right to sleep, so the good guys can do their fighting") as well as ease of receiving health reports---a report from the battlefront ("the good guys are winning") is easier to decode than a cryptic "fine" when one asks how the invalid is feeling.

Reese has been fighting off a mild bug the last couple of days. At any given moment, his battle reports can turn on a dime....and of course, being Reese, they are filled with extra doses of creativity, making them difficult to decipher after all. Here's what I've gotten from him so far today.

First thing in the morning, after a good night's sleep: "It's all good guys, everywhere!"

After lunch, heading towards a much-needed nap: "In my body is the Heart Man, two circle guys, three square guys, and 6 bad guys."

Post-nap: "There used to be 6 bad guys, but the Heart Man is so, so special that he killed all of them, and now there are only four."

Climbing into bed, doped up on Tylenol and wrapped in Mommy's special blanket: "I feel just like I'm giving you a flower!"

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Week 5

This is my new favorite photo of Sean.

Don't you just love when they do this? He's totally vertical, and it doesn't phase him in the least!

Love it.

We are entering week 5; Sean will be 1 month old on Saturday. I am in complete denial, and am frantically racking my memory for where the past four weeks have gone. How can he possibly be a month old already?

Everyone likes to talk about the First Six Weeks. Any good pregnancy/postpartum book will have an entire section on this, and veteran moms make a point of stopping first-time moms in the grocery store to encourage them to just get through the First Six Weeks. It's that magical time when you're expected to sit around in fat clothes, doing nothing---weepy, pudgy, sore, and sleep-deprived.

Four babies later, I have come to LOVE the First Six Weeks. I see myself getting grouchier the closer I'm getting to its inevitable end. The First Six Weeks represents the grace that I fail to give myself all of the other weeks of my childrens' lives. Grace to be a little manic, to ask for help, to embrace my expanded waistline. Grace to spend all afternoon snuggling my baby, even if it means that dinner is late to the table---or that we eat take-out, because there is no dinner at all.

The other night, I was up late nursing the baby and decided to sit at the computer with him afterwards, until he nodded off. So there I was, linking my way through blogs at 1:00 am, when I stumbled upon a blog detailing the labor and birth of a baby girl--a baby girl who was born on Reuben's 2nd birthday, in late November, and who died of congestive heart failure two days before Sean was born, mid-December. I was hysterical. I couldn't tear my eyes away. I sat in my dark living room in front of this glowing screen for over an hour, reading every account of her short little life, crying so hard I could hardly see the words.

After all that, I couldn't bring myself to go back to bed, so I sat up in the dark a while longer and cried some more. I absolutely couldn't bear the thought of wasting a single moment away from my new son, even for some much-needed sleep. I kept thinking: how are any of us immune from such grief? What if it happens to me, too?

Our First Six Weeks are almost over. I'm trying to make a game plan for the weeks to follow---a plan that includes remembering that baby girl and remembering to appreciate all of the little moments, even the ones that don't seem so fun at the time. Appreciating blurry-eyed midnight feedings and changing dirty diapers--realizing they are all part of the blessing, and that there are parents elsewhere who would give anything to change their baby's diaper, or be up all night with a crying newborn. The good and the bad are a packaged deal. I'm starting to get that now.

Matt and Nicole: We are overwhelmed with grief for you, and we are praying for peace to find you.