Wednesday, February 3, 2016

the night we said goodbye to babyhood

This time around we made it 18 months.  Not that I was necessarily done with breastfeeding, but she was.  For the last few months we had weaned down to just the bedtime feed, but that too grew shorter and shorter until one night she didn't even want to finish.  And that's when I knew that she was ready to move on.  I squeaked a few more nights out of her as I did my best to prepare myself for the end of this era.  Because that's what it feels like, not just a phase of life, but an era.  Ask any mama, she'll tell you its true.

She called it "nee-nee".  And each night after zipping her into her little footed pajamas, she would hug me close and say "nee-nee".  And we'd sit on my bed in the dark, just her and I.  And there in the dark, she was my baby.  Not the busy toddler who runs through my home and insists on doing everything big brother does, not the toddler who climbs onto the counter tops and empties my drawers, not the toddler who is full of opinions and exciting ideas of her own.  No, there in the dark it was just like that first night she made her entrance into our world, and every night we'd shared thereafter.  Just she and I.  But she had grown and she had changed, and it was time for me to allow her to do so.

So without any pomp and circumstance, on just an ordinary night of an ordinary week in the middle of an ordinary January, I held her close and nursed my infant girl one last time.  And as she finished, I knew that my baby was gone and in her place lay my precious little girl.

Nobody warns you that the milestones of motherhood are going to be so bittersweet.  I suppose I learned that the first time around.  But as it turns out, familiarity doesn't make it less so. So don't slow down for me baby girl.  Grow and learn and run and climb.  And I'll be right behind with the bittersweet bursting from my heart with tears in my eyes and a smile on my lips.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

the things that keep you going

Can I just tell you guys how much I love this picture?

And geez, I love that guy.

He wakes up at 4:30 each morning and leaves for the hospital long before any of the rest of us even think about stirring. He spends fourteen long hours there before he comes home.  And does this six days a week.  Week in and week out.  Month in and month out.

Residency, oof.

The man must be utterly exhausted.  I would be.  To the depths of my soul, I would be.

But every evening, he walks through the door to be greeted by two tiny voices yelling "Daddy! Daddeee!" and a pup that would yell too, if only she could.  And he greets them each with hugs and cuddles and excited smiles.  After dinner, he lays on the playroom floor to become the human jungle gym.  And the house fills with laughter.  He reads books, plays legos and cuddles baby dolls.  He hauls kids to bed, tucks them in and reads a bedtime story, often falling asleep himself in the process.  But even when I offer to do the bedtime routine, he declines, because his time with them is already too short he says.  And it's true.

And before he knows it, the cycle starts again with the buzzing of his alarm at 4:30 in the dark of the morning.  How he does it, I truly don't know.  But he's like our very own super hero.  Our scrub wearing, coffee guzzling, totally exhausted super hero.  His super power, you ask:  loving his family.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

on the first day of first grade

*written two weeks ago, but just now posting.  because, life.*

Just this past Monday, my little baby boy started first grade. No longer in home school, but at a public school.  Full of other children, teachers, lunch ladies, librarians and crossing guards.  And in a moment's time he was no longer my baby boy.  Still my child, but now a child of the world too.  And this world is beautiful and hard, kind and not so kind, accepting and judgmental, full of love and full of spite.  For the first time, he was leaving my side to join the world as an active participant without my constant guidance and words of encouragement.  And my heart... oh my heart.  This mama heart was sinking to my stomach under the weight of it all.  I fretted for weeks, months really...  And on Sunday night, I took his peanut butter sandwich, cut it into the shape of two brontosauruses (just the way he likes) and packed it into his Spiderman lunchbox.  My husband watched me do this and it was obvious by the look on his face that he already knew the answer, but he asked THE question anyway.  Those three little words that manage to bulldoze right through that feeble wall that was already bowing under the weight of the sea behind it.

"Are you okay?"

And the flood gates broke.  How could I drop him off tomorrow?  With his big heart and tender soul, and just offer him up this great big world that would surely crush his spirit as it swallowed him whole? Jon hugged me and chuckled gently as he assured me that our boy would do just fine, BETTER than fine, in fact.  I wanted to believe, but a mother's heart is a complex thing.  This old heart longs to protect him from the hurt in this world  despite the knowledge my head holds that he was made to live in this world with all its beauty and all its mess, and it is his time to begin writing his own story. But reason rarely holds sway in a mama's heart.

Somehow, I left him in the classroom that next morning.  With what was almost certainly a painfully awkward smile pasted to my face.  And as I walked away, I kept looking over my shoulder to see that he was okay.  I don't think he even saw me leave--a desk covered with brightly colored papers & markers and surrounded by new friends to meet.  He seemed so confident, so ready to start writing that story of independence.  his story.

I suppressed the urge to "just drive by his school" at least three times that day.  And said about ten times that amount of prayers.  As 2 pm finally rolled around, I excitedly buckled Cora into her car seat all the while mentally preparing myself for whatever Sam's emotional condition might be upon our arrival.  He walked through the front doors of his school that afternoon, face beaming and proclaimed that it had been "the best day of my life!".  I cried then too.  From relief, from happiness, and well, just because that's what mamas do.

And everyday I still pray that these other people, the kids, the teachers, the lunch ladies, the librarians, the crossing guards... that they all see how special he is.  That they all see his tender heart and choose to fill it with kindness.  That he leaves each day feeling loved and valued.  That he doesn't have to learn quite yet just how hard this world can be.  Let him continue believing that he can do anything, be anything, accomplish anything, that good always wins and love is always the answer.  Isn't this every mother's prayer?

But I don't say all this to him.  No, instead I walk him up to those big glass doors each morning, give him a hug and whisper in his ear, "I love you!  Be kind & work hard.  Have a great day, I'll see you this afternoon!".  And then I let him go.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

and so we wait

This space has lain quiet for quite some time.  Not for lack of want.  I couldn't even tell you how many drafts sit unfinished, their inspiration and momentum interrupted by a baby's cry, a little boy's requests for a fellow superhero playmate, a tickle monster, a snack..., or the shadow of guilt that creeps up on me that the paint needs touching up, that our belongings need packed, or at the very least that another load of laundry is waiting to be washed.  Perhaps this post too will suffer the same fate. This life, this is a juggling trick, a hurricane, a dance.

I suppose that can be said for all of life, each phase having it's own step, it's own rhythm.  At some point I know that Jon and I will find ourselves embraced in a graceful waltz and there are some days that the slow, peaceful, structured dance cannot come soon enough.  But even at moments when I long for life to slow down,  I know that when that day arrives we will look back so fondly on this time.  We will miss this wild West Coast Swing with arms and legs wildly flying in every direction, and at that moment, what I wouldn't give to be back here just one more time.

So, I take a deep breath and try to slow my own mind, calm my own soul.  And we sit here and wait on the cusp of our next adventure.  Within these next two weeks we will know what our future holds, or at least where our future holds.  And so I wait, and I breathe, and I pray.  Not for a specific place or program, but for peace.  I pray for peace in my soul, in Jon's soul, peace for this family, and peace for our loved ones.  I pray that we allow ourselves to trust in God's plan, embrace this next phase, wherever it may be. 

This wild swing we're dancing can be exhausting physically and emotionally, taxing our energy banks and all too often sapping our last ounce of patience.  But sometimes, during those quieter moments when I am able to take a step back from the chaos, I can see what a beautiful dance it truly is.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

these days

These days are filled to the brim.

They're filled with rain and changing leaves.  Soccer games and melt-yer-heart gummy smiles.  These days are filled with sweet baby snuggles and new adventures in homeschooling.  Dirty diapers and 5 year old boy jokes {you know the ones ;)...}.  They're filled with 4AM feeds and the excitement of the almost-within-our-grasp conclusion to medical school.  These days are filled with sweaters and rain-boots and baby tights.  Ninja moves and living room dance parties.   Pumpkin patches, crackling fires, cups of hot cocoa and the cozy nostalgia bubbling up from holidays past.  Nursing {the breast kind} and nursing {the hospital kind}.  They're filled with brand new giggles {ohhh those giggles!} and an eternal pile of unfolded laundry.  These days are filled with residency interview offers from all corners of the country and the anticipation of our next adventure.  They're filled with daydreams and hard work.  These days are filled with a never ending to-do list and time that flies faster than ever before. 

These days are like ones we've never had before and will never have again.

These are the days.

Monday, August 25, 2014

catching up

These past seven weeks have been a whirlwind and a blur, but somehow it seems this little girl has been a part of our family for all of eternity now.  Currently, we're enjoying some lovely cabin R&R with my family {oh how that grandma and those sisters of mine love to snatch up baby girl}, giving me the beautiful luxury of the use of both of my hands simultaneously.  holy. toledo.  sitting down.  in a chair.  at my computer. NOT swaying back and forth.  focusing on one thing for more than two minutes.  frickin' miraculous I tell ya.  And so, before this magical moment ends, a quick catch up:

Miss Cora is the sweetest little thing in this whole wide world {in my completely unbiased opinion}.  Such a content baby who truly only cries when hungry or tired.  And hallelujah my friends, she is a champ at sleeping!  Jon and I figure that we must have paid our sleeping dues last time around and earned ourselves a good sleeper this time.  Just this past week, she's begun to perfect her absolutely heart melting smiles and coos that keep her daddy, brother, and I wrapped around her tiny perfect fingers.

Mr. Sam,  aka the best and sweetest big brother in this whole wide world {also in my completely unbiased opinion}, has taken on the role of 'brother' like a champ.  Frequently asking to 'pet baby sister' and has an unlimited supply of hugs and kisses for 'Cowa Gwace'.  Another important role continues to be Assesser of All Poopy Diapers, a very important role indeed.  He has grown in leaps and bounds in his independence these past few weeks and takes so much pride in being Mommy's big helper.  Golly, that boy, I didn't think it was possible to love him any more than I already did, and that little fella', well he proved me wrong.

This mama manages to shower 2-3 times per week and due to this has become fast friends with my bottle of dry shampoo.  Most meals are eaten standing up and while trying to tidy up the living room/sweeping the kitchen floor/folding laundry/{insert any household chore here} during the two minutes Miss C tolerates sitting in her swing.  The majority of my time is spent feeding and cuddling my sweet girl on the living room couch while reading library books to my big boy.  Upon recently purchasing my first one piece suit since the age of 12 {seriously, this ol' belly has not been as ambitious in reclaiming it's former glory this second time around}, I had 'be kind to yourself, be kind...' on repeat in my head as walked into the dressing room.  I was mostly successful.

As for Jon, he is officially in his fourth and final year of medical school {!!!!} and as of Friday afternoon, has a full month off.  And so... drum roll please.... we will be taking advantage of our overlapping breaks from work and school to go on a cross country road trip to scope out some potential residency locations.  Be on the lookout for a couple of overzealous parents with a backseat full of crying kids in the neighborhood near you! ;)

p.s.  We also celebrated out 8th wedding anniversary earlier this month with a romantic stay-at-home date filled with roses, schmancy desserts and bubbly...

and a baby who didn't think it was her bedtime quite yet :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

welcome little one

Cora Grace
Arrived 7/7/14 at 7:50 pm
7.0 lbs 19.5 inches
<3 <3 <3

**According to Sam**
-"She's just like a diamond"
-"She's a beauty"
-She said her first word the same evening she was born, which was "grass".
-It is necessary for him to assess her poo at each diaper change.
-He brought a bag of microwave popcorn to the hospital to share with her the night of her birth.
-He insists she will not learn about princesses--super heroes only.