Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I caught a last just in time

I used to think my way of getting worked up over "lasts" was just a quirk and would just stay status quo my whole life. Every birthday, holiday, or end of a semester had me listing all of the "I'll never do ___ again." It could sometimes get ridiculous. But overall, it would only cause a few moments (coughhourscough) of melancholy thought and then I would move on.

Enter motherhood. And of course, another woman's blog that made it all worse. Enter a child who looks like me when she sleeps and like her dad when she's awake. A child that is outgrowing the pants I bought her yesterday. A little blonde-headed, blue-eyed child with jokes of her own...jokes that are the lamest and funniest things I've ever heard. The person I have grown accustomed to talking to all day long because she's there. This tiny, real human that God has allowed me to have for 2 years now and the little soul I pray for every night: that she will not be able to remember a time when she didn't know HIM and that I won't have to know a day without her. The cliché saying of loving parents through the ages has now crossed my lips: "This hurts me more than it hurts you." Because it does, little Nomi. I cry because I have to spank you and I hate doing it. I cry because God says to give you grace and I have no idea how! I cry because your hair is longer today than it was last week. I cry because you burned your hand and I wish it had been my own. And I cry now because we had a last tonight and I barely realized it in time.

Baby brother is due tomorrow. So whether my body calls in the loan the day it's supposed to, or he's removed via a cut across my abdomen in two weeks, he will be here soon. Our days as a family of three are almost over. Jim's parents arrive tonight for a week, and then my parents will come in the day they leave, all of them praying that he won't be as late as his older sister was. Jim had a night flight and is leaving straight for work to pick up his parents. It was just me and the daughter for the evening... and I realized it was our last one.

Bedtime suddenly seemed very unimportant to me. I sat and tried to absorb every little monotonous detail of our evening...because this normal, at least weekly occurrence of  "Daddy's on duty and it's just us two" would be over after tonight. Baby boy is about to put some testosterone into our girl nights. It was a macaroni and cheese night. It was a ketchup on broccoli? but of course! night. It was a two cookie night. A pink socks, hair-styling, I won't make you spit out your toothpaste night. We giggled over Miss Beatrix Potter story words like "Hunca Munca," "lickety lickety," and "Tiddly Widdly!" and counted all the bunnies on the inside cover. It was a normal me and my daughter night. But the last just me and my daughter night. I sang her a song, refused to cry, and kissed her goldilocked head. Family of four, here we come.

And just for all everyone rolling their eyes, I know, I KNOW.  Good grief, Amy, what about mommy/daughter dates? What about mommy/daughter weekend trips? What about baby boy nap times and it's just you and her for a bit again? THOSE DON'T COUNT, OKAY?! In my brain this was THE LAST TIME. EVER. THE END. So take your logic and leave me to my salty mother tears.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Speech 101

Naomi's words are here. And my here I mean always. Constant. Questions, statements, questions, statements, statements that need affirming, statements that need translating, and everywhere, all the time she finds, "ABCs!!!"

And I love it. Jim loves it. It's fascinating to watch her memory of words and meanings develop and for her to use them correctly after a 2-3 day break from the word's lesson. And sometimes the prunouncation can sound so terribly obscene that it's either an immediate, long lesson until she gets it right, or a vow to never use that word for the next 6 months and hope she forgets it. Usually the latter. But most of the time that little baby tongue develops her own wittle way of saying sumpin...and it's basically the cutest thing my ears have ever heard and I hope she'll never say it differently. Yes, I know it would be annoying to have a teenager ask if the dog wears socks a billion times a day or to say, "Hans! Hans!" when she needs to clean her hands... but don't remind me that this stocky little human with gapped baby teeth, a rollicking gait, and stinky but still kissable feet is growing. I AM WELL AWARE, OKAY?!!!

Me, quietly: Hey little girly. You slept in.
Her: ...squinty stare...little grin.
Me: It's so nice and quiet and dark and warm... I understand why.
Her: ... stretch...bigger grin.
Me: I'm glad you're so warm. Winter is coming fast.
Her:...scrambles to sit up.
Me: You don't have to get up. You can take it easy. I'm going to pick out your clothes.

Her: Clothes? Naomi's clothes? Naomi's airplane jammies...off? Mommy, passy (pacifier)? Mommy, blankets? Mommy, slippers? Edel slippers? Uh-oh! Socks! Uh-oh socks! UH-OH SOCKS!! Uh-oh, ankle okay? HEY EDEL! Edel socks? Edel jacket? Naomi's jacket! Annie! Annie's a nakey baby! Naomi poo-poo? No, no, no! Naomi's apple socks? Naomi applesauce? Edel applesauce? Mommy applesauce? Daddy? Daddy work. Daddy work!! Hee hee. Elijah peek-a-boo? Naomi peek-a-boo! Edel-peek-a-boo!

Me: ... ... ...

It's the best run-on conversation EVER.

Monday, August 24, 2015

If it were up to us...

I'm going to act like it hasn't been 8 months since I've blogged.

Yesterday was a lovely, slow, drizzly Sunday afternoon. Naomi toddled around, giggled, babbled and asked us to read books to her. One of those days where we couldn't tell her no for anything. That evening, after telling her it was time for bed and she gladly headed to the stairs, my husband and I followed, watching the little diaper-clad butt trundle up ahead of us. Jim turned to me and said,

"I've caught up to you."
"What do you mean?"
"You've always said that you wish time would stop. That you wish she would stay just the way she is right now. And you've been saying it since she was tiny. Well...I've reached that point. I don't want her to get any bigger. I want time to stop right now."

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Direction after acknowledgment

In His Great Master Plan, I think God wants us to have more children. You see, He pretty much placed an angel child in our laps via Naomi. She sleeps well, she eats well, she smiles constantly, giggles adorably, has great bed hair every morning, and wrinkles her nose when she grins. She is curious about everything, sprouted two teeth without a complaint, and loves the dog.  If she was ugly and screamed all the time we might be second guessing a second child.

But, OBVIOUSLY we've got this parenting thing down and our child recognizes the blessing she has in her parents and is showering us with thanks via cuteness and a great personality.

                                      Here is her old lady picture. Saggy, wrinkled skin and all.

This is her craaaazy eye face. (Name that movie)

Her first campfire experience! May there be many more!

Wook at that wittle face!!

The other day, I was proudly shoveling mixed vegetables, applesauce, and beef stew into her mouth. It was her first experience with the stew and she loved it. Applesauce. Yum. Beef stew. Yum. Vegetables. Yeah, okay. Beef stew. Yum. Applesauce. Yum. Vegetables. HOW DARE YOU PUT THOSE IN MY MOUTH?!?!

Jim and I stared at her in disbelief. She...she...she was throwing a fit. Over what she did and did not want to eat. What in the world?! How could this happen?! WHO TAUGHT HER THIS WRETCHEDNESS?!?!

Oh yeah. Adam and Eve. Thanks a lot guys.

We stumbled through our first obvious issue of a sinning child as parents. Don't give in. Don't yell. Don't respond to the screaming. 
I don't know about my husband's brain but I was almost in shock. What now?! What book did I not read correctly?! What book do I need to read? Should I call my parents? How would they have responded? Have we allowed her to act like this and just haven't realized it?! Why don't we know what to do? We should have known this would happen! We should have prepared for this! 

I remembered something my Dad said frequently to us as we grew up. "I don't know! I've never done this before. I've never had a _____ (14 year old son, newly graduated daughter, 10 year old youngest daughter, dog this sick...etc) before!" It made me realize that no matter how hard I try to prepare for life as a parent for my daughter, there are going to be moments that hit me like a rock between the eyes and leave me staggering with bewilderment. Maybe I sound a little dramatic over a 9 month old crying about her vegetables but it truly was a wall-crumbling, eye-opening moment. We don't "got this." We never have and we never will. I have a feeling that parenting is right up there with marriage in the sanctification process. If we don't lay it all down before His throne and then come, broken and humble to His feet, we will always be one step behind in understanding. We will always be trying to plan and analyze and be ahead... when He wants us to submit, wait and slow down. I read earlier this week that instead of waking up with an "What am I going to get done today?" attitude, wake up with a "What is God going to do with me today?" attitude. Parenting is going to get much much harder than loss of sleep, diaper rashes and vegetable tantrums. What will the next rock be? Because it's a guarantee that time has one hurtling towards us. It could be severe allergies. It could be severe stubborness. It could be cancer. It could be death. I know I sound morbid. I don't mean to. And believe me I pray every single night over that little warm, sleeping human that we will be spared that particular rock... but I have no idea what God's plan is for our family. Because as much as I beg God to spare us from certain things, I don't know what He has in store. But I do know that I'm going to need strength and grace and trust always. Especially if there are big rocks coming. I'm not trying to dwell on dark "what ifs." God's grace does not exist in what ifs. But what I am trying to dwell on is my need to pray without ceasing. That "in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path."

Sidenote/Footnote/Whatever : I apologize that more often than not, my "devotionals" become long-winded, meandering rabbit-trails. I don't put hours into these blogs. Yes, week go by in between them, but it's not because I'm wrestling with the layout of the next one. So, if you reach the end of one and are all, "?!?!?!?!?!" I am very sorry. Often, as I type, the lesson I'm learning is only hitting me just then. And so I attempt convey all the new realizations of my brain and 2 paragraphs later, I'm on an entirely different tangent. I can't promise that that will change. Often they end so abruptly because I know that I do not have the time or the talent to convey what God just taught me. I type, delete, type, retype, delete...for the eternity of 30 minutes... hoping it will read like a Jonathan Edwards sermon. Ridiculous, I know. Even this S/F/W note is about to end. I just wanted to apologize for abrupt endings, confusing trains of thoughts and... and... dang it. No third thing to apologize for. 
The End.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The life of today

It's October. Y'all. I've been a mother for nine months. Even though my little daughter was only handed to me yesterday for the first time, eyes wide with embarrassment over her mother's nakedness...today she is sitting up, days from mastering the dreaded crawl and giving anyone who will look at her a little chin-stick-out-wrinkle-nosed grin.

Dear time, please stop. I know it's cliche, but my heart hurts as I hear over and over again that it only gets faster. That tomorrow she will be potty-trained and bicycle riding, Sunday she will be reading Jane Eyre, and by Monday she will be married. That those little dimpled arms will slim, those smiling gums will sprout teeth, and her fat feet will become calloused. I put away clean little onesies today and realized with horror that half of her closet no longer fits her. I don't want to replace the small things with larger things. I put away the little baby tub because the sink can no longer contain her splashes. And I could go on and on.
I've realized that if I'm not careful, my unrealistic wish for yesterday to pause will cause me to miss that today is playing. That God has showered me with grace in the form of this little human being TODAY. I've followed the advice of a friend almost to a fault. "Don't push for the next milestone. She'll roll over. I promise. One day she will master that sippy cup. Whether she's 7 months, or 14 months, Lord willing, she will walk. Love where she is at TODAY." But I'm enjoying today so much I'm almost not enjoying tomorrow. I'm almost robbing myself of the wonder life and how human beings were created to develop like this! We think a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon is amazing? Watching a baby learn how to live is mind-blowing! God made us that way. And He has granted Jim and I the opportunity to see it unfold. Each new phase shouts glory to Him. What a wonder to be allowed front seats.

So yes, the baby stage will probably be my favorite. But I am praying that I will not dread the next stage because it means an end to the current one. Because God gave me yesterday, is giving me today and has made tomorrow... and He created me to live today. And when I want yesterday back or wish to know what tomorrow holds I am falling into the sin that so long ago entrapped Eve: wanting to be like God. I want to enjoy the delight of the past again and again because surely nothing could be better. I want to know that the future is safe and healthy because anything else couldn't be for my good. When I believe that deception I am pulling away from the trusting, child-like faith God desires of me. I cannot control what happened, happens, or will happen. I can control my response. And I am trying trying trying to respond with thankfulness. And I am thankful! I am! Every day! But it's called sanctification y'all. And it means that every single day I am to be striving to improve what I learned yesterday. That I will never "master" anything. Am I alive? Then apparently God isn't done with me yet.

And so... today, if she crawls, I will try very hard not to cry, but take great delight in it. And today, if a tooth pops up, we will probably both cry out of frustration, but I will be glad that they are coming up. Because it means she is growing in God's image. Just like she was created to do.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Yay! New Clothes!

I was putting away Jim's t-shirts the other day and I realized that he had been wearing the same ones for about 4 months. He just pull out the one that's on top... I wash them and put them back on top... he pulls it out again... I wash... you get the picture. So, I rotated them.

Two days later:
Jim- "Did you unpack some of my clothes? Like, summer clothes or something?"
Me-"Umm, no. Why?"
Jim-"I've got t-shirts in my drawer that I haven't seen in a while."
Me-"They've been there all along, babe."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

When 0330 is sweet

God has blessed us with a (so far) good sleeper. More nights than not, she sleeps from 8:00 to 6:30 without a sound. So, as a typical sinner, I get used to the blessing of it, stop thanking God for it, and when she gives me a rough night (wakes me more than once), I'm grouchy.

So, this morning, when she startled me from sleep at 3:30, I wasn't thrilled. But she wasn't just hungry fussy... she was really crying. Pain or fear I didn't know what and I hurried to her room, twisting up a quick topknot, as those little fingers are quite skillful at yanking it out.

Her tear-filled eyes glistened from the nightlight and her swaddle was a loose sack around her. I pulled her free, expecting her to start trying to nurse (shoulder, neck, or wrist, if it's mommy's skin, surely it will produce milk!). But she didn't. She nuzzled close, arms up. If they were longer, they would have probably clasped around my neck. I held her close against the coolness of the room and started to rewrap her, then decided against it. She was so cuddly...so glad that I was there. I wanted to hold her against me... not the soft burrito she becomes when she's swaddled.

So, we rocked. And rocked. It took 45 minutes to get her back to sleep. But she was a warm little body of coziness, content to just be. I would glance down occasionally, only to see two dark, wide open orbs gazing at me or around the room, little hands splayed against my collarbone. And I wasn't even halfway sleepy. I tried to bury the feeling of fulfillment deep, deep into my long term memory box. These days will be over soon. Very, very soon. A crawler, then a toddler... and just sitting in my lap isn't going to be  desirable when the whole house is your's to explore.

Baby daughter, let's just freeze time. Right here. At 3:30 am. I'll rock you forever and my wee little child you'll always be.