Wednesday, May 25, 2016

There are Others

We have all been doing this for three weeks:

We are all enamored with our baby girl.

But it should be noted that we also have other children.

The unbound joy of a three year old with a light saber.
Twelve and moving past the awkward into the confident.
Sweet big sister.

A recent Saturday for this girl consisted of watercolor painting and homemade play-dough.
At the oral surgeon's office, checking out a wisdom tooth extraction video.
This child, pushing in the carts at her new job.  I'm totally that mom.
Life is full.  I've been frank about my postpartum emotions.
Please know that I am okay.  Thank you for your concern.
I've also been frank about my all-the-time joys.
I am real, sitting here in my living room.  I hope you don't mind my sharing it all.

Settling in for a Sunday afternoon nap.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Looking Forward on Her Birthday

Today is my baby's birthday.  She would have been five.  This summer, she would have learned to ride a bike without training wheels and probably whistle.  Sometime this year, she would have lost her first tooth, with her shins covered in bruises.  She would have been young enough to still need me to fix every wound and to want to sit on my lap for awhile.  She'd have been asking too many questions and filling our lives with imaginative play.  Right now, she would be learning to read and counting higher than she ever had before.  She would know how to skip and hold the baby and lay quietly in the grass, staring up at the clouds in the sky or watching a beetle lumber awkwardly across her view.  She would sing sweetly or loudly, depending on her mood.  Her antics would make me crazy, and make my heart swell with joy and love.

All those things you need a body to do.

All those things she isn't doing.

But she is mine.

And she is safe from this horrible, wicked world. And I will see her someday . . .

learn to ride a bike without training wheels

and whistle

and lose a tooth

and laugh

and sing.

Someday, sweet, missed Eowyn.  Someday, I will hold you again.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ah, Hormones, How You Screw with Me

My beautiful youngest arrived just over two weeks ago.
I cannot get enough of her.

Once you know how old my daughter is, you'll also know that starting a few days ago, my postpartum hormones went bonkers.  
Tears all. day. long.  
Those tears may present themselves for no apparent reason or for a very good reason.

At four o'clock this morning, my husband awoke to my sobs, "What's wrong, Mama?"
"The weight of the world."

Sometimes it feels like that!
Of my seven with me children, I am presently worried sick about five of them.
On the other hand,
my children absolute delight and thrill me.
I'm not healing quickly from my last labor and delivery and it is frustrating and worrying.
On the other hand,
nursing hurt for less than a week this time and my baby is gaining weight at a healthy rate.
I'm a lousy mother.
On the other hand,
I'm not doing so bad as a mother.
So many people rely on me and I can't do it all right now.
On the other hand,
it is good for them to do without me for a while, if only to recognize how much they rely on me.
Bills will never go away.
On the other hand,
my husband has a job he enjoys.

Then, Singing in the Rain comes on and I'm sniffling again.
The marine saluting vets for hours.
The cancer families on Humans of New York.
The son brings home donuts and chocolate milk for the family.
The husband put my underwear in the dryer for me.
The wildlife was incredible on our day drive.
The girls are happy and cute with their piglets.
I hurt the kid's friend's feelings.
The cheering people at the parade.
The child was rude to me.
My baby is perfect in her tininess.
My baby wants to be awake from 3 AM-5 AM.
I'm tired.
I love being alone in a quiet house with my sweet one every early morning.
My three year old hates me.  I know because he keeps telling me.
And now I'm crying over Be a Man from Mulan!

Good grief, woman. Get a grip!

Monday, May 16, 2016

What I Always Wanted

The other evening, I was at my kitchen sink.  I looked out the window and saw this:

Dad had a fire going and all of the kids were out roasting marshmallows, laughing and enjoying each other.  I stood there for a long time, just watching, putting it all in my forever memory bank.

The kids have been outside nonstop this spring.  They have an imaginary town, like from the book Roxaboxen, they've been playing on the hammock, they ride bikes and climb trees, they dress up in costumes and run and laugh outdoors all day.  And all of this before the grass is fully in and before we've been able to build a fort or a swing set.  They don't seem to need many props.

This is what I've always wanted for my kids; this kind of play in this kind of setting.  They are safe and they are happy.  Of course they have to work out childhood kinks (read: bickering), sometimes they get a scrape or two, and every once in a while I have to step in to help solve problems.  But, these are life skills they are learning and I love being a witness to it.

Monday, May 9, 2016


It was late at night and my precious new baby was wide awake.  When babies are this new, they sleep a lot, but she wasn't wanting to be asleep just then.  I cuddled her up in a soft blanket and sat, quietly rocking her.  I began to sing from my long list of lullabies.  While some of my lullabies are the of the traditional Rock-a-bye Baby variety, most are primary songs or gentle hymns.  After all these years, the words come automatically and I don't always think about the words I'm singing.
That night, though, I began singing these words,

"Jesus once was a little child,
a little child, like me.
And He was pure and meek and mild,
as a little child should be."

As I looked into her impossibly small face, I saw her eyes, wide and fixated on my face.
She was listening to every word, every sound.  She was watching my every movement.
I sang the next words,

"So, little children, let's you and I
try to be like Him,
try, try, try!"

My voice caught as I, once again, remembered the magnitude of the job I was undertaking when I committed to bring this tender spirit into my life.  
I automatically began the next song,

"Tell me the stories of Jesus, I love to hear.
Things I would ask Him to tell me,
if He were here.
Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea.
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me."

The role of mother is celestial.  It is nothing short of the most important work I could ever do.  The task is daunting, if you think about it in its entirety.  But, of all the things I am asked to teach the girl, from making bread to using a drill to treating a burn, from speaking in public to helping a stranger to practicing honesty, from learning shapes to memorizing the times tables to capably writing an effective analogy, the most important thing I can teach her are the simple lines from a children's hymn:
Try to be like Him; try continually.
Tell her the stories Jesus would tell her, if He were here.
He shouldn't need to tell her the stories; that is the privileged role of mother.

What a sacred duty.
One that is an honor to perform.

I will do my best, sweet angel.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Picnic in the Park

After being cooped up for several days, we decided we needed a day out.

We've had the most perfect weather this spring, with several days of rain followed by several days of sun.
Our little one loved being outside and she was the cutest thing ever in her bonnet!

After a couple of hours at the park, we walked over to the library.
The cool quiet was restful after the noise of the playground.

What better way to end the day than a stop at Baskin Robbins for a pick of 31 flavors?

Despite the faces in the pictures, everyone was enjoying their cones.

It was a long day, kind of accidentally too long, but it was a nice, pressure-free first outing.
Nothing like a picnic in the spring!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Loafing Around

This beautiful thing came into my life five days ago.
She and I have been loafing around ever since.

Physically, I feel great and I am sorely tempted to get off my duff and start working.
Being able to move my body after the stiff and awkward final months of pregnancy is such a delicious feeling that I find myself wanting to DO.  I did that after the birth of another baby and regretted it.
I'm forcing myself to restrain, allowing my body to fully recuperate from the rigors of childbirth.

These are the plants and flowers we put in the day before she was born.
I've been sitting on my porch, enjoying them, watching the grass grow.

I am SO glad we were able to get all of this done before the baby arrived!  The two week old grass is growing in nicely and will be a thick, lush lawn before we know it. The one week old grass is just beginning to poke up from its dirty bed.

While I am forcing myself to not go out and work, there is nothing I can do about the list forming in my head.
I have more than one summer full of projects.  Some things are as simple as fixing a small section of fence or transplanting an under-performing plant.  Other projects are much more ambitious, like creating play spaces for the children and building a waterfall.  There is so much work to be done . . . work I want to be doing!

That will wait.
For right now, I will sit on my hands and enjoy this:

It lasts for but the blink of an eye.