Mother’s Day

On the eve of Mother’s Day, as I sit here in the quiet of my room, I am just awestruck at how much my life- and heart- has been changed by these two tiny people I have the privilege of calling my own. Motherhood has been quite a journey thus far– and certainly not an easy one, by any stretch of the imagination. I have never felt myself being challenged in such a way at any other point in my life. It has been such a roller coaster of emotions (and reactions), and I don’t think I could’ve ever adequately prepared myself for what it would be like. It has been the hardest, most frustrating, most unbelievably beautiful and rewarding thing I have ever done (and likely will ever do). There are so many times when I “hit a wall” with the kids, but at the end of each day, there’s no other place I’d rather be than right here with them. The feeling of C’s weight on my chest as I rock her is probably the very best feeling in all of the world, and having F tell me “Mommy, I love you and you are my best girl.” as he falls asleep is the greatest gift I could ever receive. I feel so lucky and blessed that I get to be here with them each and every day, for the good AND the bad. Out of all the things I’ve done in my life, I can truly say that they are my very best work.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mamas out there! 

To the Little Boy Who Made Me a Mama

My sweet and precious Frank,

Words cannot even begin to convey just how much I love you and how much your presence and spirit have meant to me over the last 2+ years. I know that I tell you that I love you probably a thousand times a day, but it just doesn’t seem like enough. You are my everything, and I can’t imagine a sweeter, more perfect little boy to call my own. From your unending curiosity and boundless energy to your huge, tender heart, you truly are “my best boy”. I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky to be your mama, and I hope that you always know just how very special and wonderful you are.

Sometimes, I’ll peek into your room at night just to watch you sleep, and I feel as if my heart is going to explode. Maybe it’s because you are always so animated and on-the-go, and when you’re sleeping, that’s one of the only times I can really capture your face and take it all in. You look so peaceful and beautiful, with your sweaty hair and pink cheeks. I honestly don’t think I’ve seen anything more amazing in my whole life.

Your little sister is going to be here very soon, and I want you to know that my love (and your Daddy’s too) will never wane, even though she will require lots of our care and attention. You captured my heart the moment I first laid eyes on you, and nothing will ever change that. I’m excited to see how the love in our family grows and changes with this new addition, and I know that Clara is so very lucky to have you as her big brother. You are an amazing little boy with such a tremendous spirit, and experiencing  your love and sweetness every day makes it all worth it.

I love you, Frank J.!

Love,

Mama

Counting My Blessings

In light of the tragic tornadoes in Oklahoma, and what seems to be an almost endless stream of sadness in the news, I am counting my blessings. All too often, it’s so easy to get hung up on the things that have gone wrong throughout the day, whether it be hitting every red light on the way to work, spilling my coffee, or having a baby who doesn’t sleep very much (ME! ME! ME!). Yes, these things ARE very annoying, and I feel that it’s perfectly natural to view them as such, but I really feel that I need to make a more concerted effort to focus on all of the positive and wonderful things in my life, rather than the petty annoyances. There’s just something about a tragedy that gives me such a gut-check and puts things back in perspective for me; it brings me back around to what’s really important, and reminds me of just how lucky I am.

Recently, I have had a few friends experience great illness and loss, with respect to their children. I cannot even imagine the pain and worry as they deal with all of the “what ifs”. On the days when my son wakes up way too early, because he wants to “talk” and play, I try to remind myself that I am so lucky that he CAN do these things. I am lucky that he can make many different sounds, because some babies can’t. I am lucky that I have to watch him like a hawk when he is on his playmat, because he can “log roll” halfway across the room in about 30 seconds. I am lucky that he blows raspberries when I’m feeding him, and gets sweet potatoes everywhere, because that means that his oral motor skills are developing. He is growing, learning, and changing every day, and I am so lucky to get to witness this on a daily basis, because some parents don’t get that chance. Tonight, I am going to hug him a little tighter, and give him his 1,001st kiss of the day, as I say a prayer of thanks for the wonderful blessing that is him.

Rather than complain about how long it takes to do the laundry and straighten up the house, I should focus on the fact that my family and I are so blessed to have so much. We have way more than we will ever need: a beautiful home, full of furniture, more clothes than can fit into our closets, and a pantry and refrigerator full of food. There are so many people who would give anything to have these things that I, all too often, take for granted. Most of us have so much, but many times, don’t take enough time to really take it all in.

I have a husband who loves me and works so hard for our family, a healthy, thriving baby boy, two fantastic dogs, and a tremendous family. When I actually take the time to put it on paper, it is really quite humbling. So, maybe this is my mid-year’s resolution: to recognize and acknowledge just how very lucky I am.

Whoa, Mama!

As I make my way through this journey called motherhood, so much has been revealed to me in three short months. It is everything I expected, and everything I didn’t expect, all at the same time. I love my little boy so much that it hurts; I have never experienced anything like it in my life. Oftentimes, when I’m holding him, I think of that line from Love, Actually, where Mark tells Juliet “to me, you are perfect”. That part of the movie always made me feel like someone was squeezing my heart, because it was so achingly beautiful, and now I really know how that feels. While it sounds all flowery and poetic, I’m not saying that every minute of every day has been perfect. Far from it, actually. It’s just that, no matter what happens, the tears (his AND mine), the spit-up, the diapers, and the all-too-often monotonous routine, at the end of each day, I am in awe about the kind of love I have for my son. A true unconditional love that supersedes any of the frustration that comes with being a first-time mom, and makes you excited (ok, maybe “excited” is the wrong word when you’re still waking up in the middle of the night…) to do it all over again the next day.

Up until very recently, I held on to a pretty big secret, as far as motherhood goes. It nagged at me on a daily basis, but I didn’t dare talk to anyone about it, for fear that I would be viewed as a bad mother. Like something was wrong with me, or that I wasn’t doing it “right”. This may come as a HUGE shock to those of you who know me, but I can be pretty tight-lipped and secretive, in terms of what’s going on with me. I will often reassure people that everything is “fine,” when that really isn’t actually the case. I don’t like other people to worry, or feel like they need to help me “fix” something. I know that I am an extremely capable person, so when something goes awry, or doesn’t go as planned, I feel the need to make it seem like everything is ok. And that is exactly what I had been doing for the last three months. When you’re pregnant, and after your baby is born, everyone tells you how wonderful and amazing it all is. And it is. Just not all the time. I was really struggling with the fact that there were times during the day that I did NOT find wonderful or amazing. I was getting stressed out, and would occasionally be brought to tears, because he was extra fussy, and nothing I was doing seemed to help. I started being plagued by guilt, because I was getting frustrated and wasn’t enjoying every single minute with him. Before he was born, I assumed that I would have some “down time” during the day, and I soon found out that this “down time” I was seeking was quite elusive. Apparently, newborns are quite demanding. Who knew?! 😉 In any case, I felt like I must be doing something very wrong, and it wasn’t until I opened up about it (“opened up” is code for “it started pouring out of me in the form of tired tears”) that I started to hear that I was not such an anomaly after all. Apparently, other moms DID get frustrated! They also had times during the day that they did NOT enjoy! You do now know how happy this made me, to find out that I really wasn’t that different after all.

It’s always so cathartic for me to admit things, as hard as it might be for me to get to that point. Once I overcame that, and let go of the pride associated with doing everything just right, I instantly became happier and felt like a much better mom. Hearing people’s “war stories” was so beneficial to me, and they let me know that I really am doing just fine. As I sit here, looking at my sweet little boy, I am unshowered (and very likely, have spit-up on my shirt), but my heart is so full, and I know that I am doing it just right.

40 days and 40 nights

As it approaches 7 weeks since my son’s birth, two things really amaze me: how quickly time has gone by, and how much he has changed. Though, in the grand scheme of things, 7 weeks is not a very long time, it just seems as if he has always been here with us. It’s hard for me to remember a time without him. In the 40 days that he has been on this Earth, he has made such an impact on my life, and has stolen a huge chunk of my heart. He is truly my everything, and not a second goes by (well, maybe a little more than a second goes by when I’m sleeping, because I wake up every half hour or so, just to see if he’s ok) that I am not thinking about him or thanking God that he’s mine. He has a sign above his crib that says, “For this child we prayed,” and truer words could never be spoken. Yet, I am still so amazed that he was the answer to our prayers; to me, he is absolutely perfect. I feel like every time I look at him, I try to memorize what he looks like that day, because he is changing so quickly. When I think of his little face, I picture how he smiles when he is sleeping, or the wrinkles underneath his eyes. His right ear lobe sticks out a little more than his left, and he has long and skinny feet, just like his daddy. I probably spend at least 2 hours a day just staring at him and smiling. He is such a beautiful gift, and I am forever grateful that he is my little boy.

To My Little Man

After giving birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy almost two weeks ago, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how much he has changed my life in such a short period of time. Just as everyone told me, he has stirred up a love inside of me like I have never known. Though I loved him so much throughout my pregnancy, and we awaited his arrival with such excited anticipation, it doesn’t even come close to the magnitude of my feelings for him now that he’s here. If I kissed him a thousand times a day, it wouldn’t be enough. If I told him nothing but “I love you” all day long, it wouldn’t even come close to expressing the depth of my love for him. He is my world, and I feel like the luckiest person alive to have been given such an amazing gift. To me, he is perfect. He is perfect when he is smiling, he is perfect when he is crying. I am constantly in awe of him, and what a great impact he has had in such a short time. I love you, my sweet boy!

A Surprise Unlike Any Other

As most of you know, I am pregnant, and Frank and I (along with Josie and Merlin!) will be welcoming a little baby into our lives in November. For those of you who are already mothers, you will understand this completely, but up until 3 months ago, I didn’t have any idea that something like this even existed. The transformation that I have gone through (or the one that has just happened to me; I’m not really sure which!) is one that I never would have imagined could take place in such a short time.

Frank and I were VERY lucky in that we never really had to “try” to get pregnant. Over the past several years, we have had several friends who have had a very hard time getting pregnant, so we definitely didn’t take it for granted when it happened for us so quickly. Right away, we felt so blessed and fortunate that we were going to get to be parents to a sweet little boy or girl, and it was what happened next that really caught me by surprise. From the moment that I first saw the two lines on that pregnancy test, I was engulfed by a mixture of emotions that I have never felt before. It was a happiness, wonder, and fear deeper than I ever could have imagined, and I can say that, from that very moment, I was in love. Until that very moment, I don’t think I had thought about what it would be like to know that I was going to be somebody’s mom. I had always known that I would be a mom SOMEDAY, but that someday always seemed like a distant point in the future.

We have known that I was pregnant since March 24, and I can honestly say that not a day has gone by that I haven’t thanked God for this baby and how lucky we are. From that very day, I have felt a love that I have never experienced before, for this teeny tiny boy or girl that I haven’t even met yet. Each day, I find myself talking to him or her, or just rubbing my belly, as if to say “I’m thinking about you, little one, and I can’t wait to meet you!” I always thought that it was so cliché when people would say that having a child was the best and most amazing thing they had ever done, but now, I am a true believer, even though we haven’t even gotten to the best part yet! I have such an immense love for this little baby, and I am constantly amazed at the miracle that is occurring everyday, as he or she grows and develops. I cannot wait for the day when we can finally meet our baby and hold him or her in our arms. The depth of this love has overwhelmed and surprised me, and I just can’t wait to finally be THIS somebody’s mom.