Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Night That You Were Born

When I was younger, every night before my birthday my Daddy (your Pop) would tell me the story of my birth and now I will do the same for you, Gracie Lou...

You were scheduled to be born on December 29th, but I knew all along that you wouldn't miss the chance to be here by Christmas.  Even so, when the doctor called late at night on December 21st and told your daddy and me to get to the hospital the next day because you were going to be born, I couldn't even finish my spaghetti...and that is really saying something.  I was SO excited and nervous because we had waited so long for you.

Finally, finally, finally, at 2:20 pm on December 22nd, 2011 we got to meet you for the very first time. Gracie Lou, one day you will grow up and have your own babies and know what that moment is like...the moment your world changes forever and you know that you will never be the same.  Your Daddy and I just stared and stared at you.  Then they told us not to worry, they had to take you away to get you all checked out and we wouldn't be able to hear you for a while.  Well, the were wrong about that! We heard you all right, and probably the whole hospital did too.  You have never liked being taken away from "your people".

Later, when everybody was gone and Daddy was sleeping in his very uncomfortable hospital chair/bed, I just sat and memorized every little thing about you.  You were so tiny and had the most perfect little rosebud lips. I could not believe that I was lucky enough to be your Mama. You have taught us so much this year Gracie, and it all started on the night that you were born. 

Together at last!

One Happy Daddy!

If only I could figure out how to move my hands, this thing would be outta here

Do I LOOK like I am enjoying this?


What is it with these people and rabbits?

Ready for my close-up

Baby Punk

Woot Woot in my Bathing Suit!

Quack Attack

 Whatdya mean no cookies for breakfast?

This be my Daddy

 Vaguely Terrifying

Love him so so much

Hurry Mama! It's cake!!

Okay, what's the big idea?

I'm cute and I know it

 My peeps.  They're pretty good.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Not Enough

I know good and well that no words I have will be enough to bring peace to the families who have suffered such unimaginable tragedy in Connecticut last week.

I thought about not mentioning anything, but I think that is how the grieving end up so lonely sometimes...when we are too afraid to say the wrong thing, so we say nothing at all.

So I will say the words that are so far from enough...
I am praying for your peace
I am praying that the world lets you talk about your children without prying
I am praying that you receive meals on your doorsteps to nourish your bodies and your souls
I am so sorry for your loss, and I am praying.

These words are not enough...but my parents taught me, as I will teach my child, as I am sure the parents who are faced with so much sadness and loss today taught their precious children...

You do whatever you can to help those around you, you always try your best, and you never give up.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Nothing and No One

Yesterday, I read this post by another Mama who lost her baby and it really hit home.  These are many of the same thoughts I have been having this year, and she said them much more eloquently than I was planning to, so I asked if I could borrow her words and she graciously agreed.

At times, I have mixed emotions about my blog. Can I be the happy mama who posts pictures of her adorable (if I do say so myself) baby girl and the Carlton dance when the week before I was talking about losing my firstborn?  It is certainly a true reflection of who I am on the inside these days, but I do wonder how that will change as time goes on.

A friend once told me that her grandmother, who had five children- four living and one who died shortly after birth, was still talking about the child she lost when she died well into her 80's.  And for what it is worth, I found that comforting.

Because I don't want to forget.  Not in an unhealthy way...I recently went to dinner with three other women who recently lost babies (weren't we a fun bunch!), and told them that the overwhelming, debilitating sadness about losing Rip is gone.  Nothing so extreme, bad or good, can last forever and thank goodness for that.  But mothers don't forget their children.  Last night I was reading a book by Dorthea Benton Frank and the first line brought tears to my eyes:

"I will tell you the one thing I have learned in my thirty-something years that is an absolute truth: nothing and no one in this entire world matters more to a sane woman than her children"

I don't know what my life will look like years from now (let's be honest, I barely know what I am doing tomorrow). I have the same fears about what my grief might look like then, I don't know if I will be able to write about it, or talk about it.  But I agree with good old Dottie Frank, as mothers (and we can use the term sane loosely here), our children will always matter more than anything in this entire world.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oooh Oooh Oooh Oohh Ooh Ooh Ooh (or the Charlie Brown Christmas Song)

At first, when I was planning Gracie's birthday and Christmas this year, I was all...

Then, when I realized I had less than two weeks left and had yet to do One. Single. Thing. (this is not an exaggeration)
I was all...

So, I took to my usual standbys in times of crisis...


and being highly irritated with anybody and everybody...

but before long, I realized that it doesn't really matter.  My baby is turning one, Christmas is coming, and I have a lot to be thankful for ...

So watch out Christmas, I'm back and I'm ready for you (in the least literal sense of the words).
Ooh Ooh Ooh Ooh ooh ooh ooh

Friday, December 7, 2012

Enough...Enough Now

My very favorite holiday movie is Love Actually, I try to watch it at least once every year.  For some reason the part where the character Mark is walking away from Keira Knightley's character, after sharing one longed for kiss and realizing he has to let his love for her go, and says "Enough...enough now" always brings tears to my eyes.

It's such a universal human emotion, coming to terms with what we cannot have, learning to live with what is.

This week has been one thing after the other, cars in the shop, plans unfulfilled, Christmas not coming (at least in the form of a tree or presents in our house yet), and some downright low spirits.

And then yesterday, a dear friend getting some devastating news.

Earlier in the week (when I was still on a holiday high, unaware of what the week may hold), my daily devotional gave instructions on what to do in dark times, I was to say out loud "God's presence is in this."

And so I do, even when saying it may feel like strangling on razor blades.

I do, even when it feels like my body is dragging through quicksand all the while.
I do, even when I question how it could possibly be so.

I do, because it has to be enough...enough now.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mama Didn't Raise No Fool

Gracie has been having a little diaper rash issue (which I am sure she will be thrilled that I shared over the world wide web one day), so last Friday I called the doctor and made a mid-day appointment.

I also called Gracie's daycare and asked them to prepare her mid-day bottle a little early because, as previously discussed, girl doesn't like to miss a ba-ba.

When I arrived at "school" said ba-ba was nice and warm and Gracie was thrilled to see me.  I settled back in a chair, ready to feed her before hopping in the car when I noticed her teacher looking at me, wide-eyed.

"Are you going to hold that for her?!"

Upon affirming that yes I was planning to hold the bottle per our usual routine, she just shook her head and laughed.

"We usually just hand her the bottle and she goes into a corner, drinks it, and brings it back."

This was news to me.  I have been rocking and feeding this baby every bottle that has ever touched her little rosebud mouth for the past 11 months.  Don't get me wrong, I love doing's just that she so clearly has me right where she wants me.

Over the weekend, I tried not holding the bottle, just to see what would happen.  We both watched as it dangled loosely from her mouth.  She looked at me...I looked at her.  I will let you guess which one of us caved first.

Maybe I should be more concerned, but I feel sure that she will move on to other things to bamboozle me into doing as time goes on.  Mama didn't raise no fool.