Posts tagged ‘Life with a Newborn’

September 22, 2011

Another Year Over, a New One Just Begun

Well, friends, the war may not be over, but Jacob’s first year is.  We celebrated yesterday with a “muffin” and a new-to-Jacob play kitchen, but there’s much more celebrating to do this weekend with our family.  I love how often this little guy brings us all together.

I made a video of Jacob’s first year, day by day, but it was too long and I couldn’t upload the soundtrack because of copyright laws. Trust me when I say it’s awesome. If I can find a way to upload it, I will.

Just think cute newborn baby, baby with acne, baby with no hair . . . baby finally in some kind of position other than lying down, baby smiles, baby sits, baby wears cute winter hats, baby on his belly, baby giggles, baby crawls, baby sits, baby in myriad contortions and stuck in odd places around the house, baby stands, baby plays, baby makes a mess of various meals, baby smiles, baby smiles, baby smiles.

And imagine hearing the following: “Who Loves You” by the Four Seasons, “Baby Love” by the Supremes, “Seasons of Love” from Rent, “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys, and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” by Marvin Gaye.

When I scroll through this set of photos in reverse order, Jacob gets shorter, rounder, and eventually just sleeps a lot.  It’s like the The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (the short story, not the movie), only with a happier ending.

I guess this means Jacob is officially a “toddler” now.  Let the toddling begin!

September 7, 2011

My Motherhood Birthday

As firmly as I am convinced that pregnancy is as valid an experience of motherhood as care giving post-delivery, I find myself looking back on this last almost-year with Jacob and thinking the journey really began when we saw him face-to-face.

 

Every day has its ups and downs, and every day has its inevitable surprises, but I can safely say that things have gotten progressively easier over time.  This has less to do with the number of diapers being changed or even how many allergy screenings came back positive.  It has much more to do with how I’ve grown as a mother and as a woman since the doctor showed me a pair of slightly purple feet and told me I had a “beautiful baby boy.”  (And to think, I never even mentioned my appreciation for well-used alliteration.)

 

Recently a great friend from college met Jacob for the first time. Annie is one of the most thoughtful, most reflective, most intelligent, and kindest people I know. I love having some time to sit down and talk with her. At this meeting—as was to be expected—she asked me something that really got me to think.  She asked what I’d been surprised to learn about myself since I’d become a mother.

 

My first response was how agile I am with my feet, or rather my toes.  There have been times when I’ve had Jacob in my arms—best when he’s a naked, just-out-of-the-bath Jacob—and needed something off the floor, seeing as most of our lives take place there these days.  Bending down can be complicated, so I’ve learned to pick things up with my toes.  Sometimes I feel like a circus act, but whatever gets the job done!

 

I gave Annie my answer and we got to talking about something else (I think it was how strangely spaced my toes are, making them apt for retrieving items but also what some might consider good evidence for human evolution from monkeys).  A few minutes later, a less humorous, but more honest answer appealed to me.  I told Annie and the two other girls with us that I’d learned I am not as selfless and charitable as I thought I was.

 

Just like Jesus says (surprise, surprise), it’s easy to be kind to people you like, in easy situations, and when you’re feeling good. But when you’re exhausted, confused and stressed, and it’s the middle of the night, even when you are only with your best friend/husband and your brand new baby boy, it can be hard to respond to what’s asked of you with love.

 

I’ve learned how valuable adequate sleep is for me, and not to attempt to make life decisions at four am.  John and I have both learned when it’s most important for him to help me out and in what ways.   I’m certainly not finished learning about myself yet. There’s still a long way to go, but this is a start.

 

In this past year, I’ve really started to understand what it means that, “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).  Thanks in large part to Your Vocation of Love by Agnes Penny, I’ve learned to look at the moments I want to explode, yell, cry, or curl up in a ball and disappear as opportunities to serve God.  Those moments when it feels almost impossible to love are the ones that really matter.  So now I am grateful for those moments.  While I can’t say I respond perfectly every time, I am trying.  And for right now, that’s enough.

 

Motherhood has changed me for the better in ways no other experience could hold a candle to. As we approach Jacob’s birthday, I kind of feel like it’s my own—the anniversary of my birth as a mother.  And that is certainly something worth celebrating.

July 27, 2011

This Time of Life

Welcoming a baby into a family opens the floodgates of change. The first few months with a newborn are a whirlwind of transitions, even from one day to the next.  There is less sleep than you thought you could handle, more diaper changes than you thought possible, and a different perspective on just about everything to adjust to. Life with a baby is exciting, challenging, and exhausting, but altogether joyful.  At least in my experience.

 

This week, though, we’re confronted with a new kind of change—one I’d seen coming for a while, but I can’t believe is upon us already.

 

We are blessed with a small group of families that lives nearby and all met one through the other at our church.  We started to meet these families before we even moved to Brooklyn, and we’d been introduced to them all by the time we were settled in and Jacob was born.  At that point, there was only one other baby born in the group, but another was on the way, and a few months later we learned the fourth was on her way, too. Over this past year in Brooklyn, most of our Sunday mornings have been shared with these wonderful folks at Mass and either brunch or a trip to the bagel shop afterward.

 

But all good things must come to an end.  We recently learned that one of these friends landed a job he was really hoping for.  It’s a great fit for him, and we’re really excited.  Except that it starts in just a few weeks.  And it’s in a different state.

 

The news is as bittersweet for us as it is for them.  Experiencing something as life-altering as pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of your children’s lives together creates a unique bond of friendship, and one I know will always have a special place in my heart.  I don’t think I’ve let myself really think about it yet, but it will be incredibly hard to say good-bye (or at least “see you later”) to a couple that has shared so much with us over the last eleven months.

 

I know that the period of life with just first children is a limited time offer, and that when more children come along for our friends—and for us—we will slowly find our ways to the homes we intend to settle into for the long term.  Most of these will likely be outside of Brooklyn.

 

I discussed this great change with two of the ladies on a playground yesterday afternoon, and I was grateful for their trust in God’s plan.  We expressed how much we’d miss one another, but there wasn’t a word of complaint among them.  “God always provides,” one remarked.  I couldn’t help but think, I wish he would provide a little longer!  But I know there is a plan at work, one that is greater than what we could have conjured on our own.  This time of life is full of change, hopefully all for the better.

 

No matter what comes next, I am beyond grateful that my journey into motherhood began with such faithful women by my side.

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