Posts tagged ‘Patience’

May 27, 2011

An Early Father’s Day for This Mama

Although it’s still a few weeks away, I’m already thinking about Father’s Day.  It’s the same week as John’s birthday (my favorite secular holiday of the year), which means the third week of June is a double-celebration for us from now until the end of time.  And considering I plan dinners and weekend desserts at least a week ahead of time, you can imagine when I start planning for double John celebrations.

But before we look forward, we must always look back, right?

Dreams of steaks and sweet treats aside, last night I had a moment that made me grateful all over again for the blessing of my two favorite guys in my life.  Come with me into my memories, please.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all Inception on you or anything.

Jacob went to sleep early because he missed a nap, so John didn’t get a chance to hang out with him in the evening.  When this happens, we anxiously await a cry for a diaper change so that John can have some face time with the little man, even if it is in the dark.  As I sat in the glider waiting to nurse our Peanut, I remembered a very special moment from just after Jacob was born.

If I think back to brand-new Jacob, the image in my mind is this photo:

I was in a non-clinical kind of shock after he was born.  Although I remember seeing his feet in the doctor’s hands, I can barely remember the first time I saw the little guy’s face.  What I do remember is that as I held him, with John standing over us both, John gently asked, “Can I hold him?”  And it was a moment I don’t know that I have the words to describe.  Yes, I was “meeting” this little person to whom I had been physically connected since he came into existence.  Seeing and holding him was a brand new and amazing experience, for sure.

But somehow I had the presence of mind to put myself in John’s shoes for a moment.  He had felt Jacob kick and he knew the ins and outs of my pregnancy, but holding Jacob was a whole new ball game for him in a different way than it was for me.  Touching our baby, holding him, was something he’d waited for in a physically disconnected way.  There was so much love in his patient waiting, and in the serenely joyful way he asked me for a chance to hold our little guy in his arms.  He was then, and is now, a completely natural father.

I am so grateful that Jacob has John as a dad.  And I am so grateful that I have him as my partner in parenthood.

Every day is Father’s Day in these parts.  But don’t think that doesn’t mean I’ve got a heck of a dessert in mind for the “real” holiday!

May 23, 2011

A New York State of Mind, Indeed

A year ago, I was one of only two pregnant people I knew—and the other lived 900 miles away.  About this time last year, through friends of friends, we met another pregnant couple, and before we knew it we were moving to Brooklyn, the baby capital of New York City, where we met even more people who, it turns out, were either expecting or would be in the next few months.

We spent yesterday afternoon with a number of these couples and their little ones, and I was struck by how incredibly lucky we are to have this community of young families.  Typically New York City is billed as a habitat for singles, for professionals, for people looking to work hard and play hard.  Family life is not a trait often portrayed in cultural perspectives on the city.

But there are tons of different kinds of people in New York, all with different priorities and different goals.  Thankfully, there are more than a few who share ours.

To say that we have been blessed with a good community in this new home of ours would be an understatement.  We have been positively flooded with God’s grace as we meet more and more young families and more and more young couples who are trying to start families.

We’ve begun a fairly regular gathering with a bunch of them, and I am beyond grateful for a room where we can talk freely about birthing options, teething, parenting guilt and parenting triumphs, where we can share our experiences and learn from others’, where we can make plans and watch our children learn to play and share with each other.  That there’s always good food and drink to sample only adds to the pleasure of these times together.

Although I still struggle every day to trust God completely, this community we have is proof that trust in Him does bear great fruit.  I couldn’t see it a year ago, but my loneliness was about to be replaced with a gaggle of friends, the anxiety in my mind with peace in my heart, and my fears with laughter.

God truly does work in mysterious ways, and I have a sense that later in life, when circumstances are not as joyful as they are now, I will have this time to look back on as real, tangible evidence of God’s love.  Married life, parenting, starting a small business—none of these things is easy.  But I have seen how they become easier with trust, with God’s grace, and most importantly, with love.

I think, for the first time, I’d agree that New York really is the greatest city in the world.

May 3, 2011

Dear Jacob VIII

Dear Jacob,

I didn’t intend to write these letters to you on any sort of schedule.  Yet I just realized that I’ve written you about once a month up until now.  In the past week, though, you achieved some major milestones that I want to record, so I’m writing a bit sooner than you might have expected.

You did an awesome thing this weekend.  At four a.m. Saturday morning, I heard you cry, so I went into your room to feed you, as I’ve been doing every night (with maybe two exceptions) since you were born.  This time, though, I was faced with a very different Jacob: a standing up Jacob!  There you were, both hands on the crib railing, looking over at me, crying—maybe for food, maybe because you hadn’t figured out how to get down yet.  Either way, I was stunned.  Part of me wondered if I should wake up your dad.  Part of me wondered if I should take a picture.  Ultimately, I figured your dad would see it the next time you did it, and I didn’t want to wake you up any more with the flash.   So I changed you, I fed you, and I went back to sleep, even though I was bursting with excitement—and disbelief—and couldn’t wait to tell your dad what I saw.  You really are growing up, Jacob.  Just when I was getting used to how mobile you are, just when I was starting to think that maybe you really would stay a baby forever, you reminded me that you have so much more to learn, so much more to do!

Did I say you did “an” awesome thing this weekend?  Scratch that.  You did two awesome things.  A few hours after you pulled yourself up in your crib, you started to crawl.  Like, really crawl.  Like, not just the inchworm thing you’ve been doing for a couple of weeks.  Now you are moving hand over hand, one knee at a time.  We’ve noticed you still resort to the worm when you really want to get somewhere; you’re more practiced at that and have more speed with it, but it’s not the only option anymore.  That blew me away, too.  Wow.  I mean, you’re such a big guy that you already look more like a little boy than a baby at times, but to see you do big boy things is a totally different story.

Two huge milestones in a matter of hours?  I’m starting to feel like things are moving quickly.  The first six months went at a steady pace.  Things changed, but not every four or five hours, and I didn’t feel anxious or nostalgic.  I was just excited to watch you grow.

I need to remind myself of that now, when I’m starting to get overwhelmed by the speed of life.  You are so smart and so able, and when I watch you figure things out, I see so much of your daddy in you.  The other day, you were in a crawling position, but stationary, and reaching out for something.  You reached with one hand and held yourself steady.  Then you switched to the other hand, to touch a different side of the thing.  You shook a bit, and I could see either your balance or your strength on that side wasn’t as solid.  You went back to the first hand, and I was concerned you’d give up.  But a second later, the shaky side was back in action.  You were not frustrated at all; you would not be deterred.  That is definitely more your dad’s character than mine, and I am so grateful to see it in you.  This patience, this fortitude, this trust in yourself will serve you well.

The other thing I wanted to record for you now is a little bit ironic.  After two months of needing a lot of help to get to sleep, you are going down at bedtime and even naptime rather easily.  About seven or seven-thirty p.m., you eat and doze and I put you in the crib.  You might cry for a minute, but then we don’t hear from you again for at least five hours.  On the one hand, it’s nice for daddy and I to have some quiet time in the evenings, either to eat a hot meal together or for daddy to study.  On the other hand, once you’ve been sleeping for a while, we start to miss you.  Tonight, we watched a video we took of you so we wouldn’t be tempted to go in your room and wake you up to snuggle.

I know this sleep is good for you, but I really look forward to seeing you in the morning, and even in the middle of the night!  You are so much fun, so sweet, so happy.  Oh my goodness, do you know how much we love you?  THIS MUCH AND MORE!!

I’ll try not to get too anxious about your growing up.  I do love watching you figure things out and seeing you do something today that you couldn’t do yesterday.  I know there is only more and more of that ahead.  And I don’t want to stay put right here, nor do I want to go back in time.  I pray for the grace to stay present with you, to appreciate every moment for the moment it is.  And I pray that by my example, I can teach you to do the same.

I love you, little man, my precious, precious little boy.

With all my heart,

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