Posts tagged ‘Trust’

September 21, 2011

Dear Jacob XI (Birthday Edition)

Dear, dear Jacob,

Today is one of the happiest days of my life.

Today you are one year old.

A year ago, your daddy and I were in the hospital, hanging out in a labor and delivery room, letting the induction drugs do their thing and enjoying twenty-four hours of free cable as best we could.  After your due date had come and gone, I finally knew what day would be your birthday.  Before, September twenty-first had just been one of the last days of summer to me.  Now it was a date that was carved into my heart in a very special way.  I hoped I wouldn’t forget it when people asked in the future.  And honestly, I did have to think about it for the first few months.  I didn’t want to get it wrong!



At 7:36pm, you were born.  I pushed for a very short time, but don’t think that means you get off easy in any way.  I still carried you all the way through the hottest summer in New York City history.  I will remind you of this if and when you sass me as a teenager.

The first thing I thought when I looked at you was, “Wow, he definitely looks like a Schlegel”—your uncle Joseph in particular.  The pediatrician on call validated this for me by giving you your first compliment: “nice mouth.”  You really did seem to have your uncle’s mouth.

Despite having just borne you, I couldn’t believe you were mine.  Yes, I held you, and we took the just-born photos, but I was in disbelief for weeks, months.  Was God sure I was the right one to take care of you?  Could I be everything you needed?  Was I really ready for this?  Would I ever be?


The answers, I know now, are yes, yes, yes, and yes.  God gave you to me and me to you, and I trust that He knew what He was doing.  Now with a little more mothering under my belt—and proof that I didn’t drop you or break you or fail to teach you how to love (your snuggles are out of this world, thankyouverymuch), I am sure that you are mine.  You love pasta and books and people say you look like me.

But more importantly, infinitely more importantly, you are you.  You are our little Jacob—your own person, with your own heart and your own spirit.  Every day I thank God for you and pray He’ll give me the grace and the strength to be everything you need.



You are special, Jacob, and you are so, so loved.  You are, and always will be my precious little boy.  I watch you play and my heart bursts.  I watch you eat and my heart bursts.  I watch you laugh and my heart bursts.  I watch you give hugs and kisses and learn new things and—you get the idea.

Thank you for being exactly who you are.  Thank you for sharing your bubbly smiles, your contagious love, and your easy forgiveness when I mess something up.  This first year with you has been the best one ever.  Let’s raise our sippy cups to many more wonderful years to come.


I love you, little Jacob.  Happy birthday, my beautiful baby boy.

All my love,

September 1, 2011

Detective Mommy

Being a parent means taking on a whole lot of roles—chef, chauffeur, public relations specialist, maid, and so on.  With the diagnosis of Jacob’s allergies, we took on the role of detective as well, and so far, it’s one of my least favorites.

Although the allergist did a skin test to determine what Jacob is allergic to, there’s no test to tell how and to what degree his reactions are going to manifest themselves.  No test other than trial and error, that is.

Thankfully, we have a good pediatrician and allergist working with us to figure out how the little man’s system works.  But all the information they get essentially comes from me.  I need to know when he reacted, what might have caused the reaction, and track how effective our treatment was.  I think I should be writing down more of this than I am. In my own defense, it was overwhelming at first to consider recording every food we ate, everything he touched, every sign of dry or itchy skin.  I felt like I’d be writing down every moment of our lives, and then there was still a chance I’d miss something.

For me, this is where prayer comes in. Parenting in general, and tending to Jacob’s allergies in particular, are tasks far greater than John and I can successfully accomplish on our own.  Every day we need grace, we need strength, and we need perspective.

If I believe in the value of any daily activity—besides eating and breathing—it’s prayer.  When I’m frustrated, when I’m anxious, when I don’t think I can wrap my head around the giant responsibility on my shoulders, I can turn to Someone else.  John and I are not doing this alone, and when I take the time to admit that, to be thankful for that, I am inevitably rewarded with a humungous dose of perspective.

Dealing with Jacob’s allergies has been humbling.  There’s only so much I can know and so much I can do as a parent.  I’m not always going to have the right answer.  The best I can do is make sure I have my head on straight (i.e. don’t freak out because I can’t find wheat-free English muffins in Park Slope) and then trust, trust, trust.

I went to Confession last weekend and the priest rightly told me I needed to pray more.  “God wants to help you; He will help you,” he said. Time and again my experience has proven he’s exactly right.

Jacob’s allergies are not the end of the world, but even if they were, I know I have a help, a rock, a stronghold to see me through.


August 23, 2011

A Temporary Full-Time Job

Last week I had an unexpected but super fun work engagement change our schedule, big time.  What I thought might be a morning and maybe an afternoon away from home turned into three full days and two evenings.  Which meant that three days of business as usual with the little man turned into half a week with him in New Jersey, living the life of a “real” working mom for the first time.


I don’t know that I would have proposed the arrangement on such short notice, but with a fantastic grandma, who happens to be a teacher—and thus has summers off—it seemed like a good deal for everyone.  Jacob and his grandparents got some great bonding time, and I got a taste of what it’s like to be away from my baby all day.


Though I spent time with the Peanut in the mornings and the evenings, getting him ready for the day or for bed, and playing some too, it was nowhere near as much time as we normally have together. Thankfully our workspace was close to my parents’ house and I was able to nurse Jacob once each day, when he needed it (the bottle was a no-go).  Still, I’d never before experienced that seeing-him-again-at-the-end-of-the-day thing, and while it’s sad to be away, that moment when we were together again was awesome.  The kid has a killer smile.


Because Jacob is eleven months old, nursing less and napping more regularly, and because there was family around to care for him, I avoided the stress I imagine other working moms encounter when choosing childcare for their little ones, post-maternity leave. Knowing how I tend to over-think things, and considering how stressed I am about Jacob’s allergies and what to feed him both now and when he weans, I would guess I would have slept close to never throughout the childcare-choosing process, if John and I had decided to go that route.  Kudos to those who do it with such grace and trust!


I know and respect moms who work in a more traditional environment than I do, and I’m grateful to have a glimpse into what their days are like.  To some extent, I think I’ve always understood why some mothers go back to work, when it’s not about money. Before we were married, John and I knew our plan was for me to stay home when children came along, and try my hand at freelance work.  But when the time came to make the transition, I really struggled with it.  I legitimately had my dream job.  But I knew that what God had given, God could take away, and this was a time I could exercise my trust in Him in a real and tangible way.  I also knew that if I didn’t trust in Him, if I went back on what I’d promised my family, we’d all lose in the end.


Having eight hours a day to concentrate on something with only minor interruptions and to dig into a project I believe in and see my contribution make progress was great.  I see how valuable that time can be in maintaining psychological balance in one’s life.  I’m still working on work/home priorities and balance, and while I am grateful that I am blessed with the work I have, it’s tough to fit it all in sometimes.  Having a chance to really do one thing at a time was kind of refreshing.


Still, it’s not what’s right for me full-time right now. I know that at some point all our kids (God willing!) will be in school, and if I choose to go back to an office environment, hopefully what I’ve been doing in the meantime—both my freelance work and raising kids/managing a household—will help make that a possibility.


I’ve been singing “Amazing Grace” to Jacob a lot lately, and these verses sum up my experience pretty well:


Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.


The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.




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