this baby has made me extra "crunchy". or maybe i'm getting soft in my old age.
whichever it is, i like it. i really like it. a lot.
so, when kayla was born, i had a lot of experience with kids. i'd babysat for years. i'd nannied. i'd taught sunday school. i'd had younger siblings. and so on. but becoming a parent is TOTALLY different. first of all, it becomes a 24 hour, 7 day a week job. not just a few hours here or a week there. all the time. every day. every night. sick. well. tired. hungry. all of it. all the time.
sure, its FOR SURE the most rewarding and wonderful experience you could hope for. beyond imagination.
but its WORK. lots of it. consistent.hard.work.
over the years, though, i've learned to let go a lot. and to love a lot more. here's what i mean.
with kayla, i was busy busy busy - trying to get her to nap at the right time, sleep through the night, entertain herself ... pretty much so i could enjoy my life more. kinda forgot all about the fact that my #1 priority now was to train up this wee child. she was totally and completely dependent on me. her food, her clothing, her shelter. she needed me. i was made for her. and she needed me. but selfish me was busy busy busy trying to follow all the books and keep up with other mom friends, yada yada.
i've never liked new year's resolutions. they seem over ambitious and rarely pan out. so, this year, i thought i'd take a little different angle. we spent the new year's weekend in kansas city, visiting family we rarely get to see, swimming in the hotel pool and heading to bed at the ripe hour of 10pm on new year's eve. guess we're getting old. i digress ...
so, on our drive home, i told jimmy that i wanted to do something different this year. i wanted one word to help remind me of what i want my heart to follow after. after a bit of thought we both came up with a word.
his: simplify. mine: moments.
yes, moments. i struggle between finding a balance between my selfish side wanting a perfectly clean and kept house and my nurturing side that wants to create, color, craft, cook and enjoy all those messy moments with my girls. i chose the word to remind me to really stop and enjoy the moments i have. the movie i choose to watch with hubs, instead of cleaning the kitchen. the cookies i choose to let kayla help me bake, even though i could do it quicker and neater by myself. the times i choose to rock lillian a little longer instead of folding the ever growing mountain of laundry.
a few days into the year, i found myself remembering that word --moments-- as i sat on the floor with lillian and jimmy, coaxing smiles from our wee girl together. knowing there were dishes in the sink and laundry waiting to be folded in the dryer i chose to enjoy those moments. and i suddenly realized that i couldn't remember a time like that when kayla was itty bitty. i had been too busy. too busy keeping my house perfect. too busy trying to figure out why she wasn't sleeping through the night or taking proper naps or what i needed to be doing next and on and on. and my heart felt a wee bit sad, but a wave of thankfulness crashed over that sadness. thankful that i've grown a little. grown enough to enjoy the moments more often.
i know, i know ... my blog entries have been few and far between lately. what can i say? my life is FULL these day!
having a baby. i kinda forgot how time consuming it really is. but its so wonderful. i was just thinking today how much i love these moments of my life. no, i never feel caught up. there are always dishes to be done, laundry to be folded or put away or washed, floors to be cleaned, counters to be cleared, meals to be made, school lessons to be taught, walks to be taken ... BUT i can't help but sit back and smile. my girls are happy, healthy, creative, tender, loving and so-much-fun! (most of the time!) of course there are those times when i want to hide in the closet and not come out. but generally, our days are pleasant.
and another thing i love. i love our "family room", as kayla affectionately calls it. i know some of you probably think we're insane, but we are ALL in the master bedroom. still. kayla has her own mattress in there and lillian's crib bumps up to the side of our bed (like a co-sleeper, but more like a place to store burp cloths and my water and flashlight). i just realized the other day that when kayla decides she's ready for her own room, i'll really miss her. i like having my girls within eye sight. i can check on them frequently through the night (you know, once a mom, you never sleep like before!), hear their little sleep sighs. i will miss these days when they're gone. i know it.
and i am just so thankful for my husband. yes, there are plenty of things that he does that irk me and i the same for him, i'm certain ... BUT he really is amazing and i am so blessed to have him. he fully and completely supports me in my role as mom, teacher and care taker of our girls. he loves it that i'm home with them. and reminds me frequently that THEY (not the house that i'd prefer to be perfectly clean and organized!) are my number one priority. he's the best. well, the best for me, anyway.
and so i carry on. doing dishes, nursing baby, listening to big sister read and making a few meals in between.
i've had some GREAT blog posts rolling around in my head the last two months ... but alas. as soon as the wee girl falls asleep, i follow shortly after. i've definitely gotten wiser this time around, in the sleep-while-baby-sleeps department!
but really, i thought i might attempt to blog a few thoughts tonight since she went down pretty early. (i'll probably regret this later - say, about 2am, when the wake up call comes!) so, here it goes.
how TIME changed me, as a mother.
its been 7 years since i had an infant. and yes, the circumstances surrounding both of my daughters' births were pretty different (10 weeks in the NICU vs. 8 days in the NICU ... and so on), BUT i still have a brand new, delicious smelling, cooing, nursing, squawking, itty bitty baby in our home again.
:: i rock my baby to sleep -- because i want to, and i really don't care if it "spoils" her.
:: i hold her often. even if it means not getting the house in order or laundry done or toilets cleaned.
:: i kiss her head all.the.time. because i can.
:: i rarely let her cry. and i don't care if it teaches her to be "dependent" on me.
:: i listen to those little nursing sounds and treasure them in my heart because i know they'll soon be only a memory.
:: i lay on the floor with her. just because.
:: i go to bed with a messy house, sometimes. even though it drives me crazy, i choose to let it be.
:: i don't wish for the "sleeping-thru-the-night" to come sooner than it must because i know she'll soon not need me in those wee hours.
:: i let her nap in my arms sometimes. and i like it.
:: i try and memorize every little roll, cheek, nook and cranny of her little chubby self because one day, in the blink of my eye, she'll be a long-legged 7 year old without those baby cheeks any more.
:: sometimes i take naps with her.
:: i love to smell her neck, even if she isn't freshly bathed.
:: i don't freak out if her poo gets on me, or the sheets, or the fresh clothes she's wearing.
:: sometimes i dance with her, when nobody's watching.
:: i could care less that she doesn't follow a schedule. i'm happy to let her eat and sleep as she pleases, for now.
all these things. i venture to say, i'm a much more patient person. matured. a bit more selfless. certainly not perfect, but definitely changed. and i'm so thankful for another chance. and i'm grateful for the big sister she has because she is precious. and in a mere blink, she's so tall, so grown up, so smart, so independent, so beautiful. seeing these two girls brings joy to my heart and a lump in my throat. i couldn't be more happy. and when i heard kayla tell her daddy, "don't worry - right now she loves mommy most but she'll love love LOVE her daddy, when she gets bigger!" i almost cried. beautiful words.
most of you obviously know that we added a new family member to our ranks last week!
Lillian Grace joined us, via c-section, August 4th at 2:48pm. 6lbs 12oz, 21 inches long.
her lung collapsed a few hours later and she's had a short stay in the NICU, but we get to bring her home tomorrow! and tomorrow is such a special day because 7 years ago, we entered the parenting world when Kayla Ruth was born (10 weeks early, via emergency c-section, 2 1/2lbs). and so, i'm writing this short blog b/c i really *should* be taking advantage of my last night without a newborn and getting lots of sleep, but I'M JUST A WEE BIT EXCITED!!!
no, things didn't pan out the way i had really hoped for Lillian's birth and i still have a passion in my heart for natural child birth and all that entails, but i am not bitter. i am not regretful. i am only thankful. so thankful. this last week has been pretty painful -- traipsing back and forth to the NICU, pumping, recovering ... but i am so thankful. i am alive. Lillian is alive. i have an absolutely wonderful partner i'm living this life with. i have a precious nearly 7 year old that brings joy to my heart daily. and i have wonderful friends and family that have offered more help, support and prayers than i could've dreamed asking for.
my heart sings: His loving kindness has yet to fail me.
over and over.
and every time i say Lillian's name, i am reminded that He is true to His promises. Lillian Grace means God's promise and grace. perfect. just perfect.