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Posts Tagged ‘parenthood’

 

Dear Esther,

 

You turn the big 04 on the 27th! This birthday is hard for me. Why? Where do I start? Because my own permanent memories began at four years old and I’m assuming yours will too. I can vividly remember walking down the block I grew up on holding my mother’s hand. We walked to the bus stop every Saturday morning to ride it downtown Minneapolis – 912 Nicollet Mall. That was where the beauty salon she owned stood. I would spend all day at the shop listening to the ladies chat and watch my mom transform women from the inside out. A lot of my most favorite times happened at that beauty shop…as well as my education about life, love and hardships. Also, I remember my patent leather church shoes…my most prized possession. Grandpa Dewey would pretend to shine them every Sunday before church. I’d hop up on his bed and hang my legs down from the edge and let him make them look shiny and new again before rushing off to Sunday School. I could go on and on. My point is, is that I’m very worried. I feel like NOW you too will have LASTING memories of me and your father. Not that the previous years haven’t counted, but I feel like now I’ve really got to dig in and make it count. I want you to someday tell your children (if you decide to go that route) all about how your daddy used to wrestle with you and your sister on the living room floor. Or how mommy took you to dance class on Saturday mornings and then the two of you would sneak off to Target afterwards for treats. Don’t forget about how daddy falls asleep in your bed snuggling or mommy paints your nails just how you like them- black or dark red with sparkles on top.

 

As your mom I question if I’m doing it right on a daily basis. I’m guessing I’m not alone in this. I’m sure most mothers feel this way- if they’re being honest with themselves. I wonder whether I was a little too harsh with you, or if I wasn’t stern enough. Am I making sure I’m giving you the tools to go out into the world with confidence, self esteem and a little bit of kick ass- ness?. Did I make you sad today? Did I say the right thing or the wrong thing? Were those berries I just fed you covered in pesticides? Are you getting enough calcium….see the questions are endless. This year counts- just as the previous ones did too- but again- for some reason there has been a shift inside me. I want you to have good memories.

 

I’m old enough now to be a realist and my pessimist meter has always leaned a bit towards the half empty side. I wish it didn’t, but most days it does. I know that when it comes to parenting, I will fail…probably more than I’d like to. I will struggle, I will fall down. I expect to. It means I care and it means I AM TRYING with everything I’ve got. And truly- really…if I am honest with myself…isn’t that at the core of what really matters? If you remember nothing else…remember that I tried every.single.day to be the best mom to you, because that’s what you deserve. On days when I wanted to pull the covers over my head and ignore the day, the knowledge that you needed me got me outta my head and off my ass to get up and participate in life. You help me realize that my actions, matter. Not only that, you motivate and encourage me to continuously learn and grow because if I am to teach you “all of the things” then I better learn “all of the things.”

 

I’m not sure where to take this post from here. This was supposed to be about you- but a lot of it has been about me. I guess too, 4 is when I finally realized that my own mother was a person too. She wasn’t just my mom. She had a name and friends and likes and dislikes. She was perfect and imperfect and sometimes got impatient with me. I saw her fail and cry and sometimes she got scared. It’s a little startling for a child when you first start to notice these things. I image you have already noticed some of these things in me too. Even so, your love for me never waivers. Sometimes you tell me you don’t like me anymore when I make you go to bed, but I know it’s just the anger talking . I want you to  know/notice that I am not perfect and I hope that gives you permission to not be perfect either and to know that IT IS OK. Fall, fail, stumble, cry, yell, be scared. It means you’re living and not just existing. But, also- smile, scream with joy, leap, jump, be passionate, cheer, ask questions…all of the questions. Be limitless. It is your right.

 

Esther, you are perfect in my eyes . You could never do anything- seriously- anything that would change my adoration and love for you. It’s by design. Before bed a few weeks ago I asked you how you were going to change the world and you responded, “I’m going to give hugs when people are sad. I’m going to share happiness and love.” How can a response be any more perfect than that? Especially in the world in which we are existing in today.

 

Here’s to making lasting memories that will build upon a foundation that was stated 4 years ago when we first saw each other that Friday morning in that hospital room the day of your birth. You looked at me with those big brown eyes knowingly. I melted. We fell in love. That is one of my most favorite memories of all. The moment I became a mother- you did that. We’ve got so much more to do. I’m so excited.

 

Happy 4th birthday little monkey! You are my happy thought.

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Before I became a Mom, I slept all night. The type of sleep I’d imagine bears experience while hibernating all winter long. I could place my head on a pillow and leave all my worries on the nightstand to (maybe) be dealt with the next day.

 

Before I became a Mom, I had an expendable income. I could spend it on whatever I wanted and didn’t need- shoes, Happy Hours, concerts and pedicures.

 

Before I became a Mom, I had weekends. The days you could sleep in, see movies, meet up with friend on a whim.

 

Now that I’m a Mom, I don’t sleep all night. I enjoy the kind of nights when my baby is restless and needs me.  We sometimes snuggle while having sleepovers on the floor in her room, her little body pressed up against mine- my face in her curls. It’s not the “dead to the world” kind of sleep, it’s the “envelope yourself in this moment” blissful sleep.

 

Now that I’m a Mom, most of our money goes to daycare. I don’t always get to buy a new wardrobe every season, but I get to go shopping with my girl and pick out clothes for her and hold them up and hear her say, “ooohhh priddy”.  It’s my favorite song.

 

Now that I’m a Mom, my weekends are days I get to be with my little family. Cherished time away from the grind to slow down and drink it in. I don’t sleep in because there’s fun to be had eating imaginary things my daughter hands to me or reading her favorite book for the 2,047th time.

 

Now that I’m a Mom I have a broken heart. The one I had was not big enough to hold the love I have for my child. It is raw with the realization that I’m forever exposed to the unknown and knowledge that I won’t always be able to protect her from the falls, the skinned knees, the sting of rejection and the bruises failure leaves behind. I won’t be able to shield her from the sorrows from loss and missed opportunities or the pain of her own broken heart if she becomes a mother someday.

 

Before I was a Mom I wondered about God- or whatever you conceive God to be.

Now that I’m a Mom, I’m sure of it, “…a gift so great is only one God could create.”

 

Thank you, Esther, for choosing me. I am proud to be your momma.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms.Image

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Dear Esther,

It has been an amazing year. I cannot adequately describe to you how honored I feel to be your momma. You bring joy to my soul every day.  It’s a treat to see your smiling face in the morning and it feels like a stolen moment when rocking you to sleep at night. Each time I do I try to savor every minute as I know one day you’ll be too busy, or squirmy to let me even attempt to.

This past year has not always been  rainbows and sunshine. There were the days when you were crabby, or I was tired. There have been days where we both struggled through teething episodes and moments of frustration(s). There have been times when I longed for my single life. A time when I could take random naps and 2 hour baths while reading my favorite magazines. There were moments when I considered trading in my left pinky to just be able to use the bathroom without your little hands banging on the door or hearing your little knees hit the hardwood floors racing me to our bedroom as I attempted to sneak away for just a few minutes alone. I have had a rough time figuring out how to balance being your momma and carving out time for me; the part of me that is just me.  Then, the other night I was looking at one of the many (ok, let’s be honest, probably thousands of) photos of you I keep on my phone and I had what auntie Oprah refers to as an “ahh haa” moment.  I am no longer just me. I am forever linked to you. I am defined by being your mother and wife to your father. We are a family. Our fates are sealed. And you know what; I wouldn’t wish to have it any other way. You and your dad have added color to my life. You give my life a purpose and a meaning. You found me when I was broken and needed a reason to jump into life full force.

I hope that you always will know how much we love you, adore you, and cherish you. You are our Zen, our happy place. I’m so grateful you chose us and I hope we won’t ever let you down (I’m positive there will be time when we will). I’m sure we’ll make tons of mistakes along the way- just forgive us ok? We really will always have your best interest at heart. Also, when mommy and daddy embarrass you for X reason just know that it’s payback for the time you pooped on mommy, or the time when you coughed directly into daddy’s mouth and he got sick for 3 days. Tit for tat. This is how families work. But know no matter what, we ALWAYS have your back.

Esther Irene this year has been magical. I hope that the many years to come will continue to bless us and teach us new lessons. You have taken us to school my girl! On the day you were born, we- a mommy and a daddy- were also born. We have enjoyed getting to know those 3 people this year.

Image

Esther day 1, mins old.

Happy first birthday bear cub! Here’s to a millionbajillion more together.

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Almost There…

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When you attend babyshowers, sometimes you’re subjected to games you might not be all that excited about playing. I’m sure some of you have been there. It’s a part of the tradition at these functions, and sometimes, you win cute stuff. Anyway- there was a list I came across for this purpose. You give them to attendees and they write down wishes for the baby. I loved this list and decided to fill it out for my little one as well. Here it is.

WISHES FOR BABY (the part after the “_____” is what you fill in)

  I hope that you_____Always trust your gut!

  I hope you aren’t afraid___To always be true to who you believe you are. Even if it’s very different from everyone else around you.

  I hope you love___ Life and all if its joys and challenges

  I hope you get____ Enough challenges to keep you strong and enough love to carry  you through them

  I hope you laugh___ Everyday because you don’t take yourself too seriously

  I hope you never forget___ That no matter what, your father and I will always,always  love you

I hope you ignore___ Those people who will judge you without cause or reason

I hope you become____All that YOU want to

I hope you respect___The process and trust it to lead you to exactly where you need to be

I hope you grow___Into your destiny

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Edited to Add: I actually wrote this post yesterday and just now got the chance to post it.  So, yep- welcome to parenthood.

Whew! First… Hey (:

For those of you who don’t know, our little angel arrived on Friday morning kicking and screaming (although you wouldn’t know it from this serene face, would you?). I’ll tell ya all about that later, but wanted to update the site.

Esther Irene Andrews
1-27-2012
10:45 am
6lbs 6oz
20.5 inches

By the way- no castor oil needed. She started giving me contractions on her own at around 9 pm on Thursday eve.

I was feeling a bit disconnected from the AWESOME community that was here to support us at each step of this long  and often times- terrifying journey. It’s a love and support that I’ve never felt and I am confident that it was because of your prayers that we made it almost to the end of a 40 week pregnancy.

(So if that’s so true, Tanisha, how come you are being a huge meanie and hogging her all to yourself?)

I also wanted to come here to explain why we kept people away at the hospital and wanted to wait until we were settled at home for visitors. About a week before pregnancy I started to really process what giving birth would feel like and how I (and Jim) would feel upon first meeting our daughter. I knew that I wanted our little family to have, at the very least, a few hours to just get to know her- uninterrupted. Secondly, I knew breast feeding would probably take us some time to get down and I don’t know about you, but I’m not comfortable whipping my breasts out in front of even my closest of friends. Breast feeding is not like bottle feeding. You literally have to be engaged in it around the clock. I don’t even know why I even bother to wear a shirt. Seriously, ask Jim, for the past 3 days I look like I could be a double for one of the mommas you might see in National Geographic. I’m thankful that I fought for this privacy because we’ve needed it. Breast-feeding has indeed been a challenge for Esther and I. I know we’ll get it, but it hasn’t been an easy road (again, I’ll talk more about it later).  This difficulty has contributed to Esther developing a pretty bad case of jaundice. They almost didn’t let us come home today. She just barely made the cut off.  They delivered a “billibed” to our home and we were told she MUST stay on the bed whenever she’s not being nursed or changed. It breaks my heart, literally, as I could hold her all day long. Adittionaly, if you’ve had a baby recently you’ll know this. They jam pack all they can into the short hospital stay these days. Tests, shots, doctor visits, photos, nurses checks and questions.

Of course we want you all to meet our daughter. She’s the best! I’m not just saying that because I’m her momma. We’re just gonna need more time to get our groove down. Trust me, it will be more fun to visit her anyway when you can actually hold her and really give her a good once over. You couldn’t do that now-

We do thank you for all of the offers of visits and food and just overall a showering of love and support. WE DO APPRECIATED. And maybe I’m only speaking for myself, but I feel like a huge meanie and I wanted you to know why we’re cocooning for a bit. We promise to let you know when you can crowd our door and enjoy this little lady as much as we are. Right now, I’m being an aggresive momma bear and making she medically in a good spot.

We’re seeing the pediatrician tomorrow to make sure he jaundice is getting better, as well as a lactation consulatant. I’m still committed to breast feeding and I’m determined (now more than ever) to make it work. I’m currently taking a quick, relaxing tea break willing my milk to come in (: TMI? See?? told ya!

A special shout out to the ReyesLewis family for watching Sparky (and keeping him a bonus day) so we could deliver this girl and get settled a bit before Jim has to figure out how to juggle being a parent of 2 and a new MBA student.

Love,

Jim, Tanisha and Esther.

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