My son woke me from a sound sleep at 2 a.m. last night, calling that he needed to go potty. It’s rare for him to need to go in the night, but when he does, he is of the firm conviction that he requires company. This is perhaps our fault, because we made an iron rule when he moved from a crib to a toddler bed that he was never to get out of bed without permission, unless it was to use the bathroom. The first part sunk in nicely; the latter part did not.
In any case, I got up with him for a couple minutes, then headed straight back to bed. I then lay awake for the next 2 1/2 hours.
I don’t know what it was about having children that forever destroyed my ability to sleep like a normal person. I now require ear plugs and a sleep mask, and even then, I go through regular bouts of insomnia: not falling asleep despite being exhausted, not being able to get back to sleep if I wake in the night, waking too early in the morning… I knew going into kids that I wasn’t going to sleep much with little ones who were not sleeping through the night. I did not realize that even once my kids were sleeping all night, I might not be able to. It’s possibly a genetic issue kicking in now that I’m in my 30s, as there’s a family history of insomnia starting around this time. Whatever the case, it sure makes for a tired mama.
Also, my preschooler is running a 100.5 fever. I expected this. After all, we’ve all been healthy for a good two weeks. I was talking to a friend about our constant illness and the fact that I just have to hope all these relatively minor bugs are building my kids’ immune systems so that when they get older, they’ll be able to avoid major illness. It’s what keeps me going through all the snotty noses, fevers and crabbiness.
As always, we just keep plugging along. Life is busy around here, and we’re looking forward to a trip to Florida to visit dear friends next week. Let’s hope we can get this latest round of sickness out of the way before then.
I was reflecting again recently on how my perspective has evolved since Lina’s birth.
I look at Lina now, and I see a beautiful little girl, growing and learning every day at her own pace, just like every child does. I see a precious individual, a priceless gift to our family. I look back on my pregnancy and her birth, and I no longer feel loss. Instead, I feel only the joy of her. I absolutely cannot imagine having any other baby. She is perfect for us, the child we hoped for and dreamed of for so long. She is in no way less than: not less than any other child, not less than the imaginary child we expected. She is complete and amazing.
I used to read similar thoughts from parents of kids with disabilities. I would nod and think, “That’s so awesome and so true.” But I realize now that deep down, those parents sounded to me like second place contestants trying to be okay with the consolation prize. I thought they were being brave.
I’m ashamed of that truth. And sometimes, I’m ashamed of the grief I felt after Lina’s birth. I know in my head that it was necessary and healthy to grieve the baby I thought I was having and to mourn the more difficult path that lay ahead. I realize that stabs of pain and grief will continue to be a part of life as Lina’s mom. (Pain and grief are probably guaranteed in the life of any mom.) But in some ways, that initial grief feels so out of place now. Why would I grieve this amazing child? I look at her, and I feel pride and joy. Disappointment has no place between us.
This has been my journey. There’s a lot more to travel yet; we’re really just getting started. I am not brave or extraordinary. I am a mom who loves her kids like crazy. And though it no longer feels necessary to say, I’ll state for the record: Lina is nobody’s consolation prize.
A Christmas Review Well After the Fact, and in Two Parts
Christmas Eve supper is a long-standing traditional feast in my family, with an offering of gourmet cheeses and crackers, fresh fruit and veggies, and the crowning piece de resistance, my dad’s beyond-amazing, almond-filled Christmas wreath bread. The kids played, we feasted, and it was a lovely evening.
(All the photos in this post are courtesy my brother. Thanks, Ry!)
As is always the case, pretty pictures tell only part of the story. Christmas Day was long for the kids (but certainly not for the adults), dinner was late, and it turned out Grandma Titus was not well (which resulted in most of the rest of us coming down with a thoroughly unpleasant stomach bug within a few days). But our family was together (even if we were trying to keep the kids away from poor great-grandma), the food was fantastic, and there was great delight over wonderfully thoughtful gifts. Ultimately, Christmas for us will always be celebrating the most important gift ever given with the people we love the most. At its core, it’s really that simple – and that deep.
A Christmas Review Well After the Fact, and in Two Parts
It took eight ages for a variety of reasons, one of which was the transition to my new computer (a laptop! I can blog from the living room couch!), but finally, I have our Christmas pictures ready for sharing. There are so many of them, in fact, that I have crashed Word Press multiple times trying to fit them into a single post. So, a two-parter it is.
We had an early celebration with Jon’s family the weekend before Christmas, with presents Saturday night and brunch with both sets of parents at the Opryland Hotel Sunday morning.
Christmas Eve supper and most of Christmas Day were spent at my parents’ house with my family, which will be in the next post. But to finish out this one, here is our quiet Christmas morning at home.
Happy New Year, friends.
We rang it in by… Okay, we didn’t ring it in at all. We were sound asleep. I’m still recovering from a nasty stomach bug and Jon worked until 3 a.m. the night before and was toast. Party animals we were not.
I love the start of a new year, that sense of a fresh start and the expectation of things to come. A new year makes me feel optimistic, with its wide open possibilities.
Our family has some big decisions ahead of us in the next few months. There’s a lot of unknown in our 2014. Uncertainty is typically not my favorite thing, but I am learning in these situations to take it one step at a time and trust the One who knows the future. And whatever this new year holds, I know exactly how blessed I am. I look at my tired, overworked husband and my perpetually snotty-nosed kids, and I know that this life – this messy, imperfect, uncertain life – is more than I could have asked.
So for all of us, here’s to 2014, with its inevitable highs and lows, disappointments and joys. May we know God better and be a little more like Him, may we find His strength when we need it, and may we find the beauty He has for us here in the nitty-gritty everyday.