Monthly Archives: July 2014

Two months with us

Two months ago today, you woke up in one house, took two plane rides, and then went to sleep in our house.

Two months. Eight weeks.

Have you settled in?

Sometimes, we aren’t sure.

You are as easygoing as we could hope for. We can see in your eyes that you are curious and interested. You are actively engaged with what’s going on around you. When we go out to dinner, or to the store or anywhere, you nearly never fuss or cry or carry on.

Your first concert was Carlene Carter. Her family is legendary. Her mother was married to Johnny Cash and was the daughter of Maybelle Carter, of the Carter family. You listened attentively for the first three songs, and then fell asleep in my arms. After Carlene Carter, John Prine came on stage. While you enjoyed it, the audience was too loud for you, and you had to listen from the back of the theater.

We bought you noise suppression headphones when we took you to see Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert.

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You enjoyed several songs, and then I took you to the back of the outdoor arena, changed your diaper, put you in your stroller, and you went to sleep while the music played on.

You seem settled. Sometimes.

In the past week, we’ve had a couple of rough nights. You sleep fitfully sometimes. You vocalize in your sleep and occasionally you roll over, flutter your eyes, and then go back to sleep. But last night, and a few nights ago, you woke up from your sleep and couldn’t be comforted. You wake up screaming. Not crying. Screaming.

What’s wrong, little girl?

We checked your diaper and tried to feed you and rocked you and did all we could, but you just screamed. Sometimes, we feel like young, inexperienced parents, who don’t know what we’re doing, or how to do it. I guess after two months, we’re now just like every other set of new parents – trying to figure out what we’re doing, while we’re doing it.

Have you settled in? We’re not sure. But we certainly have settled in as your mommy and daddy.

A list

Things you must gum:

Toys, car seat and highchair straps, blankets, the coffee table, the cat, daddy’s leg, everything around the changing table, your pool float, everything else in the pool (including mommy’s toes), the dog, your bath washcloth, daddy’s hand, books, the computer as I write this. Everything, but;

Things you don’t want to gum:

Teething toys.

I love being a daddy

I love being a daddy.

After so many years, and so many years of not really enjoying being around little kids, I had given up on ever having children.

But your mommy and I love each other so much, when we heard about you, we wanted to share our love with you. And I am glad we did.

I love how you react when you see me, first thing in the morning when you awake. Or your reaction when you see me after work. I love changing diapers and feeding you. I even understand how you cry at night, not wanting to go to sleep. I feel the same way having to say goodnight to you at the end of the day.

I love pushing you in the stroller, and carrying you in the car seat.

I love watching you chomp and ‘chew’ with your gums the ‘solid’ foods served with a spoon. And how you laugh at the fish in the fish tank after you eat.

I love every aspect of being a daddy. Of being your daddy.


A life lesson for you

Daddy learned a valuable lesson while I was interning during seminary. I worked at a retirement home where I got to know very elderly people. After talking at length with many of these folks I realized that some of them seemed to have a feeling of ‘incompleteness.’

You will, like all of us, grow up thinking that at some future point in your life you will figure out life, you will find answers to questions and will eventually, finally, understand what it means to be who you are as a unique individual. As you enter your high school years, you’ll struggle to find your identity.

Many of the older people I worked with were facing their final few years, and they were realizing that in many ways they were no closer to answers than when they started.

Our lives are about becoming who we are, not being who we are.

In the Christian Bible’s book of Exodus 3:14, it says, “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

In the Hebrew scripture, the Tanakh, it’s translated this way: “God said to Moses, “Ehyeh asher ehyeh (I will be what I will be),” and He said, “So shall you say to the children of Israel, ‘Ehyeh (I will be) has sent me to you.'”

English speakers tend to get trapped in the present tense, (and they tend to trap God there with them.)

But another translation is “I am becoming that which I am becoming.” Past, present, and future, all at the same time.

Like the Creator who breathed the Spirit of creation into you and me and mommy and into every living thing, we are always becoming who we are. Mommy and I are here to help you become who you will become, and to help you keep growing and keep becoming, with a sense of wonder and excitement.

And already, at less than six months old, your personality is really beginning to form and take shape. Already you are becoming who you will become.

You sounded like a dictionary falling off a table

You sounded like a dictionary falling off a table when you hit the floor with a thump this morning. You were sitting up, and then you were falling down.

After a moment of stunned silence, you cried.

And I picked you up, and held you, and you cried into my shoulder as I thought about the blog I posted not six hours earlier.

Throughout your whole life, when you cry, we will comfort you. And we will be strong for you, and try not to let you know that when you cry, we’re not only comforting you, but we’re crying with you, too. And we know the day will come, when we’ll be able to do nothing but just cry together.

Seven weeks ago tonight, we brought you home.

We’ve learned so much about each other . . . we can hear the difference between when you’re hungry, or wet, or tired. You’ve learned that you can melt our hearts with your toothless, chubby cheek smile and your laugh that fills a room.

It continues to boggle my mind to consider our great blessing to have you with us and to try to imagine the next 30 years of joy and happiness and tears and sadness and what a wonderful life we will have.

Life is as delicate as butterfly wings

You met Dr. Rodgers last week.

And several very nice nurses and other hospital staff when you took your first trip to the emergency room.

You rolled off the changing table and landed in an open drawer. The cut next to your eye won’t even leave a scar. By the time mommy held your arms, and daddy held your head so that Dr. Rodgers could probe the cut to determine its severity, it didn’t hurt enough for you to cry. You shrugged at the discomfort, and then laughed and smiled your toothless smile when it was over.

It was an accident that happened in less than a heartbeat, and it reminded us that life is as delicate as butterfly wings and as fleeting as the breeze from the beating of those wings.

Mommy’s faithful companion for many years has been a dog. She adopted him as a puppy, and he’s more than 12 years old, now.

When you see him, you laugh and smile and you want to touch him. From across the room, you’ll stare at him when he walks by. Mommy and I know that his time is limited, that he’s entering the twilight of his days. We get sad when we think of the day when he’ll be gone. We love him, and have done our very best to give him a good life, and have enjoyed having him with us.

Our hearts are so filled with love for you that it feels like they will burst, but we know that same love will one day turn to heartbreak when you face hurts we can’t heal and difficulties and challenges and pains that we can’t begin to imagine. Life is delicate and fragile and fleeting.

Our hearts ache with love for you, and we know our hearts will one day ache when we share the pain you’ll feel – a pain we won’t be able to kiss or rub away. But like today, we’ll hold you when you cry and we’ll be here for you. And no matter what, that won’t ever change.

Happy birthday, baby girl

Happy birthday, baby girl. Tomorrow, you’re five months old.

I began this blog before you were born. I started writing to help process the emotions and profound sadness I felt when your birth mother refused to agree to the adoption.

I didn’t know how to deal with the sadness, so I started to write.

And now that you are here, crawling around on the floor of the house we bought for you, with your bright toothless smile, I can’t begin to process the feelings of joy and happiness.

I can’t describe the feeling when I come get you in the morning, and you flail your arms and legs with excitement as you laugh uncontrollably. And then, at night, as you fall asleep in my arms, there is a peace and contentment that surpasses words.

I’m using the voice function as I write this, which means I’m speaking these words rather than typing. And as I speak, you’re looking me in the eyes and smiling and laughing at the sound of my voice.

Words fail to describe the feeling of happiness your laughter leaves in my heart. And in your mommy’s heart.

You have brightened our already wonderful lives in every way imaginable.

Daily I marvel at the joy that you brought us with your smile and your presence.

Tomorrow you are five months old, and you are our little girl.