Back To The Beginning

Our first glimpse of our firstborn

Our first glimpse of our firstborn

I counted down to the moment of our 20-week ultrasound with so much trepidation and excitement. I wanted nothing more than to see our baby and know that everything was okay. But I also wanted my husband to be able to see him/her, too. I knew it would help him feel like he was more a part of what was to come. 

The road to that grainy snapshot of our firstborn was not an easy one to travel. Or at least it didn't look the way we thought it would. It was much longer than we had imagined, and it was scary with all its unexpected interventions. Still, we knew we were among the lucky ones. 

Each symptom and change to my physical body took me on a wild ride from elation (that I was having symptoms) to terror (that something might be wrong). I had to use a lot of self-restraint to avoid calling my midwife every time I felt a twinge, and many times I called her anyway. I peppered her with questions when I did see her, and I scoured the internet between appointments — I don't know what I would have done without the pregnancy boards I found online. 

Lately, I've been trying to reach a goal of organizing all the photos and other sentimental scraps I've been collecting since the beginning of our story. There are bins of loose photos and papers tucked into different hiding spots in our home. These beautiful reminders have followed us to five different houses, and I want them to be carefully preserved.

Last week, I found this photo of the guy who held me up through all my worries (never getting frustrated with any of them), and I cried. I felt all those emotions again, and it reminded me about something he wrote to our baby-to-be. I had been writing in a journal once a week throughout the pregnancy, and sometimes he would surprise me by leaving a note there. 

It has been a few days since we saw you for the first time. It has taken some time for me to fully take in those beautiful, grainy black-and-white images. The first thing I saw were your tiny little legs kicking and then your fingers dancing and reaching across your perfect, little face. My eyes couldn't leave the screen, as the technician scanned quickly back and forth taking her measurements of your petite frame. It was such a relief and such a wonder. I still can't believe you're in there. Part of me thinks you're just going to show up at our front door; a package brought by the stork! Now that I have seen you, I can't wait to hold you. I love you, baby. 

We didn't know we were having a daughter. We wanted to be surprised. But so much about what he wrote that day is a perfect description of who she is, and I must have read it at least 10 times while I cried some more. Those days were magical and they changed us in so many ways. We often joke with each other about the ageing and worrying that comes with parenting, but there is nothing we would change about the gifts we've been given. We are always grateful. 

When I was asked to contribute to a pregnancy by the week feature for Today's Parent magazine, it was such a wonderful chance to experience those early days again. I contributed weeks four to 10, which are often the ones that bring a lot of worry. But, parents-to-be, those days bring a lot of wonder, too.

You can explore the newly launched feature here: Pregnancy By Week

 

#BESTFRIENDS

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The other day there was some kind of #bestfriend day sweeping across social media, and I knew it would be hard for you. When you're 13, friends are complicated. 

Navigating these days and experiences with you has reminded me of my own feelings of wanting to belong and the sting of feeling like I didn't. I don't want you to go through those disappointments, and I wish I could make them go away. But I know it won't help you—it's an important part of learning about yourself and others.

I want to tell you this instead. 

Your friendships shouldn't be represented by a hashtag.

And I was proud of how you handled it.

That even as you felt excluded, you made a choice to be inclusive. 

So while I can't protect you, I can remind you: your most meaningful friendships will be found in the people who sit beside you when it's good and when it's hard.

Those relationships will not feel like work; they will feel as easy as breathing.

And they will fill you like a breath, too.

I know it's going to be hard to figure this out on your own, and I know it will hurt to be let down. 

But turn your heart to the moments and the people who lift you up. 

And then multiply those moments by one million and send them back into the universe. 

There will always be someone ready to catch one. 

There will always be someone who needs to catch one.

Look for those people.

They're looking for you, too. 

#lovemom

 

 

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Flight Of The Tooth Fairy

She came into our room early in the morning and stood at the end of our bed—something our firstborn hasn't done in years.

From the time she first slept through the night, she stopped coming to our room in search of comfort.

She still looks for it through the day, maybe in the car or when we steal a rare moment alone on an errand. But the night has long been hers to conquer, and she has always done well with the solitude. 

She didn't come, she said quietly.

And I knew that she knew that I knew that she knew. 

Peacock

The day before, she gathered the courage to visit the dentist and have two teeth extracted—to prepare for impending braces. At 12, she is on the cusp of her teen years, and a metal smile will be part of that passage.

She doesn't like any gore and still squeezes her eyes shut during the scary or sad parts of a movie.

It was a big deal for her to sit and endure something that scared her so much. But she did it because she's ready to move on to the next step; to grow up a bit more. 

When the tooth fairy forgot to swoop in while she slept and take those trophies from her—the last two teeth of childhood—she wanted to know what it meant.

When I say she knew that I knew, it's because I could see it on her face. I could see that she no longer believed, that she knew the truth, that she wasn't surprised.

What she wanted to know is whether we had come to the part of the story when we let that fairy take flight.

And if we had come to the end of the story, what else would come to an end too?

We looked at one another quietly for a moment, and then she turned and left the room before I could say anything, though she seemed neither happy or sad.

Later, I snuck into her room and let my eyes travel across all her treasures—a mix of childhood and tweenhood spread from corner to corner. I found a place to leave a crumpled bill, where she might not have noticed if she had been in a hurry.

Maybe this way, it would be up to her to decide whether we held onto magic a little while longer. 

Two days later, when I went back in to gather the sheets from her bed, I saw the money was gone. And a quick sweep of the room, told me she had found it and tucked it away for safe keeping.

As I turned to leave, I heard something fall to the floor, and I watched a tiny container with remnants of her childhood, as it rolled away from me.

She had left it there, under her pillow, even after she found the money. 

I felt the wings of that fairy flutter inside my chest, before I quietly let her go. 

I was wrong when I thought I was letting her decide.

She knew it was up to me all along. 

 

 

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