Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dear Jack

My Sweet Jack,

In just a few days you're going to be a brother.  I know you won't remember life before he comes, but I want you to know that these 2 years and 4 months of our little trio has brought me so much joy.  I remember feeling the same nervous excitement in the days leading up to your birth.  How will I know what to do?  How will things change between your dad and me?

Somehow, your dad and I figured out how to be parents.  You taught us.  And things did change between your dad and me.  We grew to love each other so much more because you forever made us a family.  All of a sudden there was this little person in the world that had my eyes and your dad's lips.  Your face was the merging of the two of us.  To this day, when I look at you, I see the best of everything we are.

One of our first family photos
Thank you for showing us how to be parents.  For showing us how to slow down and see how wondrous this world is.  We have loved seeing the world again through your eyes.  I remember when you discovered Lake Michigan for the first time.  It was a sunny summer morning in August in Grand Haven.  The wind was whipping so hard through your hair and you laughed from the deepest part of your soul as all five of your senses magically burst into life.  Cold water rushed up to your calves as you clutched dad's hand.  I remember looking out into the vast lake.  I saw the whitecaps cut against the steely gray water.  I saw seagulls magically take flight against the wind.  I took all of that in and I laughed too.  I laughed from the deepest part of my soul too and together our whole family laughed, all thanks to you.

So here we are on the verge of a brave new world for our family.  Your brother has outgrown his hiding place and he's ready to meet you.  And it is our turn to teach you.  You are the oldest child of two oldest children and if there is one thing that we know how to do, it's how to be older siblings.  It's not always easy having a sibling, but if there is one thing I can promise you, it's that you will be one of the most important people in his life.

You refused to smile for this picture.  Your dad had to hold the sign  in one hand and an Avengers Golden Book in the other and that's what you're looking at smiling. We know the way to your heart.

The next few days will be strange and sometimes scary for all of us, just like the days before you were born.  But this little family can go through anything together.  My wish for you is to remember that day on Lake Michigan.  You holding dad's hand against those strong gusts of wind.  It was a brand new exhilarating experience and as new and scary as it was for you, you found the joy in it.  You will find the joy in this new experience and every single one that follows.  That's the kind of incredible person you are. 

We love you so much Jack.  Thank you for being such a sweet, curious, exuberant little boy.  On the day you were born, the #1 song on the radio was "Firework". That is exactly what you are.  

Brighter than the moon.  

That's my Jack.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

One More Week

Unless little guy has other plans, in one week I will be checking into the hospital to bring this new life into the world.  Yes, that means they are inducing me and I have some mixed feelings about it.  I think every woman hopes that her pregnancy goes off without a hitch and that things progress as naturally as possible.  Nothing about this pregnancy has been smooth sailing, but seeing it come to an end brings so many emotions.  The reason for the induction has to do with the timing of the medication I'm on and not wanting it in my system at the time that I deliver.  Both a doctor and a midwife who I trust at my practice believe it to be the best course of action and promised to be gentle with me.  My body has carried us this far and I trust it to see the baby and me through to the end which is now very close.

So I've been thinking a lot about birth today and all of the changes it will bring to our family.  I wonder how Jack will take the new addition.  But today, God gave me a wink.  Two separate friends on Facebook who don't know each other posted photos of their young sons with captions about how much they love each other.  Those photos, literally taken across the world from each other, have made me so happy thinking about the great gift we're about to give Jack.  Message received. 

A few years ago, I read a book called "Orbiting the Giant Hairball".  The author opens the book with the following passage that has always, always stuck with me.  There are, and have been, so many forces keeping me and this baby safe for 9 months.  I take all of that positive energy with me into the delivery room next week or maybe sooner if this little guy decides he's ready to be born.

Enjoy the story that follows and remember that birth isn't an event that only happens upon our first breath, every day we have the potential to reinvent who we are.

And it's never, ever too late to do something with that canvas.


“Before you were born, God came to you and said:

Hi there! I just dropped by to wish you luck, and to assure you that you and I will be meeting again soon. Before you know it.
You’re heading out on an adventure that will be filled with fascinating experiences. You’ll start out as a tiny speck floating in an infinite dark ocean. Quite saturated with nutrients. So you won't have to go looking for food or a job or anything like that. All you’ll have to do is float in the darkness. And grow incredibly. And change miraculously.
You’ll sprout arms and legs. And hands and feet. And fingers and toes.
As if from nothing your head will take form. Your nose, your mouth, your ears will emerge.
As you continue to grow bigger and bigger, you will become aware that this dark, oceanic environment of yours – which when you were tiny, seemed so vast is now actually cramped and confining. That will lead you to the unavoidable conclusion that you’re going to have to move to a bigger place.
After much groping about in the dark, you will find an exit. The mouth of a tunnel.
“Too small,” you’ll decide. “Couldn’t possibly squeeze through there.”
But there will be no other apparent way out. So with primal spunk, you will take on your first “impossible” challenge and enter the tunnel.
In doing so, you will be embarking on a brutal no-turning back, physically exhausting, claustrophobic passage that will introduce you to pain and fear and hard physical labor. It will seem to take forever, but the mysterious undulations of the tunnel itself will help squirm you through and finally, after what will seem like interminable striving, you will break through to a blinding light.
Giant hands will pull you gently but firmly, into an enormous room. There will be several huge people, called adults, huddling around you, as if to greet you. If it is an old-fashioned place, one of these humongous people may hold you upside down by the legs and give you a swat on the backside to get you going.
All of this will be what the big people on the other side call being born. For you, it will be only the first of your new life’s many exploits.
God continues:
I was wondering, while you’re over there on the other side, would you do me a favor?
“Sure!” you chirp.
Would you take this artist’s canvas with you and paint a masterpiece for me? I’d really appreciate that.
And remember:
If you go to your grave
without painting
your masterpiece,
it will not
get painted.
No one else
can paint it.
Only you.

~Gordon MacKenzie