Tag Archives: Baby

On Your Third Birthday

22 Jul
Photo by C

Super excited about your balloons this past weekend :) Photo by C

Dear Little Man,

Today is a very special day — today is your birthday! Three years ago around this time I was getting hooked up in the hospital room and you were making your presence very well known every four to five minutes. Now, three years later, I’m sitting in my sunny apartment, drinking coffee, writing you this letter and (thankfully) not in desperate need of an epidural.

This is the first birthday I haven’t physically spent with you. I was there when you turned one, and I was there for part of your last actual birthday, but this year your birthday fell on a Monday — so even though I spent this past weekend with you, it feels a little strange not seeing you on this momentous day. Luckily, J solved that strangeness this morning: when I woke up, she’d sent me a video of you asking for me this morning.

“I want Nay Nay,” you said. “I want Nay-Nay to come to Liam’s house.”

Now I know it’s your birthday, but that video was probably the best birthday present I could have ever gotten.

So, on your third birthday, I want you to know something you will eventually get tired of hearing because I have told you (and will continue to tell you) so often: I love you so very much, I couldn’t be prouder of you or happier to be your mom.  The day you were born was the happiest day of my life. Even with the physical pain that preceded your birth or the sadness that followed it when you were placed, that day — July 22, 2010 — was just our day. A day when I only thought of you, no “before” and no “after.” Just you and me and your birth.

When you finally emerged, I remember listening for your cry to know that you were alright and being so relieved when I heard it. When I first held you to my chest, I remember that I counted your fingers and toes to make sure you had ten of each, fascinated by how impossibly small they were. But mostly, I remember seeing you for the first time. I remember when they lifted you up and I finally got to look at you, finally got to see the Little Man I had only felt, only imagined.

It took my breath away.

I was stunned. You were real. You were a person. You existed and I was instantly enamored with you. I have never loved anything so immediately or so fully as I loved you in that moment. It was the kind of moment that writers and poets and literary moguls describe as the moment when time slows down and everything around you just fades away. Everything but that one person that you instantly know you’re in love with. It’s true. I don’t remember what the nurses were saying. I don’t remember what my parents were doing. I don’t remember any of the other noises or sights. I just remember you. I remember seeing you, hearing you and just being…in awe. I was in awe of you — there’s really no other way to describe it. I was in awe but more so, I was in love, and I knew it without really having to know it. It was that instantaneous. It was that pure.

And it’s only grown since then.

I love you more and more with every day, every word, every step, every picture, every video, every visit, every smile, every laugh, every touch, every look. This day three years ago was the most incredible day of my life. Bringing you into this world will forever be the best thing I’ve ever done, followed by placing with with The B’s — the beautiful family that is celebrating you today just as much as I am. They are the family that knows exactly what I mean when I say how completely my love for you overtook me, because the same thing happened to them the first time they saw you. And now, three years later, we’re family. And we play and talk and care and hug and love, tied together at the center that is you. Who knew one little (adorable) blonde boy could create an entire family?

So today we celebrate you. We celebrate your birth. We celebrate that indescribable love we’ve had for you since Day One. And I celebrate that moment at 5:41 PM when I finally got to lay eyes on my beautiful, incredible son. When I finally got to fall in love with the boy instead of just the kicks and the ultrasounds. When I finally got to meet you.

You are my everything, Liam Hudson. Happy Birthday Little Man <3

Seconds after I first laid eyes on you. And so it began... :)

Seconds after I first laid eyes on you. And so it began… :)

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BlogHer and Blog Bling!

19 Jan

Dear Little Man,

We’re sooooo popular. This past Monday, my letter “The ‘F’ Word” was featured on BlogHer! It’s a lovely site full of wonderful women writers — moms, chefs, college students, world travelers, entrepreneurs, poets, artists — all kinds of women with all kinds of interests.

But our letter was an Editor’s Choice and now “The ‘F’ Word” is a Featured Member post! I mega blushed when they told me. So exciting!

It’s a small victory, but hey…we’ll take ’em where we get ’em. Plus they gave me “blog bling” (check it out on the right hand side underneath Little Man’s e-mail address).

Any day where you get bling is a good day.

 

Beef Burgers and First Words

18 Jan

Dear Little Man,

Since it’s Friday — and let’s face it, everyone’s brain is a giant bowl of jelly by Friday — I wanted to write you a short and sweet letter about something fun.

Today, it’s about your first word.

I’m sure your first word was something like “mama” or “dada.” Almost every baby’s first word is one of those two. But the first word I ever heard you say was different from either of those. In all honesty, you probably didn’t mean to say it and I probably heard you wrong. But I found it funny, so I think I’ll keep living in my fantasy world where you really did say it and I really did hear it.

The first word I heard you say was “burger.”

You were a little over eight months old, you were sick and I was playing with you on the floor in between the naps you took in front of the humidifier. You were rolling on the floor (your go-to method when you got tired of crawling), you grabbed red plastic toy that looked like a doughnut and you said, “burger.” I’m sure I heard it. Like, 75-80% sure.

After all, I love burgers. Like true, unconditional, never-ending love. Thanks to my New Year’s resolution, I’m a vegetarian right now. That makes today my 18th day without a burger, and it’s the hardest break-up I think I’ve ever been through. I’m consoling myself with black bean substitutes. And as with any true rebound, they’re great, but not the same. Sigh.

Anyhow, I was proud of that word, and of you for choosing it to be the first one you spoke to me. It was such a special bonding experience. I will forever treasure our special moment and when the day comes…you and I are going out to big, juicy, burger-and-fries dinner, and the black beans can kiss my booty as I go.

Partners in crime forever, right Little Man? ;)

My Son Was Adopted…Now What?

15 Jan

After a baby is adopted, a birth mother doesn’t just go home and pick up where she left off. Everything is different then. Nothing is “normal” anymore. The bed where you slept so comfortably is now the place where you spent your first few minutes of labor. The porch where you like to sit on summer days is now the place where you took all of your maternity pictures. All of your Facebook friends with babies seem like they’re rubbing your face in their motherhood. The sun streaming in through the kitchen windows doesn’t make you smile anymore. Everything feels…off.

That’s how I felt. I felt like I was coming home, but I didn’t belong there anymore. I didn’t fit anymore. Everyone was going about their business but my entire perspective had shifted. My world was different from everybody else’s but I was still expected to live in their world with them. My sense of belonging wasn’t the same. I think that’s because I felt like I belonged with you.

After you went home with The B’s, I made a lot of changes. Not because I planned them, but because I realized I had to. I had to change. I had to do something. Anything to distract myself. Anything to keep moving forward, because if I didn’t, I might get stuck in that sad place forever.

Though I planned to keep living with my parents while I “recovered,” I moved onto campus. Since I lived with them while I was pregnant (my first semester at The University), I had yet to get involved in campus-type stuff. Suddenly I realized that I wanted that college experience (and I do mean suddenly). I decided that I wanted to be the college student that everyone else got to be. So that weekend (yes, that suddenly), I moved out of my parent’s three bedroom, two story house into a single room I shared with one girl and a bathroom that I shared with three.

I became a workaholic. I worked at a restaurant as a server at the time, and I dove into it. I picked up shifts, worked late even if I didn’t have to and went out after my shifts with my co-workers just to make it last longer.

I started running. I ran around campus, and once I discovered the university gym, I ran there. Sometimes, I kept a workout journal to log my miles. Sometimes, I just put on my running shoes and took off and didn’t bother to count.

I joined clubs and went to campus concerts and took up snowboarding (and fell down a lot) and signed up to go to Greece the following summer and declared my major and went on midnight trips to Cookout and basically said ‘yes’ to everything. Except drugs of course. Nancy Reagan need not be ashamed.

You know that saying, “You can sleep when you’re dead”? I took that saying to heart. If I was already in bed and someone called asking me to come out, I got up.

I don’t know if this sounds good or bad, but part of the reason why I became so “do or die” that year was because I figured since I gave you up — since I was going to have to live without you — I might as well live. I was going to live as fully as I could. I owed that to you, but I also owed to to me. I owed it to myself to live a wonderful life.

I hated missing you. It always hurt so bad and since I missed you everyday, I hurt everyday. So whenever I would miss you, I tried to think of how happy you were, growing up with your family. Then, I tried to think about me…I would think about me and how I could be happy too.

For quite a while, I felt guilty for giving you up. I felt like I was being selfish and that if I was less selfish, I would have given everything up to raise you myself. But even then — even thinking that — I still knew I loved you. I loved you so much. And the reason I could never bring myself to give everything up to keep you was because it still wouldn’t have been enough. It wouldn’t have been enough to give you the childhood I had, the life you deserved.

But placing you for adoption didn’t give me “freedom.” It was a sacrifice. It hurt. And while the pain has lessened through the years and through my incredible relationship with The B’s (who I truly owe for taking that pain away), I still miss you. Every day.

But instead of hurting when I miss you, I can smile now.

I can smile because I have updated pictures. I can smile because I can think about how I saw you last weekend. I can smile because I can write to you. I can smile because somehow, missing you gave me new life. You went to a loving family to live a beautiful life and though I felt broken and left behind, I was able to put a new me back together. Someone you can be proud of; Someone who will be able to tell you amazing stories of her Grecian adventures or funny stories about her midnight Cookout runs with her dorm buddies.

And at the end of the day, I want to be able to tell you that all of those stories — of adventure or triumphs or just plain silliness — were thanks to you, and my desire to be someone you take pride in. I’m already proud of you. It’s only fair that it goes both ways :)

Recovery happens. Sadness ends. Time heals. Birth mothers get better and adoptive parents can help them. New life is created…in the form of you and, now, in the form of me. That’s why I have hope. That’s why I have never regretted my decision. Because you are happy — and because of that, so am I. We’re survivors, you and me, and we have our whole lives ahead of us to be incredible. I know you will be. So…now what? :)

Christmas Card Worthy

23 Dec

Christmas Photo Shoot

I took a little photo shoot during our Christmas visit the other day. If I sent out Christmas cards, these are the photos I would choose. I think we’re awfully good looking, don’t you?

I love you, my little partner in crime. There’s nothing quite as fun as being goofy with you :)

A Monumental Occasion in the Bedroom

28 Nov

Dear Little Man,

As a parent, I’ll be the first to admit that your child’s early life is all about milestones. The first words, the first attempts at crawling, the first steps. I was thrilled at all of your firsts, no matter how small or silly: the first time you tried to roll over. The first time you actually rolled over. The first time you called me Nay Nay. The first time I saw you work an iPad without assistance (I’m still wowed by that…)

This week you hit another first, but I find I’m not so thrilled. And if I’m assuming correctly, neither is J.

Here is this week’s milestone:

 

That, my dear son, is a toddler bed. The crib is no more. Bye bye baby crib, hello huge, blue toddler bed.

Or should I say, hello giant-blinking-neon-sign-screaming-Liam’s-Growing-Up! Again, I am always excited at your constant progress towards actual personhood, but this is just sad. How can I call you a baby when you don’t even have a crib anymore?

Oh wait, I know the answer to that one. I’ll call you my baby forever because I’m your mom and I get to do things like that. So HA.

Enjoy your toddler bed because with the frequency that you get up after you’ve been put to bed (and the lack of bars making it more difficult to climb out), I have a feeling you’ll be the only one in your household enjoying that bed.

I love you. Stop growing up.

-Mama Nay Nay

Dirt for Dinner?

26 Nov

Dear Little Man,

I hope you had a wonderful holiday! This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, and on that lovely holiday I reminisced on how thankful I was for you. Your existence was and always will be my own little miracle. Though I’m thankful for you every day I was reallllly thankful this past Friday because I got to see you!

You and The B’s came down to The Boyfriend’s farm in North Carolina and our families spent the day together. There was a tractor so you were all set for most of the visit, but I was able to tear you away to play catch with one of the dogs when you first got there. You actually spent most of the day with Pop Pop, and if you weren’t with him, you were asking for him. He was definitely the favorite on this trip. You wanted him around for everything. It was actually pretty adorable.

However, during the few minutes I was able to get you off the tractor, The Boyfriend and I took you to play in some dirt flats out by their driveway. You had a ball — you were picking up the dirt and watching it sift through your fingers, totally fascinated by how it felt, your little face screwed up in concentration as you tried to figure out why you couldn’t keep a hold of it. It was one of those “little kid moments” that adults witness and it makes them pause for a minute. And as we watch how filled with wonder our children are at the small things in life, we smile and realize how the small things really are what matter the most sometimes and how the world is filled with magic in places that we’ve forgotten to look as we’ve aged. I was having one of those moments as I wanted you dig your little hands into the dirt.

And then you ate it.

The magic was pretty much gone after that, but it was replaced by laughter and a familiar fondness that I’ve always had for your adorable quirks. You seemed pretty surprised that the dirt tasted bad…or maybe it tasted great and it was just the texture that threw you off. Either way, you made one of your ever entertaining funny faces and The Boyfriend helped you get the dirt out of your mouth.

I fed you some ham later. You had a better reaction to eating that.

But I just wanted to remind you that I am always, always, always thankful for you and your existence. You are the smile on my face and the warmth in my heart and I am thankful every day that I get to write letters to someone I love as much as you.

xoxoxo

The One with the Lucky Baby

19 Nov

Dear Little Man,

One of my favorite TV shows when I was growing up (and now) is called Friends. Recently I got my hands on the DVD seasons (it ended in 2004) and I’m re-watching them all. It’s a funny sitcom-type show about six friends (three boys, three girls) who go through all of their ups and downs together, but no matter what, they are always there for one another.

Now — following that description — it is a sweet show with some truly tender, genuine moments…but mostly it’s just really, really funny. It will probably be way outdated by the time you’re old enough to appreciate it (or old enough to be allowed to watch it) but I think you should check it out at some point. If you turn out to be anything like me, you’ll certainly relate to the humor :)

Now in the first season of Friends, there’s a weird dynamic between Ross (one of the main characters) and his ex-wife Carol. As it turns out, Carol’s romantic interests were not…how should I put this…male-oriented. However, before Carol discovered this, she and Ross created a baby boy. By the time the baby was born, Carol was with her new life partner, Susan.

But Susan and Ross didn’t get along so well, especially when it came to the baby. Ross was technically the father, but Susan wanted the baby to recognize her as a parent as well. She and Ross would argue all the time about who would get to see the baby more and hold the baby more and love the baby more. Finally, at the hospital on the day that the baby was born, Ross’s friend Phoebe was listening to Ross and Susan fight over this little guy, when Phoebe said this:

“When I was growing up, my dad left and my mother died and my stepfather went to jail, so I barely had enough pieces of parents to make one whole one. But here’s this little baby who has three whole parents who care about it so much, they’re fighting over who gets to love it the most, and it’s not even born yet. It’s the luckiest baby in the whole world.”

That quote had me riveted. Of course, years ago when I first saw this episode it didn’t mean much to me, but now that I’m older…and now that I have you…I have a new appreciation for what Phoebe said. While no one has ever fought over who gets to love you the most — I think The B’s and I (along with my family and friends) share that job incredibly well — I hope that one day, you feel like the luckiest kid in the world. The baby in Friends (who they ended up naming Ben, by the way) had the love of three parents. But you have four — two moms, two dads, not to mention four sets of grandparents, and I don’t even want to go into how many aunts, uncles and cousins you have.

But I can tell you right now that, just like Baby Ben, we were all madly in love with you before you were even born. And our love grows as you do…it just keeps getting bigger and bigger every single day.

 

Little Man and Michael Jackson

15 Nov

When J and I first met, we clicked on a lot of things:

– We both love Jane Austen and LOVE the movie Pride and Prejudice (yes, we’re girls. Indulge us.)

– We both use Jergens Healthy Glow tanning lotion in the summer because J burns and I just like to tell people I spent the summer in Aruba or somewhere exotic

–  We were both pregnancy book nerds — she read What To Expect When You’re Expecting from cover to cover when she was carrying Sports Man, and I hit Barnes and Noble less than a week after I found out about you.

However, one of the other things we discovered we had in common was dance. I played tons of sports in elementary school, but once I got older (and got braces…and terrified Pop Pop by getting hit in the mouth one too many times…), I took up modern dance and ballet instead. I danced all through middle school into high school and once I hit college I took up ballroom dancing and a teeeeny bit of contra dancing. I was never quite as flexible as I wanted to be, but oh it was fun! It was nice to find out that J and I shared such a passion.

But do you know what’s better than finding out we shared that passion? Discovering that we both passed that passion to youAnd thanks to J’s lighting fast iPhone filming skills, we have proof that you will probably hate us for in 10-12 or so years. And may I just say, you have incredible, prodigious skill. It’s overwhelming. You even pose like Michael Jackson. Next time we’ll get you gloves and you can do the moon dance.

But for now, it’s just another thing that J and I can commiserate over :) P.S. — The thing you do with your legs at the end is my favorite.

Adoption is Everywhere

13 Nov

Dear Little Man,

I’m going to share a secret of mine with you. That secret is that I dream about being pregnant again someday.

In my actual dreams, I’m generally terrified of pregnancy and, in dream world, I find myself thinking, “I’m pregnant again? Oh my, I wonder if The B’s will raise this one for me, like they did Liam…” So, so, so weird. I’m generally thrilled to wake up and realize it was a dream because I has such a difficult time going through with placing you…I’m not sure I could do it again.

But during my waking hours, sometimes I think about having a baby when I’m ready for one. I love you so very much…in that “beyond words” kind of way…and I hope to be able to someday have a little half-brother or -sister for you to meet, that I can love just as much. I never thought I wanted kids, but once I discovered I was carrying you, I realized that I wanted nothing more than to be the best mother I possibly could. Hopefully I will be able to be that mother someday. Hopefully you think I am that mother today.

Yesterday evening, Miss Manhattan (one of your many aunts, a fellow blogger with a wonderful site, and one of my oldest friends) sent me a link to a blog called Arielle Elise. This blog is mostly (beautiful!) photography, but this particular post was about a couple going through an adoption in Uganda.

In my many talks/discussions/speeches given at Bethany functions, I have heard a few stories of international adoption, though most of the ones I’ve heard have been from Asia. Though I don’t know much about international adoption (I am studying it!), I still love that adoption spreads its influence so widely. The love that adoption encompasses can span oceans…how beautiful is that?

The couple featured in the Arielle Elise post are twenty-somethings, married for 5+ years and in the process of adopting their own Little Man from Africa. Their photos are all about them and love and how love creates family (oh how I can attest to that!) Their blog, This Beautiful Truth, follows an incredible, emotional journey through adoption and their daily lives. Like one of my favorite bloggers, Infertility Awakening, these journeys fascinate me. People who have the hearts and souls for adoption never fail to astound me with their openness and their love. I always find them to be very brave, courageous people who have decided to open their hearts and look on the bright side of life…just like The B’s!

I love sharing stories of people like this, mostly because I feel that somehow, we’re all connected through this adoption experience. Birth mothers, adoptive families, adopted children…though we’re all different a spread far and wide, I somehow feel like we’re all connected at the core. I get to share our story and other couples and birth mothers get to share theirs and together, we form this network, this collaboration of people who want nothing more than to love their children and families as much as humanly possible.

And I understand. Though I am the birth mother rather than the adoptive mother, I think I get it, or part of it at least. I understand that longing to be a mother, to create a family, to want to share your love with a child you have the privilege of calling your own. Though I certainly can’t empathize with the frustrating, upsetting, sometimes devastating effects of infertility, I think I realize the desire that drives it. The desire to hear someone call you “mom.” It sounds like a small thing, but it means something so much bigger to so many people.

And that’s why I still have my dream. My dream of being “mom.” That’s why. someday, I’d like to give you those half-sibling(s) that call me “mother.” It’s a small thing, but that tiny act of love can fill a heart to the point of bursting. I would know. That’s what I feel every time you call me “Nay-Nay.” It may not be “mom” outright, but I cherish it as though it were. Because though you may not call me your mother, I will forever call you my son and I will be proud. That’s just how love works.

So enjoy this tiny piece of your expansive network, Little Man. I hope you enjoy reading the stories of this family as much as I enjoy telling the stories of my own little boy, my shining star, my bright light at the end of all of my dark tunnels.

That would be YOU, in case you were wondering ;)

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