Tag Archives: Love

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 Baby for Christmas

22 Dec

Sitting in the doctor’s office that chilly, December afternoon, all I was thinking about was how pretty the decorations were. There were four or five trees in this one waiting room alone, and they were each adorned with sparkly lights and their own theme. One had a pinecone theme. Another was covered with the pink breast cancer ribbon. They were very festive, which fit with my happy, holiday mood.

This was my second visit to this OB-GYN office. I had been referred there by my regular doctor when a certain Monthly Event stopped showing up, despite the fact that I had been taking…ahem…preventative measures.

Now I’m nobody’s fool (although I do a strikingly good impression of it sometimes). This first month I went without this particular “Monthly Event,” I noticed. And when I say, “I noticed” I mean by day two of the no-show, I was going to the bathroom 20 times a day, hoping (wishing, praying, hoping some more) that it had finally shown up.

It hadn’t.

After waiting another 24 hours (still nothing), I couldn’t take it any longer. My stress level was too high and my patience was naturally on the thin side. I took an at-home pregnancy test. It came back negative. My stress level went back down.

Those results were further confirmed by my first trip to the OB-GYN. After performing an internal ultrasound (which is almost as comfortable as taking a ball point pen and shoving it up your nose as far as it will go), even the doctors didn’t find anything out of the ordinary. The words “endomentrial thickening” were thrown around, but they assured me that that probably meant my Monthly Event was on it’s way. My jittery nerved had been calm ever since then.

So on this second, follow-up visit to the OB-GYN — about one month after my last visit, and a full month and a half after that negative pregnancy test — I was not expecting anything surprising or out of the ordinary. Grandma M had come with me on her lunch break. I figured we’d go in, they’d run a few tests, throw some more medical jargon at me, and I’d be on my way. Maybe Grandma M and I would have time to have a quick lunch before she went back to work.

Eventually, they called my name and I went into the back. When we reached the ultrasound room, Grandma M stayed outside (it’s not something you want to witness, trust me) and I went in and got situated on the chair next to the ultrasound machine. The nurse performing the procedure angled the computer screen toward her (away from me) and began talking to me about holiday plans. We chatted happily about family, holiday traffic, Christmas presents, and other seasonally related things.

Then she asked me this: “So when did you take your last positive pregnancy test?”

Having had it confirmed twice that I was not pregnant, I let the “positive” keyword slip by. “Towards the beginning of November,” I answered, nonplussed. We began talking about how I was starting at a new university in January, while she pressed buttons, clicked the mouse and took still-shots of a screen I couldn’t see.

The next part went by in a blur. I’m constantly amazed that my entire life absolutely changed in less that 30 seconds. That’s all it took. It was one of those moments in life that happens in a flash and in slow motion at the same time. It went like this:

The nurse smiled and exclaimed, “Alright! Everything looks good. The heartbeat is strong.”

Heartbeat…heartbeat…heartbeat??? “Um, what?” I was totally confused. What had a heartbeat?

Next thing I knew, she was turning the screen toward me. “Would you like to see?” she asked me.

And then I saw this*:

Eleven Weeks of Liam

It was you.

“What is that?” My heart rate sped up. I swear I could hear it accelerating.

“That’s your baby,” the nurse said, still smiling, but the first signs of confusion were visible in the creases of her forehead.

Silence. It was palpable. I didn’t know this until afterwards, but Grandma M (who had been listening to our chatter through the door, though she hadn’t been able to make out anything that was being said) thought the immediately discernible silence meant that they had found a symptom of ovarian cancer.

“I’m…pregnant? I’m pregnant?” I was frozen with shock. A tingly feeling was starting in the tips of my fingers and toes and was spreading steadily inward, and frozen though I felt, I realized I was shaking.

That poor nurse — she must have apologized to me a dozen times for “revealing” my pregnancy that way…she had no idea that I hadn’t known, and felt terrible that she had sprung it on me like that. I think I told her not to worry about it. By that point, I was so deeply in shock that I don’t remember what I said. But I remember that I told her I wanted to tell my mom. I remember that she printed off the still-shots she had taken of you (and labeled “baby,” you know, just in case anyone forgot) and said she would lead me to a private room so I could tell my mother.

I didn’t actually, verbally tell Grandma M. I just showed her your picture. She — overjoyed that I didn’t have ovarian cancer — wrapped me in a big, tight hug. And then I hyperventilated.

——————————-

After reading about how shocked I was, I know this may be hard to believe, but I loved you from the second I saw my little black-and-white tadpole-baby and it’s tiny heartbeat. Oh, your heartbeat was the best. Hearing it became my favorite part of my OB-GYN visits later on. But I remember that day, December 22, 2009, I saw your heartbeat and I was amazed. I had helped to create life. I was no longer just me, I was me and someone else. I was going to have a baby. Better yet, I was going to have you.

No other Christmas present will ever top that one :)

————————

*This is Little Man at 11 weeks, not the 8 weeks he was when I discovered him that day. His first ultrasound pictures had a fight with the scanner. They’re no longer on speaking terms.

The No-pocalypse

21 Dec

Dear Little Man,

As I’m sure you’ll hear many years from now, the world was set to end (for the hundredth time) on December 21, 2012. That’s today. I haven’t perished yet, as far as I can tell.

J and I planned out Christmas get-together last week and without really thinking, we said, “Hey, Friday works for me!” not remembering that “Friday” happened to be the end-all-be-all of world happenings.

 

Here is why I don’t accept the December 21st apocalypse theory (a.k.a The No-pocalypse):

– I haven’t graduated college yet. I’m set to graduate in May. I want recognition for all of the gray hairs I’ve earned in the past four years. The world cannot end until I graduate.

– I already bought Christmas presents with what little money I have. I did not buy presents with the anticipation that they would incinerate before they could reach their recipients.

– You can’t rent a car until you’re 25. For some reason, I’ve always wanted to achieve that milestone.

– I want you to be old enough to understand your circumstances: all about your adoption, how it came about, everything since then and everything in between :)

– I want you to be old enough to hug me because you wanted to, and not because I chased you down.

– I want to be a grandma someday. Not for 25+ years mind you, but still.

– I STILL haven’t found out who Ted’s wife is.

– I want to know how mortgages work before I die.

– Actually, maybe I don’t.

– I have never been to see the circus. Neither have you. Go together?

– I’ve always wanted to plan one of those super cute, kid birthday parties that you see on super-mom blogs and Pinterest. You know, the ones with the incredible handmade decorations, adorable cupcake toppers, cute gift bags, etc. In other words, I want to plan a party like J can.

– I’ve never read The Lord of the Rings series. The Boyfriend has informed me that this is unacceptable and possible grounds for a break-up. But I went to see The Hobbit with him earlier this week, so I think we’re still solid.

– I want to see what you’ll look like in a year. And in five years. And ten years. And twenty.

– I want to watch you graduate!

– I want to see if Sports Man grows up to work for ESPN someday. I’m putting money on that.

– J’s craft shop Out On A Limb is just getting started, and is WAY to cute to go up in flames today.

– Because Grandma M, Pop-Pop and I still haven’t decorated our Christmas tree yet.

– The Boyfriend is in a far away land called Cleveland, or The Part of Ohio Where the Browns Are. I’d at least like to give him a good-bye kiss.

– I want you to fall asleep on me like you did when you were a baby, just one more time. It’s the sweetest thing ever.

– I want to provide you with a half-sibling (or two) someday :)

– Because watching you grow is way too much fun to stop now.

 

But here’s the really good news about today. Whether it’s the end of the world or not, I get to spend it with you :)

And no matter what day it is — universally significant or not — there’s no place I’d rather be than with you and the rest of my lovely (extended) family!

Happy No-pocalypse Day!

Beauty in the Breakdown

18 Dec

Dear Little Man,

One thing that you will someday learn — as unfortunate as that may be — is that news of a tragedy spreads like wildfire. With today’s social media craze, it takes milliseconds to share news of any kind. I heard about a recent tragedy around midday last Friday, December 14th. I logged onto Facebook for fun, read a few vague but concerning posts and gathered enough info to learn that it had been a school shooting. A quick Google search told me the rest. Shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. Twenty-six dead, twenty of them children. All of those children were younger than Sports Man is now.

And then, I did what every other parent in the country did: I thought of my own child.  The light of my life, the sunshine in my heart, the force behind my continued existence. I thought of you, Liam. Without you, I would have nothing. That’s the magic (and the terror) behind having kids…you’ve lived your entire life without them and as soon as you have one, you’re not sure how you ever functioned before they were around.

There is a quote that I thought of in the aftermath of that sad, sad day. It goes like this:

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

Right now, there are 20 sets of parents in Connecticut who have lost their hearts, and the hearts of people around the world break for them. I know mine did. My heart broke for those poor parents because I thought of you, and I wondered how in the world I could be expected to go on living if you couldn’t. In all of the details and press releases I’ve read about the children who died, it’s been mostly aunts or uncles or grandparents who comment. I can’t help but think that’s because the parents just don’t have the words yet. How could they? It can’t seem possible yet.

All of those Connecticut parents — or any parent who has survived the loss of a child — is a miraculous sort of hero to me. I imagine that they possess a type of strength that is simply indescribable in its vastness and its depth.  It must be, to be able to survive something like that.

Without you, my beautiful boy, I would disintegrate, and nothing would console me. Everyone always says, “Our hearts go out to the victims,” but what does that even mean? In all honesty, it probably doesn’t mean much at this point. Those 20 sets of parents, that entire town is so enveloped in grief, it must be hard to see outside of it. But now I know what it means, because if I could give part of my heart to another mother who has lost her own, I would. I wish I could.

But you are my heart. You are walking around outside my body and it has never been scarier than it is right now. I have never imagined losing you and suddenly, that fear is not only haunting my nightmares, but my news-feed as well. That Friday, I read about those poor children and the teachers who died to protect them, and I cried. Being separated from you hadn’t hurt that much since the first few months after you were born. For the first time in a long time, I hated that you were two hours away. It usually seems so short but last Friday, it felt like too much distance to bear.

So I texted J. I texted her and I told her to give you extra kisses and hugs from me, from your Nay-Nay. And then she sent me this:

Sleeping Baby

You were sleeping peacefully in your car seat, tired after a morning of Christmas shopping. I have never been so grateful to see a picture of you. I just needed to see you, to look at your face, and somehow, J knew that. I ended up telling her about the Connecticut tragedy shortly after (she hadn’t heard yet). I have no doubt that her heart was heavy with prayers as she sent Sports Man off to school yesterday morning.

Not truly being able to “raise” you, I’ve never thought of myself as the “traditional parent,” though I certainly think of myself as a mother. But this past Friday, I joined the ranks of parents all over the world, as our thoughts immediately went to our sons and daughters, no matter their age. Last Friday, we cried for our own children, along with the 20 that were lost that day…their light, love and potential taken so much sooner than it should have been.

I know I’ve said it a million times, but I’m going to say it a billion more, including now: I love you, Liam Hudson. I love you with my whole heart, with my whole soul, with everything I have. Your life will forever mean more to me than my own. I could not be more grateful for your existence or for the wonderful family you that surrounds you.

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living,
My baby you’ll be.”

Thanksgiving and Morning Sickness

29 Nov

Dear Little Man,

Thanksgiving was last week, but for the past three thanksgivings I enjoy my turkey, stuffing and apple pie with a little bit of reminiscence on Thanksgiving 2009.

I was in Alabama that year visiting my sister, your Aunt B. We always went to her place for Thanksgiving back then. She has two girls — my nieces — and I would hang out with them and relax as much as I could. We’d all spend the holidays sleeping in, reading books, watching movies, and occasionally walking to the local coffee shop for a caffeine jolt. Mostly, it was just enjoyable because we got to visit family and your Aunt B and her girls are as close as I get to family biologically.

On Thanksgiving Thursday 2009, we had finished our meal around mid-afternoon. It was delicious as always and we had spent the rest of the evening recovering from the food binge. However, it was nighttime now and we were all settling in to watch the Polar Express (one of my FAVORITE Christmas movies. I will make you watch it someday). I had worked up enough of an appetite to go in for seconds before we all settled in to turn on the TV. I got some leftovers out of the fridge, scooped them on to a plate and put them in the microwave to heat up.

I distinctly remember pulling myself up to sit on the counter as I waited for my food. As it heated, the smell of our Thanksgiving dinner filled the kitchen and inevitably reached my nose.

I thought I was going to vomit right there on the kitchen floor.

I pushed off the counter and headed for the bathroom that was just around the corner from the kitchen, if not to throw up then to get away from the smell at least. My first thought was that apparently, I wasn’t as hungry as I thought. I must have still been full from dinner because mere hours earlier, that same smell had smelt heavenly.

But the nausea didn’t let up. For the rest of the trip, the smell of food grossed me out. I think I ate a little more turkey, but I didn’t heat anything up in the microwave anymore. I distinctly remember talking to Grandma M about it. I remember telling her how it was so weird how all of a sudden, I just couldn’t stand the smell of food.

A little less than a month later after a particularly life changing doctor’s appointment, everything made sense. After I found out about you (and recovered from the shock of it) I thought back to those microwaved leftovers and practically felt the light bulb clicking on in my head. It was one of those “ah-ha” moments that you never really forget.

And I haven’t forgotten it. One year later, I was spending Thanksgiving 2010 with my four-month-old and The B’s at their house in NC (and my definition of “visiting family” had extended quite a bit!). Last year, The B’s came down the weekend after Thanksgiving and we went to see gingerbread houses together. And this Thanksgiving, of course, you spent with me, my family and The B’s at The Boyfriend’s (totally gorgeous) farm house. It seems to be quite the holiday for you and me :)

And even though I think about you every single day, I always think about that “first” Thanksgiving with you when the end of November rolls around.

Especially when I’m getting leftovers and I realize that this time, I can actually eat them.

Thanksgiving 2010. The first one we spent together when you were on the outside of my body and not preventing me from getting leftovers ;)

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.

 

Mama, Her iPhone and Her Man

16 Nov

Yesterday, I finally got an iPhone! We’ll probably be on the iPhone 18 or 19 by the time you’re old enough to own a cell phone, but as of right now, I’m super pumped.

But more importantly, I just wanted you to see my background photo:

Or more clearly…

My handsome man!  It’s a wonderful photo to see on a daily basis, don’t you think? :)

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.

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