One Year Old Hands

Your formerly tiny, balled up hands are different now
Flatter, fatter, moveable, still soft on my cheeks
They explore every surface and texture you touch
Patting and wiggling all day long
Your baby paws dig into the dirt as we put plants in the ground,
Leaving lines of black under your fingernails.
Grasping at strawberries and cheese for your lunch,
Carefully placing them each into your wide-open mouth
With curled up corners and a giggle in the air.
They softly pat my chest as you nurse and find the biggest mole you can pinch
Eyes drifting off into sleep, or at least stillness and rest.
Much needed rest.
Your hands are bigger now, and they do big things
Like pull you up on the furniture as you cruise, lightning fast towards your friends
They learn gentleness to pet the dog, and high fives to greet.
You grasp my fingers when you walk, and stop if I let one go.
As Daddy pulls you in the wagon, you reach your hand out for mine
And we walk, hand in hand, tiny and true and trusting.
I love your tiny hands, willing to open and clap, to be kissed and to hold.
You have your daddy’s fingers.
They are the most natural thing I have ever held in my hands
Like they were always meant to be right there
All this time

-Gillian

3-13-2017, A Lesson about Giving Grace (to myself)

Days can be full of the most mundane things. More often than not, we let the mundane become our focus and lose focus on the extraordinary things that exist around us. For example, doing laundry = mundane. Allowing your baby son to destroy your perfectly sorted laundry pile = extraordinary.

Why is that extraordinary? Because it breaks up the mundane. We need both. If we didn’t have the mundane we wouldn’t know about the extraordinary. But if we lose sight of the extraordinary, we will never find lessons in the mundane.

I think Gillian shares that so beautifully below. Grace can be found in both the mundane and the extraordinary. But we need to open our hearts to both so that we can find it.

3-13-2017

The to-do list is long and the done list feels very short.

I reflect on my day and wonder how late I can stay up…
…to switch the laundry (but the shirts in the dryer are wrinkly again)
…and fold the towels
…I should pump and study.
…Help jumpstart tomorrow. Prep lunch. Make coffee.

I think about all of these things and about how much I stressed today,
and how I didn’t just take a deep breath and find joy in the moment,
and how much I fretted about being too tired and was too impatient,
and how often I cursed the time change.

I think about how my day needed a little bit more love and grace,
because I think when I talk to Jesus about my day, he doesn’t see my to-do list,
He sees my done list, but it looks very different from my own.

He sees how I loved my child and gently washed his hands after each meal.
He sees how we clapped hands a million times today,
and that we laid down and took a nap together.
He sees that I called my friend just to see if she was okay,
and spent a little extra time listening to a new game invented by a most creative 8-year-old.

So maybe my lesson for today isn’t what I did or didn’t do,
(yes, maybe I looked away too long when Simon spilled coffee on the carpet)
but that I tried to love today – that’s the takeaway.
I hope tomorrow I can give a lot more grace to myself and just as many kisses to Simon.

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Simon’s Thoughts

After all of that, I sat down to process. I ended up with a poem that brings me joy every time I read it. It may not end up in the anthology of the world’s greatest poems, but if I were to compile a collection of my own, this one would certainly be included.

I like to think of myself as an aspiring poet. Although, ‘aspiring’ is a bold word but I certainly would never claim that I am a poet. Perhaps, it is more accurate to say that every so often I write down words that may pass as a poem if you stand on one foot, close your left eye and look at the text from an angle.

A couple of months ago I was throwing Simon up in the air and finding great joy in the way he laughed. It caused me pause. I wondered what he was thinking and feeling in those moments. Did he know just how much I loved him and how much I loved being with him in that moment? Was he enjoying my presence as much as I was enjoying his?

I gather from other parents that these questions are common for our kind. I suppose we all ask them in our own way.

After all of that, I sat down to process. I ended up with a poem that brings me joy every time I read it. It may not end up in the anthology of the world’s greatest poems, but if I were to compile a collection of my own, this one would certainly be included.

Simon’s Thoughts

Peek-a-boo just one more time!
I’m still learning how to smile!

Where’d you go mom?
There you are! Giggling away.

Lift me up! I want to fly!
Daddy don’t put me down!

I love to fly high toward the sky!

I love how you catch me
before I hit the ground.

At nighttime when I miss you
I snuggle in your breast.

I love to hear your heart beating
As I fall asleep nestled in your chest.

When I wake up in the morning
I love to find you looking back at me.

I like to smile big and bright
To welcome in all the sunlight.

I like to stretch and reach out for you.

Now throw me up! It’s the morning time!
We have some playing to do!

-Christian

 

 

 

 

10-10-2016, Goodnight Simon. I love you my son.

Oh my gosh, Simon. One of my favorite moments of ours just happened. It’s late at night, 11:41 p.m. to be exact. I just turned in an assignment for school. You woke up. You don’t typically cry, just gripe and grumble through sleepiness. I could hear your dad shushing you through the baby monitor. Ha! I went back there and your eyes were open and you were excited to see me!

You kicked your legs and flailed your little arms in your fleece polar bear pajamas. I’m so glad you sleep in our room. I don’t even mind getting up with you. You’re amazing.

Anyway, you grumbled through your diaper change but I got you to smile a few times once your eyes peeked open. You made a bob-bob-bob sound, seeming to say mom, please come on and feed me I’m so hungry!

As I nurse you, sometimes you pull off, lean back and smile. Wow, does that melt my heart. You show me your sleepy, toothless grin and laugh. I can’t help but laugh out loud too. You go back to eating, but I’m still laughing, so you do it again. And again. And I can’t stop laughing!!

And we are just staring at each other laughing. I see it in your face, a sparkle of myself. I see your personality and your light shine through. I feel our bond grow before my eyes.

Now you’re asleep again. Nestled right across my whole body, your head bobbing every now and then and milk trickling out of your mouth.

I’m not in a hurry to get to bed. This peace is the perfect rest. I’ll nod in and out of sleep; finally let the pillow drop from my lap and place you into bed. Your pack and play next to me. Until about 5-5:30 when our tiredness is too much, and I’ve already gotten up 2-3 times, so I’ll remove all the pillows from bed and place you in the middle.

Goodnight Simon. I love you my son.

-Gillian

7-7-16

I sit here and rock
Calf pulsing us forward and back
In the squeaky glider of my smaller days
And hold him balanced perfectly in one hand
No, one whole arm
because my how he’s grown
My two month old joy
But today, he is in pain
The vaccines that keep him safe
But cause the temporary agony.
I face the new pain that parents learn
My tears with his tears
My sobs echo his
I learn as he stills himself
There is nothing I can do for the pain he is in
I love him with my voice, my rocks, my touch
I don’t put him down
I offer the breast
Play his favorite tunes
(So I think)
But all I can do
Is be present with his pain
I can’t fix it
So that frustration can stop there
All I do I rock
And listen
As my friend would on the phone
To his new cries and wet eyes
The whines and wails
Only temporary

Presence.
Patience.
The pain–Our pain–feels different now.

Together, we’ll walk through it.

-Gillian