Morning Chores

Morning Chores

Fiona does chores, feeds chickens and collects eggs

It was 10 minutes before I had to be out the door for work. The baby had been up several times throughout the night (teething) and I was tired. Husband had made me a cup of tea and a breakfast sandwich to go. Since I was ready early (solely because I didn’t have enough time to shower), I thought I might indulge in eating at home instead of on the run.

“Why don’t you take Fiona out to feed this morning?” Husband prodded.

(I used to do all the feedings of our animals. But when I was pregnant, I had severe nausea and fatigue and struggled to make it into work each day, so Husband took over. His work day is more flexible than mine anyway. When I went back to work after my maternity leave, I was the one juggling Fiona’s drop-off each morning, so while I hurried out the door with more bags than I could count (laptop bag, purse, lunch, bottle bag with empty bottles for me, bottle bag with full bottles for her, diaper bag, etc.), Husband continued to feed.)

When he suggested I feed this morning, my first thought was “you’ve got to be kidding me”. Read more

Mama

Mama

It is, perhaps, the sweetest word I have heard in my entire life. Not the “Mama” spoken by Husband, or Nana or Grandma or even myself. That has been uttered for months now. Nine of them. Longer, if you include my pregnancy. No, the sweet little two-syllables now uttered by my baby girl.

I knew it would come and didn’t really worry about it. I wasn’t jealous that she said Dada first. After all, she ALWAYS wants me. I was glad for Husband to have something special. But now that she says it, now that she utters that beautiful word, I am enraptured.

She crawls toward me, “Mama, Mama, Mama.” She cries from her crib when she doesn’t want to nap, “Mama?” She (apparently) invokes my name when angry at the nanny, “Mama! Mama!” She sleepily murmurs my name when I pull her from her crib for middle-of-the-night nursing sessions, “Mama…Mama…”

I can’t get enough of it. Oh, perhaps some day it will start to get old, the incessant, never-ceasing iterations from little voices. But right now? Today? I am relishing each and every instance.

Mama and Fiona

Getting Out of the Way

Getting Out of the Way

I watched my girl this weekend as she began grasping new ideas and learning new skills. She is so close to pulling herself up to her knees, given the chance. And she has realized that when she throws something, she just has to look over the arm of the chair to find it again. I love being witness to each new trick, each developmental leap. Ah, object permanence is such a wondrous thing!

But as I watched, I witnessed something that both amused and struck me.

Playing gleefully with her basket of toys, Fiona found a cloth book that unfolds into one long succession of “pages”. It’s a bit unwieldy for a baby when it’s all open, but she loves it anyway. Having pulled it out earlier, she found herself sitting next to the end of the book. She picked it up, but the book wouldn’t budge. She pulled and pulled on it, thinking surely she could lift it to her mouth to chew on (that’s what 7-month-old babies do, after all), but it wouldn’t work. She look plaintively at me to fix the problem, as though it was I who was keeping her from her desires. Or at the very least, I wasn’t helping fulfill them.

Unbeknownst to her, though, she was sitting on the book. Her own weight kept it grounded. I tried not to laugh as I watched her try with all her might, yet fail because she didn’t notice that she herself was the obstacle in her way.

It struck me just then, that perhaps that’s how God feels. Read more

My Daughter

My Daughter

I always thought I would be a better boy mom. I’m not girly, I’m definitely NOT into princesses and sparkles and pink.

I’m more about climbing trees, mucking stalls, and hiking. Of course girls can do these things, I did these things as a girl. But it isn’t typical.

And the drama, oh the drama. When I went to college and lived with other girls for the first time (I have three brothers), I was in for an education in drama. And the drama starts early, appearing even in little girls.

For some time, having a girl almost terrified me. What would I do with her?

But then I had a niece, and then another (two actually — identical twins). I now have six nieces and I’ve learned a lot from them. It’s not so scary any more, this idea of raising girls.

The nieces and nephews

My nieces and nephews a few years ago…

In fact, I began to think that maybe I would like to have a girl — so I can raise her to be independent, brave, fierce and adventurous. The world needs more girls like that. Girls who can stand up for themselves, who know who they are, who don’t look to boys for validation.

For ten long months I wondered whether we would be raising a boy or a girl, picturing life with both. On January 28 I learned that the little one I loved so much already was indeed a girl. And rather than insecure, I found myself excited to have a daughter.

milk drunk baby

I can teach her to love history, to enjoy classic literature, to jump in mud puddles and go camping like a pro.

I can teach her to ride horses and Husband can teach her to surf.

I will encourage her to always be herself, to not need the approval of others. I will show her the world and help her find her place in it — as a brave, compassionate, creative person who can make her mark on the world.

Someday she will be grown and perhaps even have a daughter of her own, and I hope she will also strive to teach her girl to be exactly who God created her to be — no matter what the world says.

I have a daughter, and I am beyond excited to raise her to be one amazing person.

Baby's first stall cleaning

A Cradle

A Cradle

cradle

It’s just a cradle, crafted of dark wood, wobbling slightly as it rocks. The morning light filters in through the linen curtains and shines through the spindles onto the wood floors — shining on the simple cradle like an ethereal light.

But it isn’t just a cradle. It’s an heirloom, memories. It’s a promise, the future.

My brothers and I were all rocked to sleep in this very cradle. Then it help my nieces and nephews when they were tiny bundles. Now it holds my precious Fiona.

I place her in the cradle at night, pulling it close to my bedside where I can see her and reach her. I watch her through those wooden spindles. I watch her face and all the many expressions. I listen to her grunts and coos and cries. I reach over and gently rock the cradle. I place a hand on my babe, I replace her pacifier.

In the middle of the night, I pull her from the cradle and nurse her before placing her back in the safety of the cradle.

I wonder how many more children will sleep here. More of my own children perhaps, my youngest brother’s as well? What about further into the future? Will Fiona’s first child sleep in it? Will she rock her own daughter to sleep in this same wooden cradle?

It’s the beauty of heirlooms — this cradle isn’t just a cradle, it is memories, it is promises.