Today I found out something so sad that I burst into tears in my car. Some of our dearest friends – visited in the hospital the night after Everly was born sort of good – just told us they’re moving from a mile down the street to the Midwest.
It’s all good things – better job, better vacation, better opportunities – and most importantly, a calling – the undeniable, can’t-shake-it, no-such-thing-as-a-coincidence sort of calling from God full of provision and promise.
But it’s so hard.
Today, over coffee, I couldn’t even squeak out the words to Megan. I’m selfishly mourning the loss of the plans I had laid out. Everly and Ruthie – born 2 days apart! – would be best friends, live within biking distance, share birthday parties, and be maid of honor in each other’s weddings (I’m a planner, okay?). But now, more likely they’re pen pals, if that’s even still a thing, or just the family friends that kids talk about in passing.
And that’s just the very tip of my friendship with Megan. This incredible, faithful woman who is willing to risk everything to move to a place God is calling has taught me so much about listening to God and motherhood and marriage. She is brave and strong and confident. She’s been my shoulder to cry on, my go-to person to text frustrations, and the person who got me through being pregnant and the first few months of Everly’s life (guys, breast-feeding. you just need someone to talk to or you’ll just die).
I don’t know what I’m going to do without her down the street. And I can’t stop the teeter totter of sadness that she’s leaving and awe at her faithfulness.
Tonight, while the little girl sleeps and Tuck reads, I’m sad. So sad to lose my dear friends. And we’re in the middle of the story with no happy ending in sight.
Yesterday we sat under clear skies and celebrated one of our friends marry the man perfectly suited for her. Both dads gave beautiful speeches remembering the day their kids were born and shared how thankful they were that their kids found each other.
The father-daughter dance was the same one that everyone uses – the country twang of “I Held Her First” by some artist who’s made a lot of money playing on peoples emotions (I don’t know his name because nobody likes country music).
I looked over at Tuck holding our little girl and can’t even imagine that someday she might be in her twenties in a white dress with another man she loves. When we got home, we talked about if Everly’s future husband was already alive and walking. Before we put her to bed, Tuck prayed for him – that he would be good and strong and love Jesus.
For now, we’ll just do our best to love our little girl and love each other. And we’ll cross “someday” when we get there.
Today you’re two months old. Today, we also packed you and all your junk up for the first time to dog sit for two weeks. I wrestled your pack and play/bed to the ground and back up again. You woke up for the first time at church. Your dad helped you stand up and move one leg at a time like you were walking. I wanted to get you on Ellen.
We’re “those” parents who get excited to see pictures of when you were smaller and marvel at how much you’ve changed (hello, that’s every first time parent). You’re a pretty good sleeper at night and a terrible napper. We’ve taken our first trips to the library, ice cream shops and a hipster coffee shop – you know, all the important, educational places.
Your best friends are your uncles – John, Trav, Jovan, and Brian – (none of whom are your actual uncles), your aunts (the real blood related ones and all the pseudo ones who love you), Ruthie, and Claire.
You’ve been to 2 weddings and will go to at least 2 more before you even turn 1 year old. And you’ve decided your favorite way to be walked around is facing out, looking at the world.
Right now, you are sleeping in my lap with your arms splayed every which way and I am trying to remember all the sweet things I can because I know our time with you is going to come fast and furious.
You are so loved, sweet girl. I hope you always know.
We’re house sitting for two weeks starting tomorrow and I really wanted to clean the house so we come home to an orderly, clean house. Instead, I’m sitting in our chair in our room with a pile of clean laundry and random stuff all over our bed watching Everly and Tucker sleep.
And enjoying every second.
It’s just before 5am and Everly just finished her overnight meal. I pulled her in to burp her and she just snuggled close and started to fall asleep. And it made me wish I could just hold her all day. I wished I was less tired or it was a different time of day so I could just keep her there. I wished she didn’t need real sleep, swaddled in her bed. I want to hold on to her sweet smallness just a little bit longer.
I went back to work today and Tucker and I got home and struggled through thinking about feasible long-term care for her while we’re both at work with crazy schedules. Honestly, I don’t even want to think about it. I feel called to what I’m doing, but don’t know how to find the balance of my tiny little girl and my hoard of sweaty teenagers.
I’m not sure there’s an answer. And if there is, I’m sure it’s not easy.
One of the best things about this new little life we’re building has been watching Tucker become a dad. He’s a great husband – always buys me flowers at Trader Joe’s, let’s me have the last, best bite of dessert by pretending he’s full, and doing almost all of the heavy lifting in our move since I was pregnant. But now he has a new, tiny little life to take care of and he’s been better at it than I ever even imagined.
Because Everly was a C-section, Tucker got to see and hold Everly first. I hope I never forget his tone when he said, “we have a little girl!” While they closed me up, he took her back to our room for the earliest moments of Everly’s life.
In the first days, Tuck did every diaper change since I couldn’t get up or move very quickly (he also opened EVERY cabinet in our room and knew more about where things were than the nurses #architect). He slept on the terrible plastic couch that the hospital touts as a “full bed.” When she wouldn’t settle down, he got up and walked her bassinet in circles for hours. And the poor man has heard and talked about breast-feeding more than anyone should have to.
He showed our little girl around our room, always made sure I didn’t need a nap before he took one, and sat with me through every painful feeding and all the times I dry heaved into a tiny plastic tub.
All the times I cried – with reason or without – he was right there. He held me while we stood in the NICU while our girl was under blue lights. He took my hand when I burst into tears at the pediatrician’s because breastfeeding is a FRICKIN BEAR. He just put his arm around me when I cried for no reason at all.
I can’t wait to see what happens as our little girl grows up – the new ways she’ll need him and he’ll take care of her, pointing her to the best Father like he does for all the students in his life.
Tonight you were wide awake – not even a walk shut you off and moving ALWAYS seems to be a power switch, so we rocked you and held you close and swaddled you tight and played music. And we did it. It convinced you that sleep time is now.
Now we’re sitting in bed and I’m thinking of all the things we hope for you as you grow up.
We have so many prayers for you. I hope you are strong and brave. I hope you fight for other people. I hope you’re protected, but not too safe. I hope you’re passionate and kind. I hope you find a man someday like your dad – not because you need a man, but because your dad is so good and our lives are so much better because of him. I hope you love Jesus and find him early in your life to be the only thing that is always true and trustworthy.
We also hope you love either the Broncos or the Giants and for sure hate the Patriots, Cowboys, and Raiders. Your dad is even okay with you being a Yankees fan (they’re really good this year, little girl). I hope you aren’t allergic to dairy or gluten because ice cream and brownies. I hope you are left-handed and I can’t wait until I can braid your hair.
I hope you love to run and play. I hope you have lots of friends and are wise about the good ones. I hope you never get your heart broken, but when you do, that you learn from it.
I hope you know how much you are loved because it is so much. I love you with my whole heart, Everly Alice.
The first month has been trying. We’re getting excited about 5 hours of sleep in a row and our conversations revolve around blow out poops and when the next feeding us. Last night this happy little face peed out of her diaper onto the bed (OUR bed, mind you) not once, but twice.
But the first month has also been so sweet. We’re learning which cries are which and that she likes music and to be on the move. And there hasn’t been a heel prick in weeks. We’re getting more smiles and alert hours every day and can’t help but just watch her.
It’s 6pm on a Saturday afternoon and we’re just here on the couch with music on and a sleepy girl in our arms and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Tuck had to leave early this morning. The sort of early that is exactly the right time to not be able to go back to sleep before I need to leave, so I’m listening to the little girl make her noises while the cat gets some quality pets.
Two nights in a row of pretty good overnight feedings and two solid chunks of sleep, but still, I’m discouraged. Her habits change so fast that working last week was easy, but I’m not sure this week will be that way.
It all feels so out of control. Planning and timing has to be perfect and it never really is. AND she’s really a good, mellow baby.
I suppose that’s how parents feel for their kid’s whole lives – not in control. I guess I thought that feeling wouldn’t kick in until later. So I’ll just keep praying during her 5am feeding for strength to trust that God hasn’t lost control, even if we have.
We’re 16 days in to parenting. Whoa. Everyone who sees our girl (well they all think she’s a boy) calls her “so fresh” which is hardly how we feel with our sleep in 2 hour increments.
But I don’t want up forget the sweet moments – watching her little eyes wake up for the first time of the day. Her sweet little noises while she eats. The little goat noise she makes when she’s up. The quiet overnight times that it’s just us while Tuck and the cat sleep around us.
There have been plenty of less sweet moments – pain during pumping, milk everywhere, an immediately dirty diaper after changing her, trying to get the right latch every time, the scary moment when we couldn’t wake her up to eat, the sad moments watching her under the blue lights knowing it was good for her, but wanting just to hold our baby.
I don’t want to take these moments – sweet or sad – for granted. I want to hold them all as treasures, even though I know the memory of her overnight puke on Tucker or wetting all over the changing table will fade after we have more days of stories to tell.
I just want to make sure to pay good attention to the time we have right now and not lose our first weeks and months of memories and emotions.
This, this 4am rambling list of things I can remember right now. I love you, Everly, with my whole heart.