On February 2nd, Jack turned three. We kept things low-key and invited just family to the Mall of America for a few rides and lunch at the Rain Forest Cafe. If I can have it my way, this is what we’ll do every year until he’s requesting an extended curfew and a bedroom in the basement for birthday gifts.
He was so excited to see his cousins, ride the rides, and to turn three. I love this sweet boy so much it hurts.
The Cousin Entourage was pretty entertaining.
A few weeks later we took a trip home to Fargo to visit my darling grandparents, so that they could meet little Hazey. Hazel’s middle name is Patricia– after the 94-year-old woman who cradled her so sweetly. It is a memory I will carry with me for as long as I live to watch those two gaze at one another.
My grandfather ditched his cane and got on all fours to examine her sweet face. He spent his career as a general practitioner and his hands still moved with the confident ease of a doctor’s when he touched her little ears.
Other excitement included mornings in the hot tub at below 0 temperatures,
skating at the ice rink across the street,
and Jack’s sleeping arrangement, comprising a tent, sleeping bag, and flashlight. (My dad still has the brain of an 11 year-old-boy which makes him incredibly gifted at concocting ideas that will make a three-year-old boy’s head explode)
Making Valentines for Jack’s classmates was another big February event. Pinterest led me to over-ambition– as it does. Never again.
As I was editing these photos, Jack walked over to my computer to take a look. I asked him, “What’s going on in these photos, Buddy?” To which he replied, “I’m makin’ some dewicious tweats fo my fwiends.”
It made me laugh.
There was another year of Lobster Fest wherein we toasted to Jack’s birth and to good friends…
And braving the snow and the cold of this never-ending winter.
Hazel turned three months just a few days ago, and I will go back to work on Monday. In just this short time that she’s been here, I have been struggling to find the words to describe how this sweet, little girl has changed me.
Before Jack was born, I couldn’t apprehend just what his presence would feel like, but I knew my life would change in some monumental way, and I braced myself for that.
I didn’t expect to be so effected by my second-born. I expected that she would be another beautiful life to love and nurture, certainly. But, I figured that the metamorphosis that happens to you when you bring a child into the world is essentially done after that first experience. I have been absolutely shocked (and filled with such a sense of wonder) to discover that I was entirely wrong.
I am a different parent now than I was three months ago. I am milder, and seem to spend so much more of my time in absolute awe of these two beautiful little people. Hazel’s gift to me, is that she has helped me to slow my thoughts, and to see the joy in (almost) every moment I have with my babies. And, it feels almost inexplicable to me.
You know that feeling when things just get so hard, or so embarrassing, or so uncomfortable, that instead of crying, or feeling frustrated, or reacting in any way that suits the situation, you laugh instead? Like laugh really hard? Uncomfortably hard, until your sides and your cheeks hurt? That’s a little bit like what it feels like with Hazel. Except it’s not unbearably hard, or uncomfortable, or any of those things. It’s almost as if my life now with her in it, feels so full of so many emotions– good ones, hard ones, tender ones, intense and sometimes frustrating ones– that instead of trying to chase down each emotion and understand and feel them all, my mind just decides to smile and find the grace in each moment instead. It is tough to understand and even more difficult to explain. But, suffice it to say that I have found myself mellowed in some way. And, what’s more– approaching my parenting with Jack, and my relationships with Billy and family and friends with so much more patience and ease.
And, for anyone, this would be a gift. But, for a somewhat uptight person with nearly crippling anxiety about many everyday life events, this feels like the greatest blessing I could ever hope to receive.
I am so incredibly grateful for this little girl entering my life. She has the sweetest demeanor and the most calm energy; and, she has absolutely grounded and centered me in a way I didn’t think possible.
Like any mom would, I was feeling sad about heading back to work on Monday. And, in my world, there is a Dad Email for that.
Well, it will tug at your heart strings that first day; but, she will be in good hands, and it’s good to realize that as difficult as they are, life consists of a lot of goodbyes. Hard as it is to say goodbye to Hazey’s round-the-clock care, your ability to positively influence children is your calling. Goodbye to home and comfort, hello to helping others less fortunate. Hello to fulfillment and the realization that you can multitask raising children and have a rewarding career. Having to get up and accomplish something, that is not always easy, that is bigger than yourself, is one of the great untold blessings in life. The time you spend with your children will be well-spent and cherished.
Don’t look back, look straight ahead with pride and confidence that you are doing a great job in both counseling and parenting.
P.S. Listening to the top 100 best hits of the 90’s. Boy, your music really sucked.
Aside from the 90’s music rip– amen to that.