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“You can make anything by writing.” ― C.S. Lewis

Posts for Life Category

A Five Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

Well, my daughter, this month has been a rough one.

Not because of you — of course, my darling. You have continued to be the most charming baby I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with, and I’m not just saying that because you’re mine and I made you from scratch. You grow even more happy-natured and joyful by the day. Just when I think you can’t get any more smiley or sweet, you do.

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No, this month has been a hard one for me, as your mama. This was a month where I barely felt like I got the opportunity to enjoy the privilege of being your mother. This was a month where I felt I spent the majority of the time running and running, and a few times a day, I stopped and shoved a boob in your mouth before bouncing you to sleep, and little else.

There was the emotional struggle of you being underweight, which I talked about here, and the decision to occasionally supplement a formula bottle here and there. (And I’m pleased to report that your follow-up appointment went great, the doctor was very happy with your progress, and told us to keep doing exactly what we were doing — nursing at every opportunity, pumping at work, and feeding you a formula bottle twice a day when I’m working to ease the strain on everybody.) That was a lot of emotional and physical stress on me, and then, you know, it’s been December, and Christmas, and all of that hoopla.

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I wanted very much to make your first Christmas a beautiful and special occasion, and I do think your papa and I succeeded in doing so — but it’s been an exhausting month. I felt overwhelmed by my work — particularly busy for this time of year — any time I’ve gotten close to getting caught up, I’d have to leave my desk and run to pump. I get up early, early in the morning to rush to get myself ready and rush to nurse you as long as possible, and rush to get out the door remotely close to on time. The week I had to be at work by 7 AM every day really almost killed me. I came home on lunch, long enough to nurse you and stuff food in my mouth before I was back out the door again. I came home after work to enjoy the last few precious hours of your awake time before putting you to bed for a couple hours, waking you to nurse again, and then tumbling into bed myself. And then there have been all the Christmas celebrations, with friends and family and work and church. Don’t get me wrong — I’m happy to have those demands on my time. I’m happy that we as a family share a rich and full life with so many people who loves us and enjoy spending time with us. Not every family has the opportunity to star as Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus in the annual live nativity. As your papa said, you got to time that just right to get that invitation. And I’m always so happy to gather our friends together at this time of year, your Aunt Ali home for a visit, and meeting your Uncle Ryan for the first time, being passed from lap to lap at a Christmas get together just like the little scraps of paper we played the movie game on.

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But all of that wore on me. I wanted in my heart to be joyful and light, but instead I felt dim and heavy. Listless and unenergetic. Snippy and short-tempered. Traits that don’t normally characterize me, not by a long shot.

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A Four Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

When I was pregnant with you, there were a lot of things I prayed for you. There were a lot of things I prayed specifically for you as a baby.

When you’re pregnant, people love to give you advice. They love to tell you all their horror stories. It felt like I had a lot of people telling me how hard parenting was, especially with a newborn, an infant. (It’s so worth it, they’d always add, but it’s soooo haaard.) Your papa and I had a lot of friends and acquaintances telling us all their stories about how their baby didn’t sleep at all, or only slept for two hour stretches. We heard stories about babies with colic and with gas, babies with acid reflux. We heard stories about babies with allergies and mamas cutting out specific foods for months and months at a time. We heard about cranky babies who just had trouble adjusting.

When I was pregnant with you and hearing this stories, I started to pray — please let her be a good sleeper. Maybe we’ll have one of those magical babies who sleeps through the night fairly early on. I started to pray, maybe we’ll have a baby who eats great and has no issues with gas or allergies. Maybe we’ll have a baby who’s happy and content, with no health problems.

Then I thought to myself — we can’t possibly get that lucky. We can’t possibly get ALL of those things in one baby. We’ll be lucky if we have just one or two.

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Baby girl, you are all those things. Your papa and I know what incredibly blessed and lucky parents we are, what a beautiful and perfect baby you are.

It’s true. We’ve seen signs of it all along, since birth when you were so alert and strong despite being so small and skinny. We’ve seen your personality developing over the last four months, we’ve seen you hit milestones right on target, we’ve dealt with you daily in a variety of situations and we’ve seen you be as easy-going and charming as it is possible for a baby to be.

I guess I thought that was normal, up until this fourth month. I just thought you were a typical baby — you’ve still had your crying fits, your public meltdowns, sure. If you get too tired or overstimulated, you’ll cry. We’ve battled over the carseat, off and on — sometimes you love it, sometimes you scream the whole way home. So I thought you were a fairly typical baby, granted one who is generally happy-natured — but one who is fairly typical as babies go.

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Sometime this fourth month, I started to listen to stories other parents were telling. I knew we were lucky with your nightly sleep pattern, but I didn’t realize how lucky. I heard how parents with babies and children older than you were still getting up several times a night. I didn’t realize that most babies weren’t as cheerful as you were in so many situations. I didn’t realize so many parents had so many issues with when and how much to feed.

You’ve been such an easy baby. Some days are hard, yes. Most days are long and exhausting, but we could have it so much harder. Your papa and I get enough sleep — we’re not well-rested, true, but we get enough. Our mornings are early, and we are constantly doing something — laundry, putting away milk, washing bottles, nursing you, soothing you, changing you — but we have it so easy in the grand scheme of things.

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A Toast: Here’s to Women.

Feminism, Fierce Lady Tribe, Life, Non-Fiction, Thoughts - Emily - November 11, 2016

Here’s to women.

Here’s to women who get up earlier than everyone else to start the coffee in a dim kitchen with the glowing light of sunrise pressing in from the window.

Here’s to women who go to bed later than everyone else, switching over the laundry and turning off all the lights, checking the locks on the doors.

Here’s to women who wake in the night, from bad dreams or snoring or to tiptoe into a bedroom and check a little one’s breathing. Here’s to women who can’t sleep, who lay awake on their pillows cataloguing all the tasks they will have to perform tomorrow, all the smiles they will have to fake, all the comments they will have to ignore.

Here’s to women who walk the sidewalks with headphones crammed in their ears, the volume up as high as it will go, just to block out catcalls and horn honks.

Here’s to women who layer on foundation and blush and eyeliner and mascara because they want to, because it makes them feel empowered. Here’s to the women who layer it on because they feel obligated, because they feel naked without it. Here’s to women who wear none of it, proudly.

Here’s to women who suck in their guts, here’s to women who flaunt them. Here’s to women with bubble butt and pancake butt, here’s to women with muffin top and droopy boobs and perky tits. Here’s to women in a size 4 and a size 14 and a size 24.

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A Three Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

I’m trying to write your third month letter today, since you’ll hit that milestone tomorrow – but I’m having a hard time. It’s been one of those days where I’ve miss you so much, I almost have to not think about you for a bit, just to make it through the day.

Three months, and we’ve hit the end of that “fourth trimester” – that first three months after you were brought earthside to meet us and be part of our family. The completion of the year it took to make you and grow you and birth you.  It almost feels like the end of a magic spell, this miraculous period of time in which you were a new, new baby soul, and we were your brand new, fresh parents.

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Which isn’t to say the newness and the magic have worn off– on the contrary, I think we’ve seen so much growth and change from you in the last month, since the last time I wrote, and I know our love for you has quadrupled every single day.

But now, in as you’ve hit three months, it’s quite evident you’re not a new newborn anymore. You’re still an infant, still a tiny little girl fresh and new in the world – but from appearance to personality, you’ve clearly moved out of the newborn phase.

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A Letter to My Husband on Our Third Anniversary

Dearest Shaun,

I have promised us that this year, for your anniversary letter, I will keep it short – what with both of us working, and Ariadne, all the demands on our time, and the fact that I’ve written a whole separate post for our anniversary on how we met.

And I think we both know me trying to avoid being long-winded is just not really likely to happen.

I’ll try. I’ll try to keep this short.

On the day we were married, we spent the entire day preparing for the ceremony and party, and then celebrating – a day of cool weather and fall leaves and wine and laughter and kisses and hugs and dance trains and bliss. On our first anniversary, we got to sleep in, and then drive across the river to the Encampment, to gorge ourselves on Ye Olde Timey Food and giggle at the terrible announcer for the battle reenactment. Last year, on our second anniversary, we were with Lance and Tara at Seahorse Ranch, and we walked down to the river, and all over the property, and then hiked at Munson Lake, and cooked dinner together – a beautiful day of family and peace and nature.

This year, on our third anniversary, things are a bit different. I was up at four thirty in the morning, and I got you up briefly at five. I was up again at six fifteen, and I got you up again at seven thirty. I was at work all day, and you were home in charge of child care. We spent most of the day apart. We contemplated going to a nice dinner tonight – but now it seems we’ll wait until the weekend. So much has changed, and we’d both rather be home in pajamas, snuggling our girl, than out and about after spending most of the day with our family in two different places.

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