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

Posts for ariadne grey

An Eleven Month Letter to My Daughter

[previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

My darling, you are eleven-months old – you’re still my little baby, but you’re on the cusp of becoming a big one-year-old girl, my little toddler. Every day, it seems you are more and more a little girl, and a little tiny bit less a baby. It is, as this journey has been the entire time, both lovely and heartbreaking to watch.

At eleven months, you are a fiery little girl, full of personality. You have been particular and sensitive since the day you were born, and that hasn’t changed a bit. You want things – clothes, food, activities, comfort – to be just so, and anything less is unacceptable. I remind myself this will be a good quality to have, when you’re older, picking out dates or clothes or jobs or colleges. Right now – it’s a little exhausting. You are so sensitive, so easily touched by the people and energies, the sounds and smells around you. All I can do is grin, a little chagrined, and say, I wonder where on earth she got that from?!

Also, we have this new cute dress from the Farmer's Market.

You are very clever, finding loopholes to the boundaries Papa and I create for you, mimicking our actions and sounds, and grinning with pleasure when you succeed. You are cheerful, for the most part – I swear, I don’t know any other baby who laughs as often and with such gusto as you do. You delight in being delighted. You laugh, and then you give a little grin, a little check-in glance to Papa or me, that was funny, wasn’t it? I’M funny.

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A Nine Month Letter to My Daughter

[previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

My sweet Ari Grey, you are a big girl.

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There are always these moments, in parenting, especially in the first year – these moments that hit you like a truck, slamming into you. Even though you’ve seen your child day in and day out, watched her like a hawk, observed every tiny thing she did or said or ate or tried to eat when you weren’t looking (pine needles, grass) – yet somehow, suddenly, your child seems so big. So much noticeably, exponentially bigger than even a day before. How could it happen that quickly? we ask ourselves. How can there be such a huge change, overnight?

I had that moment, last week. Every day, I drink in your babbling and your wriggling and how dirty or clean you are, how much you’ve eaten, how much you’ve slept – and still, one afternoon, sitting on your quilt with you, watching you scramble and wriggle trying to get – my cell phone, the remotes, Kitty’s bunny tail, anything you weren’t supposed to touch, I had that moment – wow, she is such a big girl, suddenly she is so much bigger and more developed, and how did this happy so quickly?

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An Eight Month Letter to My Daughter

[previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

I am behind on writing and posting your eight-month letter, as I have been behind on everything this past month. Your papa and I have been late or not caught up on just about every task and project this month.

And you know what? It’s completely intentional, for once.

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I realized, in this last month, we needed to slow down. Everyone needs that reminder, once in a while. It’s so easy to get caught up in our long, long lists of things we need to accomplish, never-ending tasks that we cycle through over and over again. We get so engrossed in obligation and duty and responsibility. We are trick ponies, making our jumps and running the course, aiming to do everything as quickly and neatly as possible.

But – it’s impossible. The course is never done, our lives never stop being busy and requiring so much of us. We can push and push and push ourselves, but there’s no magical day when the laundry stops being dirty and then clean and then needing to be put away. There’s no day that we won’t need groceries or gas or to mow the lawn. It keeps coming, and the more we rush, the less we are living; the more we are becoming robotic – the more we are missing the point of living by trying so hard to cross things off our to-do lists.

To live is to feel life, is to find empty spaces in between the Must Dos, and take advantage of that space, that time. To take advantage of those empty spaces and push at our boundaries, to allow ourselves to be still in those moments and not hassle ourselves to fill them with another activity, another responsibility.

Your papa and I were caught up in that whirlwind of go-go-go, do-do-do. I (as usual) was mostly to blame as I tend to chart my success in life based on how much I’ve accomplished each day. It’s as if I need a concrete list to prove to myself that I’ve done enough, been the best person I could.

It took me a little while to realize it – but our evenings started to feel so rushed. We were in a hurry, your papa and I, and we were rushing you. I didn’t realize it until I was journaling one evening – your papa was at work, you were asleep in your bed, and I had a few minutes to sit and think and write out my thoughts.

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Humility.

I love my daughter more than anything else in this world, and I would do anything for her – and sometimes, I’ve learned, that anything I’ve promised to do is to humble myself and ask for help, to take an action I don’t necessarily want to take but become aware I need to take.

Motherhood teaches us humility in a variety of ways. Sometimes, we learn humility when we have baby puke or baby poop on our hands and clothes, and we can’t clean it off us until we take care of our child first. Sometimes, we learn humility when our child is having an epic meltdown in the grocery store and everyone is staring and we have to just patiently pass items onto the conveyor belt to get the shopping over and done with so we can get the screaming child out of there. Sometimes, we learn humility because we have a plan in place – a mothering plan, a parenting plan – and we are physically incapable of following through with it.

The last one? That’s me. That’s the lesson I’ve learned over and over again since I’ve become a mother. It’s apparently the lesson I need to learn the most, because it keeps coming back and reminding me I haven’t studied hard enough yet.

I’ve said this before – if sheer force of will were enough to get things done, I would never be behind. I would always have my ducks in a row. My spirit is always willing, but the flesh is weak. Or, perhaps more aptly – there’s just a world outside my stubborn, strong-willed self. There are other people in the equation. There are jobs and obligations and traffic and people whose priorities are not my priorities, and visa versa. I have a will, and I am determined to find a way – and the truth is, that lesson that I have to learn over and over again – is that just because I want make something happen a certain way doesn’t mean it’s going to happen that way. I can fight and fight the inevitable outcome as hard as I want – I will eventually have to humble myself and learn the lesson.

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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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