Just Keep Swimming

As you know, our daughter is 3.  This has been a lot harder than I imagined.  I wasn’t prepared for all the things that come with being 3.  She started school and, for the first time in a year and a half, is away from me 3 days a week.  She potty trained in a matter of days.  No more diapers or pull ups or anything but cute little panties that cover that cute little butt.  And now she no longer has her binky at night.  I know, it should’ve been the first thing to go but I just couldn’t do it.  I was hanging on to the last little “little” thing.

It’s painful.  And last weekend, we went through the garage and gathered all things baby to pass along to other babies.  Ugh.  I’ve held it, hoping for another somehow.  But I’m thinking the time has passed and hanging on to it was just a reminder that she’s big.  Plus, we really had a lot of stuff.  2 of everything because I had stuff here and at my old office.  Crazy!

My baby is a little girl.  She talks.  She argues.  She pretends and rides bikes.  She drinks from a cup and “reads” books by herself.  (really just makes it up as she goes)  “Once a time….” and so on.  She’s perfect.  She just weighed in at 40 lbs and is 40 1/2 inches tall.  When I looked up how tall she’ll be based on her height at age 3, it seems she’ll be around 5′ 9″.  That means she’ll have every opportunity I did but hers will also include volleyball, basketball, super modeling, etc.  – I’m still not sure what mine were.  <grin>

I think we’ll start some mommy/daughter traditions soon.  I always wished for those.  And now that she’s on her way to 5’9″, I need to pick some sports for spring.  Soccer, t-ball, hop-scotch…

Happy 3!

Dear Glory,

I’m writing this letter to you on the evening of the 24th, 2012.  Today I’ve been thinking – trying to remember my life before you.  It’s hard to remember the days before they were filled with you but…

Three years ago, this very day, we knew you were coming.  We knew you’d be born the very next day, the 25th.  We knew your birthmom was scheduled for a c-section and that we’d be there waiting for you.  What we didn’t know is if she was sure you were ours.

I left work the 24th, a Wednesday, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be back.  That night, your mama and I went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant.  We made a toast to you – to your safety.  I remember holding her hand the whole walk home – just hoping, hoping, hoping.  And that night, we said a prayer next to your crib – practically begging for you to finally be our baby.

The next day is partially a blur.  I don’t remember any of the morning – only from the time we arrived at the hospital.  There we were, in the waiting room, watching CNN go on & on about how there were reports that Michael Jackson had died.  How could that be possible?  As the reports came in, they were more certain.  50 years old.  He was gone.  And just seconds later, the nurse came around the corner and said, “are you ready?”

We ran in to the NICU just as they brought you through the delivery door.  You were beautiful!  You were goopy and messy and your little fingers were so long!  They layed you on the table and started doing all the things they do once your spirit fully fills your body.  They cleaned out your eyes.  They measured your head and your body.  They weighed you.  And then they let us bathe you.

It’s funny, because looking back, I had no fear.  The rules said she had 48 hours to sign the papers but the moment I saw you, I knew you were ours.  Your birthmom gave her NICU bracelet to your mama so we could both be in there at all times.  I’ll never be able to thank her enough for that.  Knowing that she was just down the hall, but didn’t want to meet us face to face, was hard.  But I also trusted that she made her peace before that – whatever her choice, it was best for you both.

We had a room at the hospital.  They treated us as if one of us had given birth. In our little room, we watched TV while you slept.  It turned out that MJ had really died – just 21 mintues before you were born.  We wondered if you passed each other and bumped hips…or something.  You slept in the room with us all night long.  You woke up every 2 hours.  Neither of us slept at all.  We took turns holding you & feeding you – just staring at you.  We were in love.

In one quiet moment, I remember thinking I needed an escape route.  If, for any reason, this didn’t work out – you were leaving with me and I made a creepy little plan that included paying cash for a new car and a freeway headed south.  I knew I couldn’t let you go – that I could never, ever live without you again.

Three years later, I can’t help but still reflect on those early minutes.  We had just days to prepare for you but once you came, we knew all we needed to know.  We were yours.  And you were ours.

Happy Birthday, my lovely girl.  You are still a dream come true and the story of you is still my most favorite love story in all the land.

Countdown…

This is it – the very last week that my baby girl will ever be 2.  Can I admit to you all that it’s completely killing me inside?

I had my first baby when I was 30.  Even then, I feel like I waited a long time.  But to count the days waiting for Glory… I simply couldn’t.  There was so much preparation.  – Years of finding the best way to bring her here.  I experienced joy & sorrow in ways I hadn’t before.  & just like with Gracie, when Glory was born I wondered how could ever love another baby the same.

Now I’m more than 40.  Forty.  & it’s quite possible that Glory will be my last child.  Not only will I miss the “baby” parts of her but I will miss the “baby” parts of any baby.

Now I have the pleasure of listening to her talk – watching her run & skip & ride her bike.  She’ll be entering pre-school and I’ll that learning will speed up by eons.  She’ll start building relationships outside her family – asking if she can play with the girl down the street.  I’m not jumping ahead.  I know what’s coming.  And while I mourn those baby things like chubby cheeks & thighs, eating with her fingers, the bottle, pig tails, size 8 shoes… I can’t wait for all the big stuff.

She’ll be entering her 4th years in a 3T-4T.  She wears a size 9 shoe & I’m pretty sure size 10 is coming right up.  She hasn’t gained weight in a while but she’s grown like crazy in height.  She’s taller than any other 3yo we know!  She loves riding her big wheel and we’re planning on a big girl bike (with training wheels) for her birthday – don’t tell.  She’s insanely friendly and speaks practically in full sentences.  She’s still wearing pull-ups but getting closer & closer.  Her teachers say she’s crazy aware & crazy smart!  She is loved madly by our friends and family and I LOVE that she knows it!

It’ll be weird to say she’s 3.  I mean, I’ve been saying she’s 2 for a whole year!  It’ll be weird to watch her keep growing and possibly come to terms with knowing that everything that passes, will really be the last.  But bring it on – because nothing on this planet brings me beautiful chaos like my Glory Ella – the (almost) 3 year old.

Looking Back…

This photo was taken 2 years ago yesterday.  It feels that long ago, I suppose.   But sometimes I barely remember her that size.  Luckily, I remember that smile – and her giggle.  It seemed everything was funny at that age.  She was almost 1 but not quite walking.

This photo was taken this time last year.  She was helping her mama plant a new tree and she ended up muddy to her bones.  I’m deciding that I miss that little girl hair.  I think the new hair makes her look like a 4th grader.  But seriously, can you stand how cute she is?

This is her now – Friday, actually.  Her favorite thing to say is, “I do it!”  She’s sassy and demanding but we can still makes her collapse in laughter when we tickle her thighs.  She’ll try any new thing and I’m sure that will make me shiver in fright one day.  She’ll be 3 in a month or so.  It’s true, I said 3.

 

Mothers Day For Me!

So I also wanted to write a little something about this sweet, little firecracker that makes me a mother every. single. day.  Birth Mothers Day is celebrated the day before traditional Mothers Day so this post will be throwing all that together.

It’s amazing how long I’ve waited for this baby.  I knew her name decades ago.  Most of my dreams showed her as a hispanic child – long, black hair.  I imagined her on the shoulders of my partner with sticky fingers from cotton candy.  Sometimes she was african american with deep, dark skin.  I wondered what our hands would look like together – covered in sticky cotton candy.  We only ever used dark donors so it’s a wonder that God knew who to send.

3 years ago I sat broken hearted on Mothers Day for the last time.  Because 3 years ago a beautiful, thoughtful, very tall woman was making a decision for both of us that would change our lives forever.  She has two other children who have a different father.  She knew she couldn’t care for another to the best of her ability.  She wanted more for her and I made a promise to do my best.

I have no doubt she thinks of Glory.  And I hope to share every piece of information I have about her with Glory as soon as she’s old enough to ask.  I will tell her how much her birth mother loved her – that she made the ultimate sacrifice for her and gave the greatest gift to us.  I will tell her she’s very athletic and smart – and that I can’t wait until we can meet her together.

Glory fills my heart.  She exhausts me more than I ever imagined but not more than she makes me smile.  Watching her learn and grow is a miracle.  Every word.  Every song.  Watching her fall in love with her family and friends is magic.  She names them every day again & again.

Whoever thought she was the perfect girl to complete my life was right.  Whether it was the stars, my good friend Jesus, or just her amazing birth mom – I am thankful.