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you’re one.

Newborn-Lionel

My sweet L,

I’m writing this to you, my dear, sweet boy, on the eve of your first birthday. You’re down for the count in your crib, nestled up, tummy down, with your heart beating against the softness of your blanket. I know this without even peeking in at you – even though I peek in, every night, and always will – because I’m your Mama. And oh how blessed I am to be.

I remember how it all started. I can hear your father’s words of courage and comfort. I can taste the emptiness that was my stomach, famished and working so, so hard for you. I can feel how much I ached to hold your tiny body close to mine in those twenty-five hours, those thirty-eight-and-a-half weeks, this lifetime, that I waited for you.

And then, at 11:07 in the morning, there you were. Our boy.

I didn’t meet you until later – the eternal bummer of having a c-section under anesthesia – but you and your Daddy got to know each other well in those minutes. You, swaddled, lying skin to skin with your Daddy, your protector, the best role model that you’ll ever have for what a man should be.

I’ll never forget the first moment that I saw you.

You were smaller than I expected, littler somehow. You had more hair than I imagined. But oh, how your little body, warm from your Daddy’s snuggles, fit just so into mine. How you nursed immediately, confidently, determinedly, and oh, how it tingled and rippled waves of pain through my chest. How your little hand clasped my fingers while you nursed that first time – and how still, to this very evening, almost one year later from that first time, your hands still reach for mine when you nurse.

The past three-hundred-and-sixty-five days have been challenging, emotional and immeasurably sweet. I learned what sacrifice is, what it means to be selfless, what it means to love someone in such an all-consuming way that your very breath seems to depend on how long it takes to comfort your cries or how many smiles you offer up in the span of a day.

I’ve been home with you every single day of these past three-hundred-and-sixty-five. I’ve never been away from you for more than a span of a few hours. And what’s interesting, dear son, is that I can’t stand to be away from you, still. While I’m excited and anxious to start my new job this fall – to find a different sense of fulfillment that’s just for me – I will miss you terribly. I will miss our morning naps, our tickle sessions, your constant babbles, our trips to the park, and oh so much more.

It’s been my absolute pleasure and my daily, ever-present gift to watch you grow and develop. I’ve witnessed your many firsts, dear boy – from your first attempts to roll over, your first crawl, your mastery of clapping, “so big,” signing “more,” and so many other special moments. Before you were born, I knew how blessed I would be to care for you each and every day, but this blessing, this gift, has been unbelievably impossible to measure. I wouldn’t trade this past year, with you, my son, for anything in this world or another.

In thinking back over this past year of knowing you, of following your whim, of loving you ever so much, all I have to offer up to you, as a reflection of this past year, is this: thank you, son. Thank you for it all.

Here’s to another year {and many more} of loving you, my firstborn, my son. You will forever be the boy who gave me the biggest and best role of my life – Mama.

I love you to everywhere and back a million times, forever.

– Mama

When Kiddos Are Sick.

Dear Little L,

Last Monday, I woke up with you – you and I were snuggling in bed – and your little body was so, so warm. You had a fever, dear boy, but not like the little fevers that you’ve had before – this was a fever, of epic proportions. Your entire body was radiating heat, and Mama was scared. I took your temperature later that morning – your fever hadn’t disappeared – and your temperature was hovering around 103 degrees. Mama was SCARED – you’ve never, ever had a temperature that high. You and Mama spent the day nursing and cuddling – you just weren’t yourself, sweetheart. You wouldn’t play, you wanted to snuggle, you slept most of the day – you were sick.

Lionel-Resting

Mama was scared, so you and I went to the doctor’s office, where the nurses drew blood from both of your arms – you were so, so brave – and tested you for RSV. We found out later that you didn’t have RSV – thankfully, we were just dealing with a virus, which was most likely a cold of some sort. Your fever had already started to descend by the evening on Monday, which Mama was so thankful for.

But, of course, this week, Mama caught Daddy’s cold, which you then caught from Mama over the weekend, so your poor little body has been dealing with the sniffles and a few real coughs (thrown in between the fake ones that you are so very famous for).

Between all of our discarded Kleenexes and our doctor’s appointments and our diagnoses, what I’ve learned is that when you, my sweet boy, are feeling under the weather, my mama heart bursts with pangs of wanting to take away your sickness, wanting you to only experience the goodness of life, the safe parts, the healthy parts, the joyful parts…not the sniffles, the blood tests – not any of the icky parts. Mama – and Daddy, too – wish so, so badly that we could take away your sickness, even when it’s just a measly cold, or a cranky day, or anything else. We wish that we could protect you from everything, that we could do something, anything to prevent you from experiencing life’s hiccups, life’s hardships. But what you never fail to teach us, sweet boy, is that through and through, you are our brave, strong boy, and you always make it through it all – even the toughest of coughs – with a smile on your face and a sweet glimmer in your eyes.

Lionel-Smiles-Drool

Oh, my sweet boy – being a mama is hard sometimes…but oh, how your little life creates so much beauty in the world, in my world.

Lots of love,

– Mama

Longer in Our World Than in Mama’s Belly.

Dear Sweet, Sweet L,

Today, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, marks 38 weeks, six days of your life. I was pregnant with your precious little self for 38 weeks, five days, and today marks the time when you’ve been in this world, this big, exciting world outside of my belly, longer than you were inside of me – and that’s an emotional thing for this mama.

When I look into your eyes, your green pools for eyes that crinkle half shut when you smile, I’m instantly transported back to that first moment that you and I met. After such a long labor and delivery process, after nearly 39 weeks of pregnancy, after three months of trying for you, after a lifetime of wanting to feel such complete and undying love for someone who was literally a part of me, someone so little and innocent…there you were. And you were more than I ever could have imagined.

Eating-Pancakes

Your nearly nine-month-old self certainly keeps me on my toes, little boy – your curiosity is unparalleled, your enthusiasm for life is infectious, and yet, you still reach for me, your mama, with each new adventure. When you sleep, your little body rests so wholly on mine, and I can feel your breaths even out in measure as you fall into slumber. When I reposition you, when your dreams make you stir, when I make even the slightest movement, your little fingers grasp my skin, my clothing, and as you burrow deeper and deeper into the comfort of my chest, your coziest and most favorite place to rest, my heart swells. Because you need your mama – and that’s been the one thing that hasn’t changed one bit since your arrival in our world.

These past 38 weeks and six days have been remarkable and wholly transformational. Being your mama has given my life a purpose that it’s never had before, and I feel so, so grateful for the opportunity to be the person that you see first when you awaken in the morning, to be the person who your arms reach for when you’re startled or in need of cuddles.

You love your daddy – there’s no question about that, especially when I see your eyes light up and your smile grow ten times bigger when your papa comes through the door every night after work – but there’s something special, something different about your love for your mama. And I feel so privileged to feel that love, that need, each and every day of your life.

Giving thanks today, and always, for your big, little life – all 38 weeks, six days {and counting},

– Mama

Time.

there’s this thing called time, and it moves oh so quickly.

in other words, i can’t believe that i haven’t blogged since november {other than my little post today about my boy’s six month milestone.}

Playing-Toys

* *

i’m feeling all sorts of emotional today.

six months is a long time, and it’s gone by in the blink of an eye. my little boy, still three or four months old in my mind, is now six months, eight hours and eight minutes old {and counting.}

* *

he’s eating cereal now. rice cereal has been a big hit ever since his first meal on thanksgiving, and today, at six months old, he devoured oatmeal cereal this morning.

at our doctor’s appointment on december 17th, i’m going to ask our doctor about giving the little man juice – here’s to hoping we get a big fat yes, because i think he will love. it.

* *

speaking of thanksgiving, it was grand.

lots of eating, lots of pumpkin pie, lots of sweet potatoes, lots of family lovin’.

* *

exciting news: for a few days after the christmas holiday, jord and l and i are headed to the beautiful, snowy hills of south dakota for a winter cabin getaway with our dear friends, brad and robin, and brad’s family! this will be l’s first experience of the mountains – i’m so excited to see what kind of adventures we can find in the hills, and jord is SO pumped to ski! {me, on the other hand, i am SO afraid of heights that me and l will be content just being ski bunnies!}

we’ll be spending many a day at home in brandon/sioux falls over the christmas and new year’s holidays, too – i’m gearing up for nearly two weeks of holiday cookies, homemade cocoa, baby snuggles, christmas traditions and snowy adventures!

here’s to hoping that we see our first snowfall in south dakota soon, soon, soon! hope that you are yours are sledding in soft snow and anxiously awaiting the filling of your christmas stocking in a few weeks!

A Meditation on Nursing.

You’re nearly five months old, dear boy, which means that it’s been nearly five months since I first was blessed with the ability to provide for your every need, wholly and completely. I can’t believe that just five months ago, I didn’t even know you yet. But mostly, my thoughts lately have centered around the fact that just five months ago, I didn’t know what an unbelievably challenging (at first) and rewarding experience that breastfeeding would be.

Nursing-Photo

Before you were born, I read countless accounts of new mamas who were astounded by the way that their little newborn knew exactly how the nursing relationship was supposed to work, even before the mamas knew themselves. I remember wondering if that would be me and you, little boy. And I remember worrying that this wouldn’t be you and me as soon as I heard the words “c-section,” because I had read so much about how the way in which a baby enters this amazing world can determine the success of the nursing relationship. But you, sweet boy, must not have listened to those so-called “experts,” because from the moment that we first locked eyes, from the instant that I first held you close for your very first feeding, you showed me the importance of throwing each and every book off to the side in favor of trusting you, of trusting us to figure this out together. In fact, that’s how the first few weeks of your wonderful, big life worked – you and me (and your Daddy, who was so, so helpful and supportive from the start), figuring out how to do this thing called breastfeeding together.

While I was pregnant, and after you were born, I made sure to keep in mind that breastfeeding can be difficult, and is sometimes impossible for some mamas, despite their best intentions. I didn’t want to set up unrealistic expectations for myself or for you, little L, but you showed me, from that first feeding, that our nursing relationship would not only be sustainable, but would also be so, so special.

I feel extremely blessed to have watched you grow and grow as the weeks and months have passed, and from the start, I have taken your growth and your development so personally, knowing that all of your nourishment is coming from me. When you were first placed in my arms, I was terrified of this responsibility, dear boy. I won’t lie: those first two weeks of your life, I wondered if I was doing anything right – I wondered if I would be pumping forever, if your jaundice would ever go away, if I would ever feel a bond develop between you and I. Your birth experience was so exhausting, so frustrating at times, and I was so anxious to feel that lasting bond develop between the two of us. I held you skin to skin for hours in the hospital, just waiting and wishing for that love that I first felt for you, when I learned that you were in my belly, so tiny and growing, to expand and grow.

And then, just like that, after a short time, every one of my worries evaporated. Your jaundice was so much better after just one day of pumping and bottle-feeding, and we got the go-ahead to start nursing at the breast. And on one night, when you and I were cuddled together in the rocking chair in your nursery, I felt my heart grow and expand in depth and breadth as you nursed, and I fell in love with you all over again. And since that moment, I’ve fallen in love with you countless times: each and every time your little green eyes crinkle and wrinkle as your lips turn upwards into that smile that melts me into a pool of love; playing “Pat-a-Cake” with your feet and watching you watch me sing, waiting for me to get to your favorite part (“THROW ’em in the oven for L and me!”), just so you can giggle and smile; the way that your little head finds that perfect spot in my neck at nap time, bed time, all the time; the new nickname that you’ve earned this past week, Mr. Twisty, for the twists and turns you attempt during diaper changes. Nursing you has been such a blessing, dear boy – I will forever be so grateful to you and to God for such a wonderful opportunity to be everything you need.

{Photo by Larissa Lynn Photography}

xo, Sara