May 26, 2015

Dear Hattie, Month 9

Dear Hattie,

Your first two teeth came in about a day apart between 6 and 7 months old.  Your first top tooth is pushing through now, just as you're turning 9 months old.

I want to make sure I get this all down because someday you're going to have a child of your own and when that child starts to teethe, you'll ask, "Mom? When did I get my first tooth?"  And I'll fake a heart attack to draw attention away from the fact that my record keeping for you, my dear, has been stereotypically lacking.

I can't imagine what you'll think if you happen to marry a firstborn or only child who can produce these facts in a meticulously kept baby book (I'm sorry if you're reading this and asking the person next to you what a "baby book" is).  You will be able to search this blog and see that, even though I haven't written you as many letters, or tracked your every movement, I did manage to record when you got your first teeth.  While I'm at it . . .you sat up on your own at 6 months old and you started solid foods between 6 and 7 months.

Oh, and you started crawling between 8 and 9 months. Just barely. You sit and whine a little bit before you'll actually push yourself up and scoot. You have three siblings who cater to your every whim, so you've learned that whining is sometimes faster.

Last night we were in your room and I was putting away clean clothes. You pushed yourself up and crawled a few inches, then dropped to your belly, shot me a desperate look and whimpered. I took a step toward you, but then sat down and encouraged you to come to me.

Oh, boy. This made you M-A-D. Your cries almost brought me to my feet, but I just continued to encourage you and put my hands out until you made your way across the room and finally grabbed my hand.

And when our hands touched?  There was great rejoicing. You still had tears in your eyes, but you were laughing, too.  By that time, your Dad and siblings had joined me in cheering you on.  We all said, "Yay, Hattie!" at least a dozen times. You looked so proud of yourself.

It would have been so much easier and faster if I'd just picked you up, but oh man . . . we would have missed out on a great celebration when it was over, and the rest of the family wouldn't have had any reason to be a part of it.  Think about what we all would have missed!

Your Dad and I have been talking a lot lately about what kind of story we're writing as a family. Good stories don't come from everything being easy.  No offense to anyone who might get everything she  wants on the first try, but it makes for a boring story.  When your story involves frustration and struggle, the pain of heartbreak, the sting of rejection or loneliness . . . that's the stuff of good stories. Those are the stories that draw others in, when they would otherwise have no reason to be a part of it.

When those things someday all come together to tell who you are and where you've come from . . . those are the stories that people want to read. Those are the stories that can preach. And sometimes they're the stories that end with a mix of teary eyes and laughter. 

Sure, it's easier to just have everything handed to you . . . but just think about what you might miss!

I love you, Hattie.


May 21, 2015

I'm obsessed . . .

. . . with baby birds. Our new house is home to so many. I can't really put my finger on why I have this obsession. Let's face it . . . baby birds are kind of ugly. I mean, in a cute way, I guess. But Kyle and I have made all kinds of unsavory comparisons to their appearance. 

Robin's nest, May 10

Cardinal's nest, May 9

It's brand new life. The fact that there are these vulnerable creatures sitting so precariously off of our front porch and under our back deck . . . it's just overwhelming. Anything could just come along and take them out. A predator, a storm, a stray baseball . . . anything. But Mama bird just keeps doing the next right thing for her babies. She doesn't seem to be worried about what might happen tomorrow. She's just doing what she needs to do today.  Sure, something bad could happen (and boy does she squawk whenever she sees me nearing her nest), but it doesn't keep her from moving right along. She doesn't panic.

Robin's Nest, May 16
Robin's nest, May 19
It's amazing to me that these Mama birds know exactly what to do, without any help from the library or the Internet. They didn't have to read any books on the best way to build a nest, or search forums for advice on feeding a baby bird. They didn't take classes on laying their eggs. They don't need a schedule for when to keep their babies warm or when to go out and search for food. They just do what needs to be done. These birds are amazing little creatures.

Robin's nest, May 19
Cardinal's nest, May 21
I know that my life is more complex than these. None of them have a mortgage or kids in school or a lifespan beyond 2 - 3 years.

Still . . . I have so much to learn from watching these birds.

Cardinal's nest, May 21