A daily...meh, weekly dose of babies, reality, and love.
You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

goodbye, smoochie.

*I just found this post from last week sitting in my queue. Thought I'd post it anyways. 

One time, a few months before Clara was born, I stood in our church sanctuary after the service and chatted with two of my girlfriends. My friend Macey was also big pregnant with her little girl, and our friend Rachael had recently returned from a trip to Mexico. We were talking about vacationing together, and I argued firmly for leaving our children behind (during said hypothetical vacation). Macey and Rachael laughed in disbelief and told me I would feel differently when my baby arrived. I was like, yeah right, fools! I'll be packing that kid off to Grandma's for long weekends and summer breaks before you can say pina colada. 


Tonight I am packing lunch and dinner and my school books, getting ready to leave for a 12-hour day on campus tomorrow. I have big projects and papers due this weekend and I need some concentrated blocks of time to work- which I find impossible when I'm at home with my sweet little distracting family.

I have never been away from Clara for this long. Ever. And I know people do it all the time. And I know she'll have a wonderful day with Sam, who has been gone a lot lately and is excited for time alone with the baby. And I know I need to finish my school work.

But still-
I don't like it.
I don't want to miss out on a whole day of my daughter's life. I don't want to miss out on one minute, if we're really letting our crazy hang out here. Because this is first child syndrome, this is my privilege as a first time mom, this is Clara's right as our first baby. She may be in line to receive an unfair share of our parenting mistakes, yes. But also: We covet time with her. When choosing between 'leaving the baby' or 'taking the baby,' let's just say Clara Horney doesn't see a lot of baby-sitters and I haven't seen a movie since last summer. She is sort of everything around here right now. 

People tease me about this all the time and tell me I'll get over it; and I know I will. Someday I'll be glad to leave her for a weekend at her grandparents, and she will have a grand time being away from us, and we'll all be better for it. But today is not that day. Today I am still taking twelve pictures of her 'sleepy face' in the morning and packing two extra outfits in her diaper bag just in case. Today I still get to be that mom. 

And- surprise!- I'm pretty happy doing it :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

praying for babies

Tonight I closed my eyes and willed myself to remember these moments.
 Clara is getting her top two teeth and had a fever of 104 most the afternoon. She whimpered and cried and clung to me, her hot skin pasting to mine, her forehead warm on my lips, her voice cracking in pain. I cried with her a few times, sort of sinking beneath the desperate inadequacy of my mothering at that point. I bathed her in lukewarm water, I fed her Popsicles, I comfort nursed (which I absolutely never do), I texted friends and sisters for help and advice; I held my girl close. Eventually she fell asleep in my arms as I swayed to her soft song of moans, and for the first time in months, she let me hold her while she slept.

Our baby is an independent sleeper. She does not fall asleep while she nurses, she does not want us to rock her to sleep, and she shifts in discomfort if we try to hold her after she's drifted off. She wants to be in her own bed by herself, much to our dismay. But tonight she let me rock her. Her glossy fevered eyes closed, her mouth opened slightly, and she laid her limp head on my shoulder as I rocked and rocked and rocked.

And prayed.

I prayed for her to rest. I prayed for her teeth to break through. I prayed in gratitude for her life. I prayed for her future. I prayed for myself, as her mother, as an influence in her spiritual decisions.

Then I realized, as I rocked and prayed by the soft glow of the nursery nightlight, that I mostly pray for babies these days.

I pray for friends whose babies are already here, for the mothers and fathers and the overwhelming wonderful pain of parenthood.
I pray for my friends who are growing babies, for healthy deliveries and for healthy newborns, for fingers and toes and developed lungs.
I pray for my friends who are suffering the cavernous depth of loss.
I pray for my friends, my sisters, who lay awake in the still of night and ache for their own children. Whose wombs serve up empty disappointment month after month. Who still get up each morning and bless us with their yearning hearts, their dreaming. Theirs are the babies that change us, by the way. Theirs are the families that grow our faith, the babies who matter most.

Tonight I closed my eyes and willed myself to remember these moments. When the earth is full of mothers. When Sam and I are making a family. When our friends journey beside us. When all seems possible and yet all is so utterly precarious, one teeny tiny heartbeat away from tragedy. These are the days. These are the summer branches drooping with oranges, the bushes thick with berries, the river rapids deep and thunderous. This is our season.

What a time, you know? What a time to remember.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

real talk.

I know that some people have to do life (and marriage) apart. Like my sister, who has a husband in the military, a husband who is an incredibly brilliant engineer and is also gone for months at a time. My husband is not in the military and he only leaves for eight days at a time for his job, but can I just tell you something?


The way I feel about my daughter is like the hot air pumping a balloon through the sky: it is fire-hot, it alternates between deafening noise and absolute quiet, and it operates on magic (for people who don't understand science. like me.) But when my little baby is sick with a nasty feverish spring cold and cannot sleep, and claws her way up my torso while crying and coughing at half-hour intervals for entire moon cycles...I get tired. And worn out. And in the morning, as the sun rises again, as my coffee brews and I put on make-up because I need to remember that I am, indeed, human...


But hey: Sam Horney got home tonight. He walked through our door with a smile and some left-over pretzels from his lunch box and said,
"Woah, the house looks amazing, babe!" and
"Hi Clara! Daddy missed you so much!" and
"Hi baby, thank you for taking care of things while I was gone, I'm sorry she was sick." and
"Let's all get on our bed and have a snack together. Come 'ere, Smooch, let's give mama a break. "

So anyways, as I get tipsy off a half glass of white wine (breast feeding has made me a real lightweight) and the baby is munching cheerios from her father's hand while chanting his name: We are together again. I slept for two hours last night. I have about a million hours of projects and portfolio work due for finals at school this week, but you know what?

Sam is pretty great.
Clara is a pile of love.
And God is good.

Happy Tuesday, Horney friends. Cheers :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

This is how you grieve.

This is how you grieve.

Start with an empty room.

Open your arms, stretch them out in disbelief, tremble with a fear that cannot be
breached, and gather your things. You’ll need some help, here, if you can find it. The
room may be quite large, but also it could be impossibly


shoulder-bending small.

If you find your sad self in this kind of a tiny room, stooped over, nagging kink
in your neck, and fighting an eye spasm, hold someone’s hand and wait.
This room will grow.

Start with an empty room, and gather.
Drag in a table. Line it with dishes, or flowers, or scratched out angry letters, or
bottles of booze, or chewed up plastic straws. Or nothing.

You need this table.
You need a surface.
You need a landing.

This may seem exhausting.

It will be exhausting.

Now find a lamp for your room. Maybe one with a dimmer switch? Because some
days will be darker than others and you want to show the lamp that it is necessary and
yes, lamp, you are appreciated.

You may need more than one lamp.

You will find all of this aggravating.

Pull an area rug to your room. Not wall-to-wall coverage, you need some distance
between you and the floor and the walls and the oxygen.
Your rug fibers ought to cushion your knees:
In prayer. In pleading.
In the frenzy of your wild anger. In the quiet of your stuttered breaths.
Make sure it’s thick.
Unfurl the rug, strand by strand, and feel the weight in the room.
Feel the world beneath your feet, ok?

Imperative: couch. bed. chair. instruments of quiet, feather-filled stops.

Your couch will be important.
Trust me on that.
For the sake of your tired body, trust me on that.
For the sake of aching ribs.
For the sake of solemn skin, stretched too far across hungry cheeks and dry lips.
For the sake of empty elbow crooks.
For the sake of wilted eyebrows.
For the sake of drowsy blood flow and cramping fists.

For the new iron casing around your chest and fingers,
the weight in your bone marrow that you cannot lift or shake or lose.

Please wearily accept the gift of respite:
when you sleep without dreams,
when your baby wakens and calls your name,
when the sun shines hot through your car window,
when you remember how to spice your spaghetti, 
when hope pokes a tiny sprig in your direction,

Find your couch,
Stretch across your bed,
and rest.

Live in your room.
As long as you need, stay in your room.

Welcome in guests, if the room will hold them.
Explore it. Scrape the floor, crawl the corners, examine the bumps in the walls and the cracks in the ceiling. Trace every inch.
Fill a vase or a hundred old bathtubs with your tears.

The dead do not mean well. They come, they go, they leave us behind to tread the deep murky waters of in absentia. Heaven may hold them, but earth holds us, tether bound to the grocery store and decisions for tomorrow, which is terribly unfair when our hearts have recently begun a slow descent into our guts. Who needs grapes and milk at a time like this?

This is how you grieve.
Start with an empty room.
Gather your things.
Settle in.
Move about.
‘Til you are left with one wooden chair.
Send the rug to the cleaners.
Haul the couch to the curb.
Stack your dishes and tidy your angry letters,
water your flowers and give them away.
Sit in the wooden chair.
Remember the room when it was crowded with sorrow.
And when you are ready,
And you’ll know when you are ready,