A daily...meh, weekly dose of babies, reality, and love.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

because motherhood will crack you wide open.

A few nights ago my parents had a Bible study at their house and one of their group members asked me,

"How is your visit to Boston going? Are you just here to relax, or did you come for some sort of business?"

It was 8:00 at night. Both of my kids were bathed and in jammies and still awake, full of whatever business they seem to get full of when it's dark and they are late to bed. I was in my parents' small home which was filled with adults I'd never met before, and I'd been travelling alone with a 2 year old and a 9 month old since 3:30 in the morning on Saturday.

So I wasn't sure how to answer him. 'Cause while I'm definitely not getting paid to do any business during my visit, I'm sure as hell not relaxing in any definition of the word. In fact, these last few weeks have hit me hard. Hit me like an airliner trundling down the runway, like a wind whipping through trees, like a bottle blunt over the head. Sam was on-call the week before we left which meant we didn't see him for days at a time, and then I packed up a big suitcase full of my jeans and sweaters mingled with their smaller jeans and tiny sweaters, and left for a ten day trip with Clara and Sammy to see my family in Boston. I've been planning this trip since my birthday in April when I asked for airline tickets to see my parents, my brother Robert,  my sister-in-law Malia, and my baby niece Elsie. It's good to be here. I am supposed to be here.

But hey, man. I'm tired.
I'm tired from worrying about our plane rides.
I'm tired from the actual plane rides.
I'm tired from parenting alone the last few weeks.
And tonight;
oh, gosh,
I'm tired. Of. My. Kids.
Not of them, themselves, though they can be a little awful,
but of their never-ending need for me and my space and my time.

My friend lost her baby this week, 20 weeks into her pregnancy. Her little boy, she'll never meet him. She'll never hear his heartbeat again or get to shush and sway him to sleep, never get to cut his hair, never have to put him in time-out. It's a heartbreak I'm familiar with, the searing, burning pain of losing a beloved baby. It's a loss a mother does not forget. I've lost a baby and I've kissed the quiet face of another mother's lost baby and I've prayed in anger over lost babies and there's something that breaks in that empty mother that doesn't get fixed. It does not repair. Like a crack in the earth that now contains a formidable rushing river, it is a break so violent that it can absolutely never be repaired.
It can grow a river.
It can produce beauty.
But it cannot be fixed.

Tonight, after another long day with my two year old, the one who never ever ever stops talking and the one who never ever ever stops pushing boundaries, I called my husband behind closed doors and whispered that I wanted to run away from his daughter. I don't know what to do anymore, Sam, I said. She's pushed me to the edge. I'm here. On the edge. I'm out of ideas. And I'm tired. I was calling him from thousands of miles away and two time zones ahead and I just really needed to hear his voice, to hear from someone else who knows the difficult loveliness of our Clara and her complicated, intelligent, manipulative brand of disobedience. I needed another soldier to remind me why we're fighting this good fight at all.

My fellow warrior gave me some advice (he was irate, he is as stubborn as she is and doesn't put up with nearly as much as I do) and then said with resolve,
Don't let her break you, Jess! You know she'll try to break you! 

It was funny, and we laughed, mostly because it's true, but let's be honest.
Motherhood breaks us.
There is no place on a man's body that breaks open and produces life.
But a woman?
No matter what way a baby is born, through a cesarean cut or a birth canal,
a woman is broken open for her child.

These little people, these beating hearts, they break us open. They devastate our bodies and our lives in the most resplendent fashion, carving paths and valleys so deep that they hurt, changing our very landscape with every breath that they do or do not take. The pain of raising my children is carving away at me, with every argument and every defiance and every stumble away from my instruction, the pain of their pain is widening a crevice inside me. This relentless love for my children, the terrifying and determined love of a mother, it chisels in me walls steep with miles and miles of edges and cliffs. I cannot help but love them with a wonder awash in fear, cannot help but want the best for them with a need akin to desperation.
And so the valleys extend.

But then?
Then come the currents.
The river waters begin to swell, begin to swirl, begin tumbling over those dry and sparse grounds we thought we knew so well.
It's all changing, it's all hard, and it's all so achingly beautiful.

It is the very essence of God, of a holy refreshing love, breaking and changing and making space for what will come.
In the suffering, may there be promise.
In the silence, may there be hope.
In the pain, may there be the scent of fresh water. May the rain be fruitful and may the land find healing.

I am in Boston on a dark and cold autumn night and I'm so glad my babies are asleep. Somewhere back home in the chill of an Idaho October, I imagine my friend would do anything to give her baby more time.
Motherhood breaks us open. It cracks us through and through. Tonight I'm praying for refreshment, and for new days. For rivers to come. For cliffs to be beautiful and not just dangerous. For Clara to listen and for more patience and wisdom, and most of all for a mom who is getting ready to tell her son goodbye.

May joy come in the morning. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

don't read this if you don't want a baby.

This kid is just your basic dose of anti-birth control.
He is happy.
He is cute.
He is friendly.
He is sweet.

He doesn't have those stupid looking top teeth yet, the ones that turn babies into hillbillies. I found pictures of Clara at this age and was horrified at her hillbilly teeth.

I dread the day this happens to Sammy.
 Although that bottom one is looking suspicious.

He crawls, he stands, and he falls all day long and I would recognize the sound of that head hitting a hardwood floor anywhere, anytime. He rarely cries when it happens, but he always crawls to find me for a tight hug of reassurance.

He puts up with a lot of different business from a lot of little hands and he is eternally patient and long-suffering.

I tell him "no" and he grins. I tell him "no" again, more stern, and he laughs. He's gonna be difficult to discipline, that's pretty clear.

 He loves being held. He loves giving hugs. He loves everyone.

His sister lights up his world. Here's the scene at my house every morning at 7:30, when we hear him stirring and chatting in his bed:
 Clara bounces towards the nursery shouting "He's awake! Brudder's awake, mama! No problems, I get him!" His grin beams across the room as she reaches through the crib slats to stroke his cheek and say "Good morning, Sammy. Hi! I miss you! Good morning, bubbies!" He smiles and chatters to her. I smile and try to memorize the way they look at each other.

And even when he's sad, it's pretty damn adorable. 

Samuel Iradell Horney V. 
You're nine months old and still hanging on to that favorite child slot, buddy. I'm sure you'll be bumped once you start sassing me or fighting with your sister or flushing jewelry down our toilets, but for now? Enjoy the prestige. 
And your dad should bow down to the maker of the almighty IUD, because you make me want to get pregnant by like, YESTERDAY. 

Love you Sam guy! Love you so so so much! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Explosion.

OK so last night I posted this picture on Instagram of me, with my car full of babies in the background, and laid out the woeful story about how my week (HOW IS IT ONLY TUESDAY) has been, and the overwhelming response was,

"Yeah, but your hair looks great."

And while this affirmation couldn't have come at a better time, seeing as I spent the better part of an hour on Sunday evening plucking out gray hairs (how long does plucking precede hair dye? When should that bridge be crossed?) and bemoaning my extreme post-natal hair loss (seriously, it does not stop. I'm sure an entire underworld, complete with a mayor and a bustling city square, has taken up residence in the nest in my shower drain). So, my hair situation has been depressing, at best.

Especially because I haven't had any hair products or hair tools since July 25.
July 25, 2014.
The Day I Blew Up My Bathroom.

This is the story of the Explosion of 2014. Would you like to know how to take the worst family pictures of all time and eternity? Gather in, I'll tell you. Listen closely so you know what steps to take.

1. Have your baby get really sick the night before your photo shoot. 
I'm talking waking up screaming at 1:00 am covered in vomit so thick that he can't open his eyelids, crying for hours on end and downright miserable sick. This way, he will be pale and limp in the pictures the next day, and you will also be pale and shriveled due to only sleeping for two hours the night before. If you're looking for pallid, squinting into the blessed light of day pictures, this is a perfect beginning.

2. Plan a 15 hour road trip following your photo shoot. 
We planned ours for a family reunion in Colorado. This created plenty of frenzied packing, stressing, and a general sense of urgency around the day that translated really well into the photos.

3. Have out of town family stay at your house the night before the shoot. 
This way not only will your sick baby leave you tired, cranky, and in a hurry to make that 9 a.m. golden hour of light, but you will also feel an unnecessary pull to make coffee and breakfast for your brother and sister in law and their sweet baby. They won't be expecting it, they're much better people than that, but you might as well kill yourself to make it happen. It will make sense later, I promise.
Just kidding, it will never make sense and your pictures will blow.

4. Hire a photographer site unseen because you've been pregnant and/or nursing for almost three years and after one glass of champagne you're cross-eyed drunk and ready to BID THE CRAP out of that silent charity auction. 
It's three months before I will actually make a date to take these pictures, but sure, $100 for a photo shoot and an 11x14 print? Here's my bid number, gents. Just let me know where to pick up my prize. Also, is there a private room where I could use the hand-held breast pump in my purse? Thankssomuch.

5. Try to get yourself, your husband, a 6 month old and 2 year old out the door dressed in their best and beaming with smiling faces. By 8:20 a.m.
Go ahead.

6. Get up first and get ready fast.
Don't worry, you can do a few touch ups before you leave.

7. Leave your make-up on the counter and your flat iron plugged in.
Again, ready for touch ups right before you head out to the photo shoot that you barely remember paying for.

8. Is everyone almost ready? Go drink some coffee. 
You deserve it. You need it. Put your tired feet up for a quick minute and talk to your sister-in-law about how fun the family reunion is going to be.

9. Startle at the sound of a bomb going off. Wonder what that alarming noise just was. 
A shelf that ripped from a wall? A gun shot? A broken water pipe? Everyone needs to slowly lower their coffee mugs and go find the source of the cracking thunder that came from somewhere inside your house. 

10. Search the house. Then open your bathroom door. Blink at the carnage. 
At first the shrapnel on the floor won't make sense. Neither will the mist hanging in the hair, choking all of you. It's ok. You'll start putting the (literal) pieces together.

That's part of the flat iron.
And there's the blow-dryer, cracked in half.
And here's another piece of the flat iron.
And what's this?
A slick and lethal piece of metal, blown across the bathroom, etched in gold with the words "Root Booster".

A tall and thin aerosol can, $50 worth of root boosting magic from my overpriced and snobby salon, BLOWN TO BITS BY THE HEAT FROM MY STRAIGHTENER.

My straightener is strewn in 29 different corners, springs and titanium and cord spread all around my bathroom.
My toiletries bag, packed for our trip to Colorado, packed with at least 5 pounds of shampoo and conditioner and make-up and hygiene products-
has blown over the top of my shower.
Over. The. Top. Of a 6 foot shower door.

Such was the force of this explosion. Weeks later, I would find a tampon on the window sill above my shower. Find scraps of metal plastered to the wall in a film of hair product. Find tiny pieces of make-up brushes and hair spray bottles on the shelf above the towel rack.

So not only was the baby sick and his parents exhausted, not only did our photographer spend two hours calling our son "Sawyer" because we didn't catch it the first few times and eventually were too embarrassed to correct her, not only did she tell us to let Clara "be Clara" which basically just meant disobey our every command because she knew another grown up was letting her get away with murder, not only did this result in Clara skipping away from us and quite deservedly falling into an ankle deep off-shoot of the Boise river and ruining her dress, NOT ONLY was all of this happening on a Saturday morning right before we drove in a rented Yukon for 15 hours to Montrose, Colorado;

but I was also dealing with a minor case of PTSD.
"That could have killed one our kids," I sobbed to Sam as we attempted to clean up the mess before we left the house that morning.
"It could have blinded me, or killed one of us, or sliced our necks open!" I could not stop crying, could not stop imagining all the ways my idiotic mistake could have ruined my life. Sam tried to console me (after starting to chastise me and quickly realizing I was doing a fine job of it on my own) and told me to wipe my eyes and get in the car, because we had pictures to take.
Pictures I was forcing him to take, he reminded me.

I haven't allowed myself to buy any expensive hair product, or replace any of my hair tools since that day, in deep and sincere penance for my stupidity. I have been using a 4" hotel-sized hair dryer I used to keep in my guest bathroom. I have stopped by my friends or sisters' houses before I went somewhere if I really needed any heat styling, sneaking into their bathrooms to use their straighteners or curlers and hair spray.

I have been having a bad hair day since July 25.

Until yesterday. When I finally gave in and bought another flat iron.
Thus, the amazement via internet at what I had the possibility of looking like. Thus, the approval of the world at large.

And in case you're wondering, I don't have any of those pictures to show you. I can't blame all of it on the photographer, because most of the blame lies with Sammy being sick and Clara being naughty and Sam being annoyed and me being strung out on fear,
but the pictures were not worth purchasing.
Not even the free one.

So thanks, internet and instagram friends, for the kind words about my hair. Thank you for reminding an irresponsible, graying old lady that with a little bit of heat and product and trapping two kids in a pack n' play in order to shower and style this head of falling out hair,

I still got it.

with my niece at the pumpkin patch.
before I bought another straightener. 

aaaannnddd 3 weeks later.
Oh bangs. I just can't quit you.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sam's new job.

There are moments, like this one that I'm sitting in right now, moments so rounded out and perfectly in my grasp that I wonder if I've ever felt so completely settled. Don't get me wrong; I still fight with myself every day, an on-going neurosis within my own head that plays back worries and failures and what-ifs like the grooves on a vinyl record. But still, in this moment, babies both asleep and pumpkins on my porch and a house all to myself as the afternoon quietly drifts forward; this moment is warm and still and good.

When these times arrive, maybe just for one afternoon or maybe for an entire month or maybe even a whole year of round and peaceful moments, I tattoo them on my brain. I sew them into the stitching of my story because I find it useful for later, when things are not so good, when things are perhaps downright shitty, to run my fingers along those happy threads and believe in quiet afternoons coming again.

Seven years ago when Sam and I were engaged and planning a wedding for early January, I started praying that he would get a different job. He was a lineman at Idaho Power, a great job that put me through school and takes care of our family very comfortably; but he also traveled all the time.

Since the day we met, his schedule has been:

Home for 6 days and then gone for 8.
Home for 6. Leave again for 8.
Home for 6. Gone for 8. Home again and then leave again and again and again, an endless parade of hard goodbyes on Tuesday mornings as he drove away before dawn. We made it work and before we had kids we could survive- after all, it's not like he was in the military and gone for a year at a time. I always told myself to just deal with the weird schedule and be thankful for the income. Still, it hurt. A friend once pointed out that Sam was gone for over half of every year. That's a lot of gone. So, I joined soccer teams, I joined reading clubs, I was in school full time, I worked full time, and I led two lives.
6 days of married life.
8 days of single life.
And yes, ok, the 6 days at home after a long absence? There were benefits. There were more than excited hugs being exchanged. 8 days apart is a good amount of time for some feverish use up every chance we get kind of sexy time attitudes and I really can't complain about the peppering of DO IT NOW romance sprinkled throughout our life together. It wasn't ideal, but it wasn't awful either...

But still, every day, I prayed that Sam would be transferred to a team that worked in our city instead of all over the state. That he would stop leaving. That he would be home.

After Clara was born, the pain of Sam's absence magnified. A new awareness of how much we needed to be together came with her birth, and as much as we enjoyed 6 full days together when he was off work, the 8 days apart seemed longer and longer. I could barely contend with leaving Clara for half the day while I was in class, and could not imagine leaving her for 8 full days at a time. I felt bad for Sam. And truth be told, there were days that I felt bad for me. I was not a single parent -  I had a loving and supportive spouse - but I was raising my daughter alone for over half the year. The nights I stayed up while she teethed, the nights I did not sleep because she had a cough or the flu, they seemed infinite when I knew that it would be me alone again in the morning, me alone again the next night, me alone again until Sam got home. He missed birthdays, he missed anniversaries, he missed milestones, later he missed ultrasounds for baby Samuel, and I KNOW I KNOW so very well that there are struggles a million times harder than this, but for me?

For seven years?

It was hard. It was lonely. And it got old.
I'm a little tearful as I write this, actually. I don't think I realized how hard some of those days were, or maybe I didn't feel the freedom to be sad or lonely because who can complain about a good job? But I will give myself permission here, in this moment, to say that it was really hard. And I was really tired of it. And no, he wasn't in Iraq, but he also wasn't in our home. He wasn't here for more than half of our life together and that was really hard.

Sam's name has been on a transfer list to work on a 'home team' for seven years. These lists rarely move along because Idaho Power is an amazing company to work for and people either die or retire before a position opens up. We knew that, but to wait the better half of a decade to be together more than 6 months of the year seemed ludicrous. Why wasn't God making this change for us? Why wasn't he listening to my fervent, tired prayers?

I don't know! I don't know why we waited so long. Maybe it's because "waiting" should have left my vocabulary a long time ago. The idea of waiting for a change in order for life to get better or for life to move on is a denial that life IS moving on. Life is happening. This is happening, I say to myself sometimes, three words meant as a reminder that I can't change the now. This is happening. Move with it. Live in it. Rise above it. Dig in. Whatever. Just be here and live here and remember that better days will come but if they don't? These are still your days. The only ones you get. 

Earlier this fall, Sam was offered a permanent position with Idaho Power as a lineman in our town. He accepted. It was a bizarre and sudden change in our lives, to accept this job that we had been waiting and praying for, so many many years of wondering when it would actually happen.

It's here.

This is happening.

Every afternoon around 5:00, I hear the garage door groaning open. A minute later, I hear the muffled movements of Sam taking off his boots outside the laundry room. And then, lo and behold, day after day after day, Sam comes home. He picks up his baby, he chases his daughter for a kiss, he cleans the kitchen after dinner, he turns up Guns N' Roses while he bathes the kids, and he falls asleep next to his thankful wife. After seven years of living life far apart and in a constant state of flux, we are home together. 

Sammy is pulling up and cruising along the furniture, and no one has to watch it via FaceTime.
Clara says things like, "I need an ice pack for the blue marker on my fingers" and both of her parents can roll their eyes together.
I play soccer every Sunday and miraculously do not have to find a baby sitter.

We love and we fight and we are tired and we are raising kids and we are having sex and we are doing laundry and we are growing as a family, growing through the good and the bad and that sweet, sweet taste of the everyday, re-learning our place in each other's lives on a Sunday-Saturday repetition that has never felt so steady and right.

We are home! We are together.
And it's good.

^^ The first time I ever met his family or watched him climb a pole. 
Look at his little baby face! ^^

^^ The second time we started dating... ^^

^^ His birthday a few days before we were married. He was 28, I was 21 and good LORD we barely even knew each other!  ^^

^^ Engagement pic that I still love. Also the last time Sam was ever seen in a sweater. ^^

^^ No kids. Less wrinkles. So blissfully unaware of real life :) ^^

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I like breastfeeding my son.

The other night I was sitting around with some girlfriends and some wine and we were talking about breastfeeding. I have two sort of distinct groups of friends who have very distinct ideas about babies and breastfeeding, and this is the group that thinks it's weird to nurse past like, 6 months old and also that it's kind of weird to make eye contact with your baby while nursing. They are some of my favorite girls and we can laugh easily at each other's differing opinions, but I'm definitely the weird one to them. To be honest, I couldn't care less how other people feed their babies. I love the makers of baby formula the way I love the makers of neonatal incubators and infant CPR training courses. If it's keeping babies alive, then guess what: I like it. I nurse my babies because I can and because I like it, and that's that. If I needed or wanted to use formula, I would, no questions asked. And that's that.

All that being said, I gotta tell you, nursing baby Sam has been hard. Feeding him has been difficult since day one and I have fought mightily to make it work.

A strange commitment for me to make, because I was nervous to breastfeed a boy.
I didn't really want a boy at all, in fact.

I always imagined myself with a gaggle of little daughters, their straight hair cut long with a swish of bangs and their fighting driving me crazy until one day they were suddenly all best friends and we lived happily ever after in a Little Women kind of complicated utopia (except none of them die from a weakened constitution, God bless poor Beth.)

So when I found out a BOY was growing inside me, it really kind of grossed me out. It seemed so unnatural. I am a woman. How could my body be making a MAN? How could a penis, an actual pair of testicles be growing INSIDE MY UTERUS and COME OUT MY VAGINA? It made no sense.

But grow he did and out he came and now, all these months later, I have joined the ranks of all those moms I used to make fun of, the ones who loved their sons with some sort of weird adoration cut from Oedipus's school of thinking, and OK OK I totally get it. It's adorable. Boys are adorable. They are sweet and cute and they think their moms spin the world in their soft, mothering arms and yes, it's different than my relationship with Clara. Not better. Not closer. Just different. I'm sure a lot of that is personality, but I am also sure that a large portion of his personality came way of his chromosome count, so. Yeah. I like him. He's one of the best people I know and he's barely been a person as long as one season of Parenthood.

And breastfeeding him was not weird, it turned out. When he was born, all 4 pounds 7 ounces of him, he nuzzled himself right into my chest and wanted to eat. We happily nursed together, his latch coming and going as he sputtered his way through those first few hours of eating. But then as the night went on, his blood sugar kept dropping and dropping, into the 20's at the worst of it (60 is the lowest acceptable number in our hospital nursery) and suddenly I was being asked to feed him a bottle of formula. To get his sugars up, they told me. Because prolonged low sugar levels can cause brain damage in infants, and other serious maladies. His sugars would not stabilize and soon he was put in the NICU, and thus began my long journey with feeding my son.

I hated nursing him in the beginning. It was like holding a bag of bones, all elbows and pelvic cavity and teeny, tiny head. Nursing Clara was easy, joyful from the start, and nursing Sam was scary. I was scared to drop him, scared to juggle all the tubes and cords attached to his skin, scared that my milk was not giving him the nutrients he needed. Every day in the hospital he was fed formula along with being nursed, and every day in the hospital I pumped 4 times a day, bagging up all that golden colostrum he wasn't able to drink. It was exhausting, it was draining, and it was not what I had imagined. Mind you, he was only in the NICU for a week. I cannot imagine the moms doing this for MONTHS, doing whatever it takes to keep their babies healthy and alive. Being quiet, unsung, exhausted heroes.  Being life savers.

Moms are incredible. Especially Moms with sick kids. I stand amazed at their sacrifices, truly.

When we finally went home, my milk came in and the painful week of engorgement passed slowly. Sam was gaining weight and eating fine, but nursing hurt. Like, wince my way through every dreaded feeding, hurt. And then I got a clogged milk duct. Did you know that milk doesn't come out through one spot on a nipple, like a hose? It comes out through a lot of different holes, like a shower head. You're welcome for that picture. It's common for a duct to get clogged (I didn't know that) and as a result I got mastitis, which is basically an infected breast. Which is mostly like dying a slow death and then coming back to life because, while lying comatose in bed with your two kids because your husband is gone at work, your toddler climbs on your engorged and infected breasts to demand another episode of Bubble Guppies and her knobby knees bring you back to life. You are not thankful. You would rather die.

After the mastitis healed, it took me a few weeks to realize that it still hurt way too much to feed Samuel. I held my breath every time he latched on and couldn't even talk while he ate, it was so painful. I decided to visit the lactation consultants at the hospital, those angels in their quiet office with snacks and water bottles and helpful hints galore. Sam was a few months old by this point and they were surprised to see such an "old" baby needing help, but they spotted the problem immediately (a bad latch because my milk was coming out too fast and he was trying not to choke), adjusted his jaw for me, and it never hurt to nurse again.

NOTE: If you are a nursing mother and ever have any questions or concerns, or you know a nursing mother who is discouraged or in pain or needs any help at all, GO SEE THE LACTATION NURSES. They are a gift from God and know everything about everything when it comes to breastfeeding and babies. Stop googling. Stop asking your dumb friends. Go see the nurses.

So, nine months later, and here's the crazy thing: Sam is still exclusively breast fed. He has some weird stomach problems and hasn't ever been able to keep solid food down. We are seeing specialists about it and I'm really hoping it's something that he will outgrow by the time he's one, but for now I am still his sole source of food and life. I nursed Clara until I was too pregnant with her little brother to make enough milk, but she was eating solid food three meals a day as well. All of this nursing is strange, and a little hard on my body to be honest. I drink Fenugreek tea five times a day, my appetite is really off, and my boobs are, in a word, sad.
But you know what?

I like breastfeeding my son.

I like to feel his fat, capable body, 15 pounds of limbs and rolls, climbing all over me in search of a place to eat. I feel like Jane Goodall, watching this intelligent being coming into his own, becoming acquainted with his mind and perceptions and behavioral ticks.
I like his fat neck. I like his fat knees. I like to feed him and watch him grow, an invisible trail of nutrients straight from my body into his, a strange and perfect food chain that has miraculously kept him alive for 9 months and counting. I like that he eats in four minutes flat, but lingers in my arms and plays with my hair. I like that we have to figure all of this out together, that he has been as patient with me as I haven't been with myself, and that we're doing ok.

I like my son,
this boy that grew in my womb and now lights up the world with his smile.
It's been a pleasure, buddy, and you are worth every second.
I love you so!
I love you so.

in his miniature hospital gown during a test last month.
 the doctor said she's never ever had a baby laughing during the procedure before :) 

all day every day, folks.