Thursday, August 27, 2009

Just Like You

This is how we found Miles last night.

The house became eerily quiet, which usually means Miles is getting into trouble somewhere.

Instead, we found him in the garage, putting on all of Cole's Lacrosse gear.

Move over Daddy, Miles has a new Role Model.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The house was quiet tonight with the exception of the constant hum of the central air. I hesitated to bathe you as the oppressive heat of the day would only be compounded by the warm sudsy water. But such is the ritual, and somehow watching you stretch and splash in the water each night washes away my stress, and soothes me as much as it does you.

With no other children demanding my attention tonight, I take my time dressing you for bed. I massage the Baby Magic into each of your tiny toes, your earlobes, the rolls of your thighs. Even with the sun still hanging in the sky, your eye lids are heavy. Quickly I swaddle you in your blanket, a habit for you since the day of your birth. You, my only baby who seems to need the comfort and security found in a few simple folds of flannel.

Greedily you eat, struggling to keep your eyes open. I stroke the peach fuzz of your soft, round cheeks and slowly you surrender. The suckling becomes slower, your breath heavier. At last I feel the full weight of your thirteen pound frame grow limp in my arms.

Quietly I lay you in your crib, tucking the "cozy" grandma gave you around your body. I stop for a moment in awe at how long you are beginning to look in what once was a spacious crib, too vast for my little baby. I close the blinds. 8:08 pm and the world outside is still buzzing, neighborhood children shrieking, a lawn mower motoring.

It isn't often that the house is this quiet. And for a moment, I'm unsure of what to do with myself. The dinner dishes are done, the baby is down and Tony and the rest of the children are, dance, a late night bike ride. Eventually I settle on a new book and climb into my own bed. Before long, darkness sets in and I too fall asleep, weary from the heat and the constant busyness that summer brings.

I awake at one and lay awake, keeping an ear on the monitor, waiting for the familiar first strains of your cry. Silence. I turn over and watch the clock. 1:37 am, silent. 1:59 am, silent still. Sleep comes again, but I wake in a panic. 2:42 am.

I quickly make my way down the hall to your room, and reach for you in the dark. You stir and I feel grateful to find you warm and breathing. Followed immediately by feeling foolish at my fear. I tip the shutter just slightly so the pale moon light floods your room. Peacefully you sleep, arms flailed above your head, lips moving slightly in a subtle sucking motion.

I return to bed, but sleep fails me. My body has grown accustom to the nightly wake up calls at 1 am and five am. It isn't that I'm not tired....of course I'm tired, as most mothers with a newborn are. But that little burst of adrenaline won't allow my mind to quiet down enough for sleep. And so I lie there and I wait for you.

Finally at 4:29 am, I hear you softly coo. Again I make my way to your room and peek over the edge of your crib. Your eyes are wide and dark. Immediately you grin, and dimples blossom on each of your cheeks. I scoop you up, eager to hold you and feed you. We snuggle and eagerly you eat, vocalizing your thirst with every suckle. Ten minutes and you are finished, satiated and arching your back as you stretch.

I put you to my shoulder and pat your back. You lay your head against my cheek and I feel your soft breath on my neck. You sigh in contentment and soon you sleep once again. This time I am in no hurry to lay you in your crib. I rock you for several minutes and savor the sweetest sleeping baby, safe in my arms.

In your first month or so of life, I spent half the night awake with you. How I longed for the day when you would sleep through the night. But now that it's here, now that you consistently sleep eight hours each night, I find it bittersweet. The truth is, I miss you Baby Blake. I miss our middle of the night snuggles. I miss rocking and holding you with no time constraints and no distractions. I miss sharing the quiet peace of the night with you on my shoulder. I will forever miss feeling the closeness of Heaven surround us as we shared our daily night-cap.

Love you Blakers,


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fresh Eyes

Last night I crawled into bed before 9 pm. Tony and I have been up the last three or four nights talking. Talking about our kids, his Leadville race, business, religion. Just the general things we discuss every night, only deeper and more expansive. I've had a string of several late nights, followed by very early mornings getting Rachel to dance, combined with one little two year old who has decided to wake up every few hours now that his 4 month old sibling is sleeping through the night. I was exhausted and grumpy.

Tony came in around 9:15 just as I was drifting off to sleep. He opened the blinds a bit, turned on a light or two and noisily slurped on his slurpee, happily chatting away with me about the TV show he thought I was watching. I snapped at him that I was trying to sleep, angry at his inconsideration. He quietly left the room and left me to my moodiness borne of sheer exhaustion.

He came to bed around 11:30 and I felt his warm hand on my cheek. When I stirred he held my hand. "Susan passed tonight." He whispered. And immediately my eyes were open trying to find his in the dark.

For months and months, we have watched our friend Elden tenderly care for his sweet wife Susan as she battled breast cancer. I have never witnessed a more beautiful love story unfold as together they courageously endured this most difficult of diseases with dignity, humor and uncommon determination. Together they worked to raise over $500,000 in donations to the LiveStrong organization, hoping that this money will one day help find a cure. They are both an inspiration to me in so many ways and I am overcome with sadness for them and their four brave children.

After Tony told me, I couldn't sleep for hours, trying to process what a huge loss this is for Elden and his family. I recognize that I am only human, but I was embarrassed that I had lost my temper with Tony over something so insignificant. Especially on that night when one we care about so deeply was sleeping alone in his bed for the first time, wishing he could talk with her, hold her hand, touch her cheek as she slept.

Surviving six years of infertility has given me a profound sense of gratitude for my four incredible children. I take more time with them. I am more patient with them, more present in the day to day. Specifically, I am filled with wonder that I am blessed with their tender care, that I have the honor and privilege of being their mother.

Susan's passing brought these same feelings to my heart about my sweet husband. How often I take him for granted and simply expect that he will take care of all of us. He is such a blessing in my life and all too often I fail to tell him how incredibly lucky I feel to be his wife. There isn't anything he wouldn't do for me if I but ask. He supports me in all that I want to do. He validates my feelings. He listens to me and cheers me on. He is quite simply my best friend. Most importantly, he makes me feel safe. I trust him without question and know he would never do anything to hurt me or our children. I have never met a more loyal person.

As I watched him sleep this morning, I saw him with fresh eyes. After fifteen years, he still makes my heart race. He still makes me laugh. He makes our life together work. I am so grateful that he belongs to me and that we are headed in the same direction...together.

And I am grateful for the Nelson's. For sharing so much of their story with us so that we might be reminded of the treasures found within our own home. On his blog, Elden told us to "Fight Like Susan" and I know he intended those words to represent her incredible fight with Cancer. But for me today, Fighting Like Susan means never wasting another day Fighting or Angry with my spouse. Life is too short and he is too important to me.