Friday, July 31, 2015

The Best is Love

(Five weeks and trying to fly)

She is old enough now to want to stare at my face for hours. Well, until she is hungry or pooping or sleeping again. And it makes me stop life and just stare back. Mostly because I am not used to someone adoring me like that—wanting nothing more in life than to just SEE me. And I know it won’t last forever. She will figure out the TV has more interesting faces. She will want to discover everything else in life. But right now, it is just me. Mommy.

I know that every moment I invest in her is worth it. She has taken over my life. And I don’t hold it against her—I love her even more for it. How weird is that? I wonder if I have more kids, if I will have anything like this kinda time for them. The newness would have worn off by then. The first kid will be calling loudly. Life will continue to claim my time. I feel rather sorry for any future kids I have already—because all kids should be given time—this individual investment. This eye contact. This running conversation that I have with her about everything and nothing because the baby book says it is mentally stimulating for her.

I tell her she is one lucky girl. All she wants is food—all she understands is food. And I give her so much more…because I have been given so much. I give in direct proportion to what I have received. Then a thought tears through me: what of the parents who have nothing? What do they give their babies? I think it is harder for the parent than the child because they know exactly what they are not giving whereas the child only understands a small part of what they are missing (at least when they are young). Poverty now looks even uglier to me.

If something were to happen to me, suddenly, I want her to know how much I loved her. I am not sure how to write that in her baby book—at least not in a way that will explain and soothe my absence over all ages and phases that she goes through. I don’t know how this whole thing works, being a parent, but I think it is pretty much about doing the best I can with what I have right now. And the best is always love.

Monday, July 27, 2015

One Month of Ana Sofia

Can’t believe she has been in our lives for only a month. As with all phases of life, you find the page turned and you know this is the right place to be, and you know how you got there, but it still feels a bit surreal and foreign—but at the same time—like you’ve always been here.

She takes life so seriously. She is a whole, complete person in a very little package. And she has three objectives: eat, sleep, and poop. And these things take up her whole life. She puts her whole self into getting these three things done.

I read a lot of baby books before Ana Sofía was born, but I still had to google: 1. How to give her a bath (answer: everything is easy after the umbilical cord falls off) 2. How to swaddle (answer: Ana will eventually get her hands free no matter what) 3.How to cloth diaper (answer: just do it and keep figuring out as you go—which went great until the washing machine broke) 4. How to use the breast pump (answer: CAREFULLY turn the pressure up.) Caid was so excited to be able to have a bottle to feed Ana. He was like “Now she will love me!”

This sentence stayed with me. Because it is true. There is a way that babies look at the person that feeds them that is overwhelming. She looks at me like I am everything. And to her, I am. I look at her and see someone so new and innocent. Then I look outside and wonder what the heck happened to everyone else.

I can fit into all my clothes, and am walking/doing postnatal yoga and Pilates, and feel rather proud of myself. The first month has gone really well, and quite frankly, very easily. I keep waiting for it to get really hard and horrible like the stories I hear. I know it has gone so well because of the kindness of so many, and being able to have such a nice vacation/recovery time. Thank you everyone!

I am reading a book and it says that the first part of marriage (pre-baby) is about realization: “How we are different, how we are alike, how our expectations must change, and how we can become one.” The season as new parents would then be of wonder, “When we are reminded to sit back and observe all that God has done for us, through our infant’s eyes.” (toddlers are then a season of discovery)

“As parents we have a special privilege of knowing God from two perspectives. As we longingly hold our babies in our arms, we catch a glimpse of how God, our Father, loves us. Our feelings as earthly parents cannot compare to the love God has for us, and yet our parental emotions are a wonderful taste of what His love for us is like. At the same time, we catch a picture of what it means to be the child our Heavenly Father loves.” –“And Then I had Kids” by Susan Alexander Yates

Rosebud on the Pulpit

Growing up, whenever someone had a baby, there would be a rosebud on the pulpit at our church. I kept hoping someday it would be my family’s turn. During announcements, or in the bulletin, they would announce who was born to whom. I loved showing up at church and seeing the flower, and wondering “Who is it now?”

It was my proudest moment, when at six years old, I got that rosebud at the end of the service and took it home to my newborn sister. We were famous! No rosebuds at our church here in Brazil, but this Sunday we dedicated Ana Sofía to Jesus, and it was another proud moment.

Pastor Flavio preached on Matthew 6:21 “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” He admonished us to lay our treasures into Christ’s hands, and the picture struck me solidly as exactly what we were doing that morning…putting Ana Sofía into Christ’s hands. Flavio said that God had entrusted us to take of Ana Sofía, and today we were letting everyone know that we would take that responsibility seriously, and train her up in the way of the Lord.

To me, it seems like publicly saying we trust God to take care of Ana Sofía, because we can’t control life…but the little bit we can share, we will share with her, full of the love of God.
(vlog with the dedication service soon to be posted!)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mid Year Update on us Fergies

Vlogs instead of newsletters this summer! Saving some trees. So grateful to all of our supporters, especially our family, Community church of Shelbyville, Greenwood, and Horizon Central!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Three weeks of Baby Pictures

Three Weeks of Baby Thoughts

1. I have almost gotten over needing to check and see if she is still breathing
2. She looks really ugly when pooping sometimes and I pray her face does not get stuck like that
3. Gas smiles are adorable. I kept wanting to think they were the real thing, but then I would have to say her “boob fights” (where she pushes away/eats hand instead/goes after her blanket/won’t open mouth enough) are on purpose too. I’d rather say she is just oblivious in all areas. 
4. I am sure my boob will suffocate her one of these times
5. They said I would forget the pain. I said I wouldn’t. I did. I mean, I can still remember it was the MOST PAINFUL THING I EVER DID in capital letters, but the whole pain part faded into the whole “whew that is done” oblivion. 
6. Typing one handed is common, with a sleeping baby draped on me, or a sucking baby attached to me. So is one handed eating—she does not seem to mind random dropping crumbs. 
7. We are both used to being slathered in milk. It gets everywhere. And fast. 
8. I remember thinking my new-mother friend was a little silly for not watching the action movie with me. I now see her point. Why add violence to part of my life when there are a million and one scenarios already playing out in my head of my child’s demise? Same reason why I never watch scary movies—life is scary enough without it. Besides—why not actively put positivity and happiness into my life instead? Where are all the happy movies??
9. She isn’t a baby. I have not turned into a baby person. She is just a little person who is very focused on three things: eating, pooping, and sleeping. 
10. I have never liked killing bugs. Growing up I would capture and release them into the wild. I now kill bugs without a second thought if they come near my girl.
11. The hair on top of her head is receding and the back hair is growing. Mullets can be hidden with hair bows. What do you do if you have a boy?
12. Adventures in rural Brazil wearing a baby pouch sling. The double takes. The jaw drops. The pointing and commenting, “THERE IS A BABY IN THERE” in capital letters. The parenting advice from total strangers. Everyone loves you when you are holding a baby.  
13. I am so blessed. First week was like a baby honeymoon, where Caid and I got to hang out and figure out BABY. Second week was baby and me while Caid was working. Ana and I got to watch movies and read books on my kindle. Third week is winter break while we start planning the next semester. I look at my daughter sleeping on me and feel bad that I probably will not have this much time to just STARE at my next kid.