Monday, May 19, 2014

Captain Sleepy Head

For a little boy who wears pajamas with the tagline “Captain Sleepy Head” he sure lives up to “Captain Sleep Next to Mommy’s Head” better. I guess this would take up too much room on his tiny 9-month nightshirt.

As advice poured in from well-seasoned parents previous to Arie’s arrival, the phrase: “whatever you do, don’t let him sleep with you” trumped ALL counsel. We never thought it would be an issue in our family, as our little man made his way into his crib at eight weeks old, sleeping twelve hours each night without interruption. The truth seemed too good. After a rough season of colds, flu, and upper respiratory issues, resulting in many nights next to us in our bed, this “too good to be true” routine was no longer.

With an over priced video monitor, that was just shy of being able to administer nighttime medications, as new parents we just couldn’t rest without him by our side.  At the time, we did not have fear of the future; picturing our eighteen-year old son still in bed with us, but nearly four months later, we’ve grown concerned.

It’s like our “dirty little secret”. Advice ringing heavily in our ears, not wanting to admit to the fact that even after receiving warning about this exact situation, we have somehow found ourselves deeply entrenched in this accidental turn.

As I heard Captain Sleepy Head awake from his crib in the middle of the night, calling to come into the much more comfortable, king-sized arrangement, I’m not going to lie, my heart was at ease. There’s something so fulfilling about wrapping my arms around this luscious little bundle, and pulling him towards my chest as we complete our night’s sleep. After so many years of waiting for these moments, why wouldn’t we want this? I get it; it’s a behavior, a conditioned one that only we have created. But sometimes behaviors are well worth the consequences that are tied to modification. I doubt when Arie is eighteen he will continue to reside in our bed, that would just be weird, and I bet he would think so too. But for now, there is just nothing weird about it; it’s just too natural and fulfilling. So here’s to another night “Captain Sleep Next to Mommy’s Head”!   

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

No Need For A Map

As humans we desire to know answers that depict our future, much like a road map, providing direction through life’s winding paths. But in some instances we are not handed life’s map, but rather a compass. This is a story about two friends, two journeys, one perfect plan.

Shortly after Jeff and I moved to California I was introduced to what felt like my twin, my best friend, Joni. Initially introduced because of our interest in running, our friendship was built on many hikes, runs, and outdoor-adventures. Little did we know, there was something much greater in store for our friendship.

With our common desire to one day become mommies, we would spend hours, dreaming of mommy-hood and planning our futures together, everything down to our “dual” baby shower. We had it all mapped out.

As time marched on, so did our conversations, drifting from the ever so hopeful topic. Pretty soon we stopped planning, it was getting depressing. It was at this point in the strenuous trek Jeff and I decided to pursue adoption. Both our families continued in our individual journeys to parenthood.

The day finally came, I remember getting “the” call from Joni, announcing their pregnancy. I was so happy for them. I could not stop shopping. Auntie Sarah was out of control. Amidst my celebration, I grew concerned with our own process. Would this ever happen to us? Would we still be mommies together? Jeff and I had started our adoption process but there was no way we would ever catch up, this could be a three-year voyage.

Plans continued to go against expectation. Joni and her husband’s pregnancy became a devastating downward spiral. After several weeks of enjoying the new idea of becoming parents, Joni’s pregnancy rapidly shifted into one of worry, stress, and grief. The journey went from the elated emotions of finding out they were expecting twins, to the loss of one baby within the first trimester. This grief continued, in following appointments finding out about their little girl having Down Syndrome, heart difficulties, and a struggle to grow in the womb. The road for them felt less traveled as feelings of emptiness and sadness filled their minds as they were sent home at 21-weeks to “lay down, rest, and prepare for the worst.” I remember lying next to Joni that day; we just cried!

Time continued on, Joni laid low, followed the doctors orders, and the baby continued to truck along, not growing much but had a strong heart beat. This little warrior princess was proving to be a fighter. Mom too continued to fight, bedridden in the hospital for the month leading up to the baby’s birth at 32-weeks.

Life for Joni and her family started looking up, although storms were still in the forecast, God had a plan all along. After 120 days in the NICU, two heart surgeries, and two years later, sweet Canon Joy, had made her mark! A true miracle.

Shortly after her last heart surgery, Jeff and I completed our adoption home study. It was a month after Canon’s first birthday, our little Prince Arie was born and came home to be a part of our family. No waiting around for us! Now the two have play dates and will grow up side by side. We caught up!

Looking back, God knew His plan. Maybe not providing the road map with clear direction but keeping us strong in our faith, always pointing us to hope, allowing us a firm grip on His compass. Through the stress we could rest assure He was in control, we just had to wait patiently to see the outcome. The evidence is in our two blessings, two journeys, one perfect plan!