A Letter To My Unborn Son

Dearest Little Owen,

You are due to arrive into this world and our family in only two days. Judging by all of your wild and crazy movement and your attempted early escape four weeks ago, I think you are ready! I may not be a first-time-mom with all the eager overconfidence that makes each pack of diapers and each little outfit an exciting trip down possibilities lane – everything new and unknown and full of potential. But even as an experienced mama, I am nervous and excited to meet you. Whereas the first time around, I was so eager to teach my son everything I could about life, this time I am more eager to learn from you everything you will be able to teach me. I know I have already learned far more as a parent than I ever imagined possible and I am excited to see what new challenges you will bring into my life and the life of our family. I know you will not be a replica of your brother, but with him as my only experience, it is sometimes hard to imagine in what ways you will be different – your own unique person with individual traits and desires, habits and interests, and contributions to all those around you in this journey called life. I selfishly hope that you will look a little more like me, since your brother looks just like his daddy – although you’d be luckier to look like him as well. I hope that you and your brother will be the best of friends and be able to teach each other things that your daddy and I never could. I hope that you will grow to be a generous, caring, responsible, and inspirational man one day. That you will be more apt to listen than to speak. That you will never take others for granted but learn everyday how to meet them where they are in their journey. That you will always know, no matter what, that your daddy and I LOVE you and will be proud of you for the good choices you make, even if they are different from the ones we would choose for you. I hope that you will always be full of wonder and hunger for life and that you will not let the world and its ailments drag you down. I hope that we are able to be good examples for you as you grow, but more than that, I hope that you will surpass us in character and accomplishment as you make your own path. I hope that I can love you as only you deserve to be loved. I have already started and I know that my capacity for this love will only grow as you do. I can promise you that, at times, I will fall short, but I will never give up and I will do my best to be humble and forgiving and I hope that you will do the same for me. My sweet, tiny little man, I hope you have a wonderful birthday. I can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Your Adoring Mama

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Teardrop Prisms

The last several days have been quite the cocktail of difficulties, stresses, joys, sorrows, and everything in between. They contained such momentous things as discovering that we are having our second little boy, monotonous things as spending 17 hours in the car for a 4 day weekend, magical things as Christmas morning (a week early with family) through the eyes of our son, mournful things as the loss of my grandmother, maddening things as dealing with a toddler who ever-increasingly loves to throw fits, melancholy things as watching our little man have to fight off ear and bronchial infections at the same time, and mind-numbing things as self-doubt about parenting skills, family, success, and life in general. Oh, and did I mention I’m pregnant? I am so physically and emotionally drained as of late that I have been putting off writing in the hopes that circumstances would improve and I’d be more inclined to write something positive and fulfilling. But the truth of the matter is, it is not our circumstances that enable us to be positive people or obtain fulfillment. They are merely the scenery along the path we take to get there. Happiness is a choice we all must make daily, whether our circumstances aid us in the endeavor or not. I say this as much to myself as to anyone else who may be reading and need to hear it. I assure you, I have spent more time crying in the last few days than I have spent laughing and I have not even made much of an effort to the contrary. But it is this acknowledgement, this reminder, that puts my eyes back in focus, and helps me to remember that the tears are prism lenses which, when looked through, can make the world either distorted and ugly or vibrant and beautiful depending on our perspective.

Rather than feeling only the loss of my grandmother and the aching void my grandfather must feel after 60+ years together, I MUST remember the beauty of her life and the peace that is attained through her passing and the end of her pain. Rather than getting bogged down in every fit Aiden throws and sometimes behaving just as badly, I MUST remember that my son is TWO and this is normal and I am teaching him by my reactions how to handle frustration and anger. Rather than worrying incessantly about my little boy’s health, I MUST take advantage of a day at home with him that contains no prior agenda and just play away the pain. Rather than seeing the news about our new baby being a boy as a disappointment because, most likely, I will never have a daughter, I MUST remember all the glorious ways that I adore my son and how amazing it will be to experience that again. If I don’t opt for these brighter perspectives, I will wallow in self-pity and pain and fail to see the radiance of life. Tomorrow, I will wake up, I will adjust my focus through my teardrop prisms, see the wild array of colors all around me, and actively decide to be happy. Goodnight.

Never Alone

I had a remarkable “ah-ha” moment yesterday. One that perhaps should have been obvious before then, but in the silly simplicity of the moment in which I had it, it finally sunk in. I am not, nor will I likely ever be alone. I am SO lucky.

I was having an emotional afternoon (which I will blame on pregnancy hormones even though they probably had nothing to do with it) and feeling rather isolated. My list of friends has been dwindling over the last couple of years. There are a variety of reasons for this – Hello! We are not in college anymore; lives change; people grow apart; kids enter the equation – restricting time, energy, and emotions; jobs; hobbies; busy . . . busy . . . busy. I do not pretend to be faultless in my predicament, but never-the-less, I am bothered by it sometimes. Particularly at times when my husband, who is my best friend, has to stay at work till 9 or 10 at night and 90% of my conversations over the last few days have been with a toddler whose biggest concern in life is that he HAS to eat broccoli. Enter yesterday’s “ah-ha” moment:

Not wanting to be stuck at the house all afternoon, I loaded up my son and headed to the outdoor mall where my hubby works to window shop, let Aiden see his daddy before bed, and pick up some food. This is a common past time of ours, satisfying Mommy’s need to shop, Aiden’s need to run around outside, and both of our needs to see Jonathan. However, yesterday I decided to break with tradition and actually go in some of the stores – dangerous territory for someone so broke, I know. But enter I did, with toddler in tow. We went into Ann Taylor, J. Crew, and White House, Black Market. And then, since it was only fair, and since he had been so patient with his silly, clothes-shopping mama, I took Aiden into a sports apparel store called Sand Dollar Lifestyles, that I thought he would enjoy a lot more than what we had been browsing. Inside, there was very little that peaked my interest, but Aiden saw something that completely rocked his world. He didn’t know what category to put them in. Shoes with TOES in them, like gloves!

He kept saying, over and over again, “What’s THAT?” I would tell him and he’d ask again. I figured the best way to satisfy his curiosity was to show him. So we sat down on the bench, measured our feet with the funny rubber foot measurers, and tried on some toe shoes. He stood on the floor giggling hysterically as he pointed at my feet, “Wook, mama!” I would laugh right back at him and tell him to look at his own silly feet. And then it happened. I looked at him as we both sat on the bench trying on shoes, and I realized – I liked hanging out with my son! As a person, an individual. He is now old enough to be a companion and a friend and we have fun together. No longer just a bundle of need, he gives back. Granted, he still takes a lot more than he gives, but he gives! The moment I had this realization, I spoke it out loud to him. “I really like spending time with you, Aiden.” And he replied, “I like you too, Mama!” And I was not alone. I may not be able to have deep philosophical discussions with him (yet), or rousing debates about politics and religion, or toss around ideas about parenting and hobbies, but we can have fun. We can inspire one another to be happy. And that is what’s important. Yes indeed, I am very lucky.

Designing Daydreams Come True!

A couple posts back, I mentioned that it was really time for my big boy to have a big room to match his big personality.  (I know, I know . . . that’s a lot of big.)  It was becoming more and more obvious that, whether or not we were able to sell our house, Aiden needed his own space that was not the nursery he had occupied since he was born:

The Nursery

We decided to go ahead and move him into the other room, since we are planning for another kiddo sometime in the near future.  This room  was initially the guest room and looked like this:

BEFORE: The Guest Room

I have spent the better part of my long, labor-day weekend transforming it into this:

AFTER: Aiden's new room!

I know the sports theme is a bit out of character for us, but Aiden loves sports and balls and I thought this could be really fun.

These chairs make the room! And when I found them for $20 each, it was the last push I needed to go ahead and decide on a basketball theme.

I'm pretty sure Aiden likes them too!

As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure he likes the whole room.

And he liked helping me decorate it too.

All in all, I think we scored a “home run” with this one!  What do you think?

Designing Daydreams

There are several factors playing into my desire to redecorate. The first is the perpetual and seemingly endless search for a new house. We have put an offer on a new place which, despite the uncertainty of actually attaining it (since we have to sell ours before we do), sends my mind buzzing into frenzies of interior design daydreams on a regular basis. The second is that it’s been three years since we moved and, since that time, I have not done ANY redecorating. No matter how pleased you are with your initial design ideas, after three years, they get a little stale.  The third, and probably most pressing, is that my little baby boy is not so much of a baby anymore. He is a big kid with big ideas and  . . . a nursery for a room.  He sleeps in a crib converted to a toddler bed that he barely fits in anymore.  The mobile is still attached to it for heaven’s sake.  It’s time he had a change.  New house or not.  So I’ve started brainstorming some ideas and I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve discovered.

I love the idea of using interesting color schemes on the walls. This is a very unique reversal of how most people paint a room . . . white on the bottom, color on the top. Quite striking!

Speaking of interesting colors on the walls, WOW! I don't know if I'd be brave enough to do something quite this bold, but it sure is remarkable!

Then there's always the option to do something crazy and decorative on the walls in the form of a pattern or a mural. I could definitely see myself doing a simple burgundy sunburst pattern in the corner of a room with light brown walls and then incorporating the same red tone into other room accents. As far as polka dots go, I'm not sure I could handle them on all of the walls, but ONE wall could be really fun.

Another unique and inexpensive way to revamp a room is to use fabric on the walls. This, of course, is a rather girly example, but I loved it so much I just couldn't pass it up.

If I had unlimited funds to buy new furniture and dramatic accessories, I could totally see myself doing something like this. I LOVE the "porch" swing sofa and the map rug!

We may actually look around for some affordable bunk beds. No boy's room is really complete without them, in my humble opinion. This is a perfectly playful bunk bed that would be SO much fun, it might make sleep hard to come by!

Lastly, I couldn't help myself from veering a little in the girly direction - we are after all hoping our next kid is of the feminine persuasion. There is something so lovely about this green and pink combination. I would probably add tan to the mix and make it a bit less flowery, but I love the color palate.

Tell me what you think.  I’d love to hear some other unique ideas for kids rooms.  This is only the beginning of my brainstorming and there’s lots of room for new concepts!