Tuesday, October 30, 2018

One year ago today was undeniably the day we would welcome our son.  We'd checked into the hospital the afternoon before, and after a long night... things were underway. My water broke of its own, while I sat with my godmother in the hospital room. She was the only family to arrive so far, we'd told everyone to hold off because labor wasn't progressing as far as we knew.  She hadn't received the message and drove from Renton to spend the day waiting with us. Thank God, because literally it was as she said a prayer over us that things started to suddenly happen.

From there, we continued to discover that my body wasn't going to do things "normal" - but it was going to do them, in its own confusing, amazing way.  It was a healing experience - a tying together of my body, mind, soul that had been severed apart many times and for many years. Very few things happened as I'd been told they would. And basically every item we'd written on our birth plan as a "would like to avoid" got checked off one after another... including having a Halloween baby.  But it didn't matter... we loved our story. We loved being in it. We operated as a team, we trusted and watched and worked. And in the end, through a cesarean delivery at 12:25am we welcomed our son, Nolan into the world.

His birthday is the 31st, but the 30th will always be all about him and the goodness and healing that was worked in me on that day. It will be about new beginnings - about light in the dark. That's the word we both felt deeply in our beings from the earliest days of our pregnancy. The grief. The glory. The pain. The healing. The guilt. The gratitude. The light shines in the dark and the darkness has not overcome it. 

Nolan William Robert, be a light, Son, in dark days and bright times alike. 



Nolan - Son of the Champion. A reminder that we can be brave and courageous because others were first.  Be grateful for the hard choices of others that paved the way for your own. A brave and victorious legacy. Champion.

William - Resolute Protector. A piece of his Dad's name and his character. Be strong and use that glorious will of yours to stand up for others, protect and guard. Defend what it is you discover you are called to protect.

Robert - Bright Fame. Light. Be who you are; it matters greatly to the world around you and the story unfolding. My godfather's name; a man who beamed with joy, love and strength. A man born 68 years ago today, October 30th.



I've never thought about it before, how beautiful it is that he waited until the start of a new day - the morning. Darkness still everywhere, the promise of morning light. 12:25am.

My dad calls Halloween a dark day - I guess that was the day God saw fit to call this new little light into the world. It's really rather perfect.

Friday, February 23, 2018

I'm a schedule person - a todo list person - a boxes checked person. It feels so good!  And there is something in me that keeps stretching out, craving that schedule. A new normal. Something to organize and erect like a golden cathedral to look to - a bell tower to direct my days with its ticks and tocks.

But its foolish just now to try. This baby boy is yet to fit into any exact schedule, and I'm trying to let this change me a bit, reform me before I begin trying to squeeze him into boxes. For now, I watch his rhythms and I move with them. I study him and try to learn how he tells me what he needs, what he feels, what he sees. And I'm doing my best to learn how to fit the rest of life's requirements in there too, around him.  And I sometimes day dream about a predictable, organized life where I begin scanning my favorite blogs with a cup of coffee at ___am each day, drawing in inspiration. Then clocking into work at ___am. Nolan up at ___am. Down for a nap at ___am. Clocking out at ____am. Where I can schedule things, create calendars, have room.

Not yet. Right now I watch for little hands that still and lay beside him, long looks, a yawn. There it is - time for a nap.  And I note the time, watching for a pattern, ready for a schedule. Soon, I tell myself, soon.


Tuesday, February 06, 2018

I haven't blogged in a long time, but I need to write and for me it's an all or nothing practice. I can't let the waters run free in one place and damn them up in another. That's how this blog has always worked - it allows those odd streams to trickle out and find a home. Today, I'm writing bios and team descriptions for work and for them to keep moving I have to blot my pen a bit here too with thoughts about another person I know.

I was lucky enough to spend the weekend with some friends. John had arranged for the framing of the basement to start and we needed to get Nolan out of the house for those couple days. When a last minute invite to drive to some friend's family beach house came, I jumped and rearranged my previous plans.

All that isn't important to know. Where it gets us is here though - sitting around a kitchen island, talking about the man not there. John. Everyone was saying how much they wished he was there and how they missed him, liked him, yadda yadda yadda. I love hearing it. And I hear it a lot. More than I've ever heard anyone be liked - I hear people like John. And I'm an analyzer, I want to know why. I might come across like a terrible wife for it, as if I don't know that I married one of the greatest guys. I do know, but I know from lots of long talks, tearful conversations, sweet responses, humble replies, kind looks, hard work, emptied trash, thoughtful questions, sincere texts, boring nights and fun dates, secret gifts, and positive things said behind people's backs. What I want to know is how they all know, and how everyone seems to know so quick. What is it about the guy that made every person in my life tell me "I like that guy!" after meeting him for a second?

I don't really know the answer yet, but my current hypothesis is they can sense they're safe - he is kind, intelligent and humble, and that comes across quickly, maybe from his questions. He asks questions. And he makes people laugh. But he doesn't use sarcasm to do it. You know that quote you always see ascribed to Eleanor Roosevelt? "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people." John is never a small mind. I think that is why people like him so damn much. I like him for that too (also, his cute butt). ;)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Grateful

I have a couple friends a season or so ahead of me in life - I call them mentors and friends. And when they are willing to somehow share openly a glimpse of what is going on in their life, I always walk away with a bit more perspective. What a gift to get to do now with an eye of what's right around the corner. I am beginning my 11th day of being a parent to a human in the outside world. John and I are constantly checking to make sure our son is breathing. We've poked him. We have no control over our schedules and end up botching most attempts to arrive at our doctor appointments with a well-fed, ready to just sleep baby.

To know that the worry doesn't end - that the concerns change from SIDS to college applications and then to a myriad of new developments in a blink is hopefully informing my very first attachments to my son.

We feel so grateful in these first days. Grateful for our child. Grateful for my body. Grateful for healing. Grateful for friends with 3 month olds who arrive with takeout at the hospital, because they remember just how sick you get of hospital food. And who tell you, sleep is near, we promise. Grateful for friends a few years ahead of that, who drive over to listen to your baby breathe and assure you it's normal - demonstrate how they bounce their baby to sleep - set up a sample sleeping arrangement that worked in real life for them - tell you, you are doing good. Check in on you. For those who offer to lend us swaddles, bouncers, clothes, etc. and tell us what worked for them. For those who show up with a cup of coffee.

Grateful for an unbelievable medical team and hospital staff. Grateful for giving birth in today's times. Grateful for epidurals (there I said it). For kind, funny, attentive nurses. For doctors who helped us manage our expectations, always kept us informed, listened to us, and worked with us as we tried every option we could, always keeping our son's safety first.

Grateful for family members who sat patiently in a hospital room, or anxiously by their phones all day and night and into the earliest hours of the next to hear he was here, and lay eyes on his perfect face with us. For grandmas who've held our son so we could sleep.

Grateful for those friends a season ahead to remind us - the days are long, but the years are short. You can never fail by..... this or that. Those who's children are newly grown and facing the challenges we ourselves just faced. Grown "children" - new adults we look at and think, I hope Nolan grows up to be something like that. And so, we drink up every word as we watch these friends hold our newborn child, telling us to be his cheerleader - raise him to hear the Lord, and then, trust him to. Find wisdom in him. We watch these friends hold our newborn child, and listen to them share a little about the joys and pains of the next season ahead, their current world, and we think, I hope I grow up to be something like that.


Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Things I want to fill my home with -

poetry
soft places to sit
solid places to share and eat and stand
warm blankets and looks.

music.

clean smells, crackling fires, cool breezes that move curtains.

bread, bubbling fruit in the oven - apples, blackberries, peaches, cherries, plums, especially plums, wrapped in crust and cinnamon, and everything that can compose and rise, sweet in a kitchen.

a place to come and go and come again.





Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I have what I believe is an unusual number of early memories. All simple and ordinary and priceless to me these past 26 or more years. We moved right before the end of my preschool year. I know this because I road home from that school with my sisters in Tina's brown pickup.  She shot some sort of little pop gun out her window at another student.  We drove to her house - across the street from our new huge house.  The one with weird stuff on the walls, the big back yard, my own room - and most importantly the one next to Elise, Robert, and soon Tyson.

I mark my early years this way - before and after the move.  The old house. The new house. So I have the benefit of knowing all the memories preserved in the old Edmonds house are from my first 4-5 years of life.  When I speak with most people, they have a couple blurry memories from these years of their life.  I have almost as many from those years as all the childhood years to follow.

Sitting at the kitchen table with my dad while he played a voicemail for me - "Hi, this is Ivy. Elise and I are wondering if Kati is free this afternoon to go to the beach with us?"  The photos from that day rested on our wall for the next decade. The sound of that message still rests in my head, the mischievous smile on my Dad's knowing face as he played it, and then told me I could go. He probably toyed with me a bit first, as he is prone to do.

The memory on my mind today is from weekend mornings - my parents up, blaring music over the speakers Dad had set up in the kitchen.  The feeling of waking up to a happy, melodious house on a Sunday morning, breakfast being prepared.  I think this exact thing probably didn't really happen that many times, but my heart remembers it as a family habit for a while - a thing we did on Sunday mornings before getting ready and heading off to church.  I want my kids to feel that way on Sunday mornings.  I want them to store it up, potent enough to fill them in their thirties. That memory. That feeling.

Weekend mornings are my absolute favorite time. John and I linger over coffee, or walk to a cafe, or make breakfast at home.  We do that most every morning, but weekends it's longer, it's better, it's more melodic. I wonder if this childhood memory plays any part in why I so prefer to spend my mornings this way - maybe it's the resonance of a lodged memory, vibrating as we hit the same note.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

When I quit my job last August I quickly learned to dread a new conversation - "Oh that must be so nice! I bet you have so much time! What are you even doing with all that time?" I mostly hated because I constantly wondered, what am I doing with all this time? I suddenly had about 60 more hours of it each week, and yet I didn't really feel like I had more than an hour of free time a day - if that. And that bothered the heck out of me! Where was it going? And at the same time, it felt so smug, everyone assuming I had this life of luxurious free time - the strangely unemployed non-mother. I usually found some nice reply, or what I at least imagine was a nice reply.  But I wanted to remind people, my husband and I run a business out of our home, and just because we've decided to stop running three businesses, our daily ones each demanding well over 40 hours and the sum total requiring a circus-level routine of aerobatics and antics - doesn't mean I spend my days sipping rose and getting pedis.  Mostly, I scoop up animal poop, schedule appointments, pay bills, and run unending loads of laundry and dishes.  When it pours rain, I run out and make sure our entry isn't flooding, and if it is, I bail it out at noon or 2am.  And, I'm trying to build another business... and figure out what that business is, if there is a client, a need, a talent, a joy.

And most of all - I'm prioritizing, not by deadline or revenue potential - but by value.  John and I chose for me to leave my current career path for a few reasons (one being it was soul-sucking), the most important being that we didn't want our lives to be run for us.  We knew what mattered to us, but felt like others were dictating how all of our most precious hours had to be spent.  I for one wasn't always good at reserving enough emotional energy to give to those I love, after meeting the demands and needs of professional associates all day.  What I agree to do, I do well.  I have to - it's who I am.  I can't miss a deadline, or do a half-ass job even if that's the resources my job provides for, and go home happy with myself.  So I'd pull from the reserves over and over and end up dead as I headed home to spend time with the one I love most - and all the others I love too.

So a change.  A reorientation.  That is what we have been trying to do - that is how we've been trying to spend all that time.  We still have a lot of work, but we're trying to figure out how to put what is first, first, and then do the rest with excellence.

And I hope we've built some deeper, better habits and approaches because it seems like before things ever had a chance to really be slow - they are back to being crazy! A different crazy, and it's great - but mad house crazy!  The things we decided mattered most, and we wanted to spend time sowing to, well all those things grew. (Go figure!)

Family. Health. Home. Business. All of it has bloomed to fill the room we made for it - and we're back to wondering again - how do we simplify?  Amidst all of this good, all that is important, what is most important? And how do we spend our time now?