From an Apple on My Desk to the Apple of My Eye

Dear Mrs. S,

Let me introduce myself. My name is Luke’s Mom. I go by another name too, but it’s all I’m seemed to be known by now, not that I’m complaining.

I haven’t been around long, but it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t exist.

You, however, have been around for over four years now. Really, it’s been over five years if you count that first year when you went by Miss G.

(You’re still trying to not go into the fetal position when you think that those kids that remember you as that are now seventh graders).

When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be you. An elementary school teacher with an endless supply of Expo markers, boxes of Crayola crayons in a bright-colored tub, your own reading rug and rocking chair to read stories to children and change your voice to different characters, your own bulletin boards to decorate, your own class to lead down the hallway while having eyes on the back of your head, and even your own papers to grade with your multi-colored pens.

And, thank the Lord, I got to be you these past few years and it’s been a great joy of my life. You have met friends that will be lifelong, taught students who will change the world, and grown into a profession that’s become a passion.

10527356_10204585586825474_4600371142977880591_n

But that little girl you were wanted to be something even more than the teacher with the polka-dot dress and colorful lanyard.

You wanted to be a Mommy.

A Mama who was able to stay at home.

We’re going through a transition right now, sister. One you’ve prayed would arrive and wondered if God would grant the desires of your heart. And praise Him, He did! One where your husband crunched numbers and you saved up together to allow my dream of staying home to happen. And praise Him again, it has!

It’s a beautiful and joyful transition.

But can I let you in on a little secret?

It’s also a little bittersweet, too.

Don’t you think I’m complaining. I am so grateful to be here and to see you step away for a while.

While you have some friends that don’t understand why you would want to, you have many friends who would love to be at home, but can’t for their own reasons right now. It doesn’t make me any better of a mom and them any less of one.

(On a side note, I will guard what I say on social media. Because you know what a tired teacher who is also the mama to a sweet baby doesn’t want to hear? How tired I am. Newsflash: So are they, but they have to get up in the morning and wear dress pants. You can stay in pajamas).

Much like teaching, there’s nothing that can prepare you to be a mom until you actually are one. College courses and labor classes are one in the same. Helpful information, but once you hold that baby, much like once you stand in front of that first class, you realize you really know nothing.

But that teaching thing? You felt like you were (finally) getting into your groove.

And don’t think I haven’t noticed you.

The school supply sales are full throttle, and it’s all you can do to not pick up a few boxes of Crayola (for those kids who inevitably bring in RoseArt), a few extra Elmer’s gluesticks, and some bulletin board border for a fresh start.

On Sunday morning? When the pastor asked for all the teachers to stand so they could be prayed over? Well, you felt a little out-of-place as you remained sitting (until you bolted for that colleague down the aisle to pray over her. I know that was all you).

You’ve been seeing all sorts of ideas on Pinterest that make your teaching imagination come alive with cross-curricular activities, how you’d design your classroom this year, and all the little stations you’d have set up your Open House next Friday night.

You, in a cruel twist of fate, are even having school dreams again.

You’ve visited that second home of yours of the past five years a few times with friends as they set up their rooms and decorate their doors, and you’ve felt that twinge of, “Am I doing the right thing?”

I’m here to assure you.

You are.

God has made it clear that you are by how He’s provided when it didn’t make sense. He’s had this laid on your heart as long as you can remember.  You didn’t dream of the wedding and the dress, you dreamed of the husband and the family you’d hopefully have.

You can think back to when you were a very little girl and remember eating a Happy Meal with your Mom at McDonald’s on a random Monday, reading Bible stories on her bed, and taking walks around the block.

I want that too.

.

You see, I’m a little selfish. I want to see all the “firsts,” I want to be the one that calms Luke down when he cries in the middle of the day, the one who walks countless laps as he finally falls asleep on my shoulder, and the one who even changes those dirty diapers.

(Well, Daddy can do that too as he feels led).

It’s true, you loved seeing your name outside that classroom door, but one day you’ll see it again. There will be other classes for you to love, but there will never be this time of my life or his life again.

You knew the moment you found out I’d come around that you, Mrs. S., didn’t stand a chance.

Home is where I’m supposed to be.

You aren’t going too far though, as you tutor some sweet kiddos once school cranks up. So, don’t go throwing away those flashcards and file folder games just yet. You’ll get to keep your second love close to your heart, just on a much smaller scale.

Oh, and that darling son of yours? Well, he’s going to need that creativity you loved using in your classroom. Show him the shapes as you build castles with blocks. Build a fort and stack it with books and a flashlight. Teach him the alphabet with a silly song. Practice your numbers with hopscotch and sidewalk chalk. Read one of your favorite books with a puppet on your arm.

You used to pray every morning on your short drive to work for many things, but you’d always include, “Let me be a light to my students and coworkers in my classroom and hallways.”

I promise to carry that light in this new phase of our lives together, even if it’s just the living room and hallway to the bedroom.

Thanks for all the wonderful memories, Mrs. S. It’s with a little tear in my eye but a smile in my heart to tell you that I promise to make the most special ones while you’re away.

– Luke’s Mom

11742873_627274700783_2990270939056711241_n

Goodbye Swaddlers and Hello Baby Gate

Well, to my tens of readers, I’m so sorry I haven’t written a blog in a sweet forever.

(Although, I did do a little bit of writing for my church’s website if you missed it. And so did Brett).

You see, I’ve completed the fourth trimester.

And can I say? It’s been wonderful, joyous, funny, amazing, miraculous, and well, a little bit of a humdinger.

I used to laugh at all those who’d say that there was a fourth trimester. “Oh, you dramatic, tired mamas… there is no such thing as a fourth trimester. Go sleep when the baby sleeps.”

OH, BUT THERE IS, AND THAT ADVICE IS FLAT-OUT QUAINT.

Make no mistake though, just like the three trimesters of pregnancy, it really is a miracle. To see our baby boy change every single day and become a little bit more aware of the world around him has made this mama’s heart glow.

However, as what will come as a shock to approximately zero people, it hasn’t been without its share of challenges too.

And since I not only have zero motivation, I’m not sure I have enough alert brain cells to perform the task of writing coherent paragraphs with transitions, so while he’s napping on me, here’s a list of all the highs, lows, and learning adventures of the past four months with our darling boy.

(I also always feel the need to add that any ‘complaints’ on here are meant totally in jest. We are so thankful to have any of these experiences because it means we have our baby boy. God gave us the most precious gift. I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything. I’m just documenting for when he’s five and probably still fighting sleep and remembering YOU SURVIVED.)

1. I’ve already talked about how nursing was something I had severely underestimated. Now that we’ve made it over that bump (or two bumps… sorry, I couldn’t help it), here’s what just baffles my mind: Babies have to be taught on how to go to sleep. I know Luke is tired, he knows he’s tired, but often times he will be generally fussy for a half hour or so until he falls asleep. I don’t understand. JUST GO TO SLEEP, DARLING.

(I will add that the past couple of nights, he’s only awoken once which is a streak in my book. He’ll probably perfect it right before teething starts).

(I will also add that I’m very lucky that I can stay in my pajamas most days if I have to. I know how lucky I am).

(But TAUGHT TO GO TO SLEEP? Mind-boggling).

2. And that sweet baby doesn’t want to be rocked, nope. We must walk around and around until he drifts off. All of these parenting articles say, “Put your baby to bed awake but drowsy.Y’all, that’s hilarious. Because when that happens, we are a rolling machine until we are Niagra Falls from the tears.

3. And Mama can’t take the tears. Just can’t handle “Cry It Out.”

4. But then, he falls asleep on my shoulder as I’m softly singing, “You are my sunshine…” and I couldn’t care less how many steps I took or how long I walked. It’s THE BEST.

5. Before I end the sleeping diatribe that this has become, Luke is still in the bassinet in our bedroom. This is not because I’m emotionally attached to him being in there (I promise, I’m ready to not tiptoe to go to the bathroom). It’s just he’s still inconsistent at night, and his nursery is upstairs. And that’s a lot of walking up and down in the middle of the night. We are going to attempt the transition this weekend though and hopefully he will realize his crib is a cozy, glorious place of SLEEP.

6. We are so grateful for a healthy baby. His worst ‘problem’ has been a little bit of “cradle cap.” So all this talk about sleep is so not a biggie, we know we are so blessed.

7. I didn’t really have any cravings while pregnant. Just liked my usual stuff. But since he’s been born? I’ll take peach tea, cherry slushes, and an ice cream sandwich please.

8. (Preferably all three, everyday).

9. (I’m sure that’s not at all related to THE HEAT).

10. Those first few weeks were so sweet as we were getting to know our baby boy, but I wouldn’t go back. I love looking at the pictures, but those were some uncertain times of “WHAT ARE WE DOING.” (Not that we still don’t have that).

11. Really, to all mamas who have a newborn (or those who are expecting), I know you’re overwhelmed. You have no idea what his cries mean, you have no idea what day of the week it is because his days and nights are mixed up, and you feel guilty that you’re not enjoying every moment.

12. Can I give you permission to not enjoy all the moments? BECAUSE IT’S OKAY. Those are some rough days at first. Amazing and precious? Yes, but overwhelming mostly.

13. It (obviously) gets better. Once you get past that first month or so, you will fall into a schedule and you suddenly have an intuition when he’s hungry, sleepy, or just grumpy. Your body adjusts to not as much sleep, but you get more too. Hang in there, mama. My only piece of advice is to take pictures. I love looking at how he’s changed.

14. The day Luke could hold his head up on his own was a game-changer. We joke we can carry him around like a sack of potatoes now.

15. We also love how more interactive he’s becoming everyday. When I say his name and he turns and smiles, MELTED. His giggles are better than the sound of the waves, and his dimples make his mama’s knees weak. Bath time is always the best, bubbly adventure. He’s generally a happy baby and he just brings so much joy. He even smiles as he spits up. (Me, not so much…)

16. I’m so thankful for this time of our lives when I can stay at home with him. I know mamas who have to do it (and I have dear friends bracing for it), and I would if we had to, but I’d be heartsick every time I left daycare in the mornings.

17. The whole, “You’ll love your husband in a whole new way,” is so true. At least it is for me.

18. Seriously, Brett is the best Daddy (next to mine, of course). He gives me a break the moment he walks in the door and doesn’t complain about it, usually holds him during dinner if we need to because he knows I probably did every time I ate earlier in the day, gets on the floor to try to teach him to crawl, loves to make him smile and giggle, wraps him in his towel after every bath, and walks him to sleep every night. I love watching their relationship continue to grow.

19. I told myself I wouldn’t before he arrived, but y’all I can’t help but post a picture (or two…) of our sweet baby boy just about daily. I’m totally that Mom. Not that I’m biased, but HE’S JUST SO CUTE.

20. And I’m totally #sorrynotsorry about it too.

So while this fourth trimester is over, I’m thankful for it all and will look back on it fondly, but I won’t miss it.  My house won’t either, as vacuuming the living room rug is now a serious accomplishment.

Now that our sweet baby is giggly and smiley and happy so much? Well, now this. This I’ll miss.

Good thing I’ll have approximately 4,324 pictures to remember it by.

We love you with every single piece of our heart, baby boy. Life is a whole lot sweeter with you in it.

IMG_6240-1