Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Letter to My Daughter

Dear Annie,

I used to think I knew what it would be like to have a baby.  I thought I could imagine the nice way it would feel to hold my baby in my arms.  I thought I understood the kind of love a mother feels for her child - the pride, the fear, the joy.  I used to think I knew...back before June 29, 2011.  But I didn't really have a clue.


This first year being your mama has been the most amazing of my life.  You have shown me parts of myself I didn't know I had.  You have proven to me that there is a strength inside me that I had never tapped into (that lesson was best illustrated about one hour and thirty-eight minutes into the pushing phase of our labor!), and have exposed depths of my ability to love and care for someone that I didn't truly know before.  I can't find the right words to convey exactly how much I care for you, how important your happiness and comfort and health are to me.  There just aren't words for that kind of feeling.


And this first year with you has been so many different things.  It has been joyous and challenging, wonderful and frustrating, inspirational and just plain fun.  Throughout it all, your daddy and I have just loved getting to know you.  Loved watching you grow and change, watching you develop and turn into such a smart, sweet, charming, funny, beautiful little girl.  You are our dream come true, and being your mother is so much more than I ever could have imagined it would be.


As I sit here, on your first birthday, with you fast asleep in your crib down the hall from me, I am both thrilled at all you have accomplished and sad that the time is going so fast.  But I'm mostly thrilled.  Thrilled and proud and amazed by how you have grown.  And so very excited that your daddy and I get to spend years and years to come watching you become the person that you are meant to be.  Helping you.  Teaching you.  Supporting you.  But most of all, just plain loving you.


You will always, always be my baby girl, Annie Kate.  And may you never for a second doubt how very much your father and I cherish you.

I love you, my sweet girl.

Mama

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lucky Girl

When I married David, I was aware of a multitude of his great traits.  I knew he was funny.  And smart.  And kind.  And exceptionally good-looking.  :-)  What I didn’t know yet was how very good he would be at loving our future daughter.  I suspected, but didn't quite know how very lucky our little girl would be to have him for a daddy.  As I have mentioned here before, I struggle with being a bit of a control freak in the baby raising department.  I’m getting better, but I still like to have a hand in basically everything when it comes to Annie (we can get me some therapy for that at some point down the road).  So I haven’t exactly made it easy for David in some respects to shine as a daddy.  But you know what?  He’s been shining anyway.  The fun he has with Annie is really something to see.  And the tenderness he shows with her is so heart-warming it actually hurts a little sometimes.  And the readily apparent pride he has when someone says she looks like him (which happens all. the. time.) is just the best.   David Noble really does this fatherhood thing well.  And I cannot wait to see the ways he shows his love and protection of our daughter as she grows.  Annie really is a lucky little girl.  And I’ll make sure she knows that.  And I'm a lucky girl too to have him travel this road with me.  So, a belated Our Noble Pursuits Happy Fathers’ Day to my partner in this journey.  Annie and I love you and thank you for being so amazing.

A Fathers' Day hug for Daddy.


I am so blessed that Annie will have the same wonderful kind of father figure that I had.  And I know my dad would have loved the interaction between his granddaughter and her father.  In honor of Fathers’ Day, I went back and reread my post about my dad.  And I am further convinced that he would have been so proud of the little family David and I have made.

And speaking of pride, we are so proud of our increasingly mobile baby girl.  Check out how good she's getting at moving around on two feet...

video

 And the chasing begins!

And, finally, I think I can fairly safely say that we have made the decision to put our lovely, charming, adorable home on the market.  Why would we want to part with such perfection, you ask?  Well, because with two adults, one almost full-fledged toddler (see video above), one dog, and two cats, the walls of said house are sort of kind of starting to close in on us.  I've always known we had a small house, but it's size is becoming an increasingly obvious stressor in my life.  It is making irrational and unreasonable, but I can't help it.  For instance, I actually recently instituted a "no letting the bathroom door slam during sleeping hours" (Annie's sleeping hours, not ours) rule because, despite her ability to sleep through most things, my mind is still convinced the loud closing of a door five feet from her room will wake her.  Every time David forgets this rule it makes me scream inside a little.  But I digress...my point in mentioning this is two-fold: 1) to implore each and every one of you to think long and hard about whether you or someone you know would be interested in a cute, charming, lovely home in a good neighborhood (that we've also heard is a little bit "hip" and "up and coming"), and 2) to give those of you who may get a little tired of baby talk all the time a little hope that I might talk about something else on here every once in a while over the coming weeks (who am I kidding?) months.  May the odds of selling this thing be ever in our favor.

Lovely, no?

Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Keeping You Little

There is a kids’ book, perhaps you have read it or you own it, by Marianne Richmond titled “If I Could Keep you Little.”  The theme of the book is the desire of parents to have it both ways – to have their child be both a little baby and a growing, maturing, independent child.  Right now, being in the little, I have the opposite struggle of the mother in the book.  I keep reminding myself to treasure these days of little-ness. 

Annie and her buddy Hank share a moment.
 Because I have a tendency to look ahead.  To think about how great it will be to walk hand-in-hand with Annie through the Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings.  How much fun we will have playing on the playground slide and monkey bars and swings.  To imagine trips with her to big cities and seeing her eyes light up and her mouth open in wonder at the tall buildings and fascinating sights.  To think about dressing her for ballet class or soccer games or whatever it is that strikes her fancy.  I get all giddy with excitement when I think about these things.

The same kind of giddy I got while I was pregnant, thinking about my precious baby whom I would meet soon.  When I thought endlessly of her tiny baby fingers and her perfect baby nose.  When I imagined holding her close late at night, rocking her to sleep.  When I looked so forward to leaning over as I held her and sniffing her sweet baby smell.  How quickly those days are passing.

"Grandma gave me a whole biscuit at breakfast."
 As I struggle against my tendency to think of the days to come instead of the present, I remind myself of all the wonderful things I didn’t anticipate.  Of the things I figured would be pretty cool, but completely underestimated.  Things like the sweet sound of my baby girl’s laughter when we kiss and tickle her bare feet.  The precious way her mouth transforms into a small bow when she says “da-doo” (which must mean something like “that” to her because she points and says it to us an awful lot).  The way witnessing her first steps brought instant tears to my eyes and the pride she clearly has each time she walks a few steps farther by herself.  The way she crawls toward me like she’s in a Fastest Baby race when she sees me at the doorway of her daycare classroom at the end of the day.  The way her face completely lights up when her daddy walks in the door after work.

They are my favorites, you know.
 I guess my point is that as many wonderful days as we have ahead, as fun as Annie the pre-schooler and Annie the little girl, and (God help us) Annie the teenager will be, the Annie of right now is really quite spectacular.  And I don’t want to miss a second of that by being wrapped up in looking forward.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Balance

If I had to choose one challenge that has been the most difficult for me this last year, it wouldn’t be interrupted sleep or learning how to hold a baby on my hip while putting laundry in the washing machine.  It wouldn’t be learning to stay sane while an infant cries for no reason in the backseat of the car or suddenly decides she can no longer play with measuring cups while I make dinner and must, instead, be held (right. this.second.).  My biggest challenge has been finding balance after adding “mother” to my life’s resume.  It is so very easy to get wrapped up in my responsibilities to Annie, and so easy to self-identify now as solely Annie’s mom because it truly does occupy my thoughts about 95% of the time, even when I don’t realize it’s happening.  So it is no wonder that it has been difficult for me to figure out how to balance being a mama with my equally important roles of wife and, well, human being.

Little Miss Personality can kind of overshadow other aspects of my life sometimes.
 This past weekend I took a big step toward finding that balance.  I renewed a standing tradition to go on a girls’ trip with two of my best girlfriends.  My friends Rachel and Melanie and I have gone on a trip together each year for the past 10 years, with the exception of last year, when new jobs, house projects, and an enormous pregnant belly (mine, of course) made getting away for a few days hard for all of us.  We usually take a long weekend and spend a few days anywhere that isn’t Lexington (Chicago, Nashville, Washington DC, among others, have been prior destinations).  And bless their hearts, when they got the email from me requesting an impromptu girls’ trip this year, my friends responded immediately...with a "yes, let's do it!"  We shortened the trip to two days and one night and only drove an hour and 15 minutes away, to Cincinnati.  But it was such a wonderful couple of days. 

The trip reminded me that in order to be a good mom, a good wife, and a good person, I need time to just be me.  As important as my commitment is to Annie, in order to fulfill it in the best possible way, I can’t let myself be completely consumed by motherhood.  Did I think about Annie while I was gone?  Absolutely.  All the time.  Did I have to tell myself over and over NOT to tell another baby story, not to share another mommy moment?  Yes, not because I didn’t think my friends would want to hear it, but because I wanted to tell stories about other things.  But was it helpful and restorative for me to be away?  Most definitely.
I had such a great time with these ladies!
And a by-product of me taking time away that I hadn’t considered much before this trip was how good it is for David to get one-on-one time with Annie.  When I hover, when I allow myself to be consumed by mommyhood, when I refuse to let my daughter out of my sight, I deprive my husband of the opportunity to bond with her by himself.  And that’s just not fair of me.  The two of them had a great time while I was away.  They played and went to a birthday party and had a big time.  And that kind of daddy-daughter time is just as important for Annie and for David as mommy-daughter time is for me.  So me going away for a couple of days is a win-win for everyone involved!

And the best part of getting away for a little while?  Coming home to this face.
Annie likes to find alternative uses for home furnishings - like this tray from our coffee table.

And this…

She likes this, I promise.
 It really is a good life I have.  Here's to learning how to balance it.