Saturday, June 28, 2014

1/51 is everything.

My Baby Leavitt,
Happy half year birthday!!! We have spent half a year together, which turns out to be 1/51of my lifetime and all of yours.   I say that because I lived before you were mine.  I learned things, went places, formed relationships with others and broke them.   I never truly felt as alive in all that time as I do now.  They say a baby learns more in the first year of life than during any other time and I feel the pressure to make sure you are learning from me.  What amazes me is how much I am learning from you.  Life and love never seemed so precious or plenty in my life until you.  Your presence is profound.

Today will come and go without much if any recognition from you that today was special.  I hope we laughed a little louder, hugged a little longer and spent time doing the things you love most.  Right now you like books, your bouncer, Ferarri walker, a blanket when you sleep, kisses on your belly and a nice bath before bed.  A typical day for us starts when you're ready, anywhere between 4:30am and 6:00, you have a bottle in our bed and I let you harass your Dad until he wakes up (he has been getting to work on time more often thanks to you). We go downstairs I make a cup of coffee while you talk to the toys on your bouncer, I watch a little news and your Dad kisses us goodbye.  You take a morning nap between 9:00 & 10:00 and I get ready, make the beds and prepare us for the rest of the day.  We frequent Target, the grocery store & Starbucks... usually dropping your Dad, Grampy & Aunt off coffee.  Occasionally your Grammy Cindy & Aunt Rachel come over on their lunch break.  We listen to piano music when we are home alone (your interest in the TV has me hyper vigilant of your screen time although I do watch it from time to time while you are playing), We play some more until 5:00pm every night we start to wind down.  We read your favorite stories ("steam train dream train", "wherever you are my love will find you", "on the night you were born" & "Moose of course"), you take a bath, you get your little baby massage, put on your pjs and have your last bottle of the day.  At 7:00 I walk you up to bed, turn on the sleep sheep, put a blanket next to your cheek how you like and kiss your head.  For the most part you go right to sleep.  This routine is sacred to me.  Leavitt, you have no idea how you spoil me, I pray you never figure it out and use it against me.  You are the easiest baby.  I have traveled with you to Florida, Portland several times, Pembroke and Boston.  You love your little routine but are happy to go with the flow.  I hope you're demeanor wears off on me.  I could only wish to be as patient, kind, adaptable and funny as you are.

Two weeks ago you toppled over while playing with your toys, you were tired so you started to cry.  I scooped you up into my arms and you cried "mumma"... We were nose to nose you were holding my face. I held you so tight with absolute pride. It was so touching that you wanted me when you were sad. You said it with such clarity and certainty that I was lucky to have not melted into a puddle right there in the living room or started crying myself.

I feel beyond blessed to have been chosen as your Mommy.  These last 6 months are now my whole life.


**The photo of my precious babe was taken by Danielle Brady from Danielle Brady Photogtaphy. We had generation and family photos done last Sunday to mark Nick's first Father's day and Leavitt starting a new generation.  It was a beautiful day in Pembroke... More on that when the photos are back! 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The hard stuff

I always regret it.  The moment I hand you off to your Grammy, my Mom. Why did I say I would work again? I know it is good for you to learn to depend on and trust someone other than myself to care for you. But that doesnt mean I like it.  I also need to remind myself that if I had to I could contribute and help your Dad out or God forbid support you and I... It would suck but I could do it and I would without hesitation.  It feels good for a few hours to have my brain sharp, be around professionals, and miss you.  I get little text updates about what you're doing and when you wake up.  I for a second hope you aren't wondering where I am when you open your eyes, but then I kind of hope you are.

The first night your Grammy took you because I had to return to work you were only 8 weeks old.  I cried and cried your Dad told me to call work and tell them I would never be coming back.  I would never abandon my job, or you.  I kind of laughed at your Dad and was like "what am I going to do homeschool him because I can not stand to have him away from me?" he said "well no because then he won't play hockey".... typical.

I know now what my Mother went through when I was a teenager.  "call when you get there" I would forget and she would be pissed.  A simple request, call or text when you get there... failure to do so always resulted in at least a scolding sometimes I would even get the "do you know what I think when you don't call?!" "I worry about you" "you could have gotten into an accident".  I am now the one asking for a text or call when you get there.  This weekend she forgot so I called her 15 minutes after you should have been there... No answer.  I immediately called your Aunt who answered and was probably rolling her eyes when I was interogating her about where you were and when you got there... turns out they were getting you to bed... wait that's my favorite thing to do... commence all night pity party for myself.

Now I would never let you go anywhere with anyone I didnt trust or have the upmost confidence in.  I learned how to be a Mom from the example I was given as a child.  Your Grammy and I do things similar or the same.  She knows all the tiny little habits we have that make you happy.  She has helped me with baths and bedtime at our home.  It makes me feel good knowing that things are being done the way that I would do them, the way you like.  I appreciate that she cares for you the way that I do.  Bonus: after your morning nap she brings you home and helps with housework so when I get home all I have to do is enjoy you.

I don't have a lot of help with you. This little staycation you are having will last all of 17 hours, I will go from the hostpital straight to you. This only happens about once a month now.  I take you to the gym, to run all our errands and go longer in between my mani/pedi ritual than I would like. My entire existence is wrapped up in your every need and the needs of our family, and what a wonderful existence that is.  I do not get breaks from "my work".  You and your Dad are a full time all the time job, your happiness is rewarding.  I take pride in knowing that you would not be nearly as good natured or happy if you were not as pampered as you are.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!

Today is a bittersweet day.  I will not be spending any time today with my own Dad, which is not unusual for me since he lives in Florida now and the majority of my life we have not lived together.  However this is a tough one.  My Dad a few months back found out he has cardiac problems and even after being given a risky stint his heart is only functioning at about 15%.  While undergoing tests for his heart, scans showed two masses in his lungs.  He is currently undergoing radiation and will unfortunatley be missing Rachel's wedding this July due to treatments.  This is life and although it is a rough hand to be dealt, we deal.

Today is so so special however.  Today is Nick's first Father's day and I could not be happier to celebrate for him.  He is an exceptional Dad.  He is fun and truly loves Leavitt.  I appreciate more than he knows the opportunity to stay home and be the one to care for our son.  Time is a gift, it is precious and even though it is costly to have one person supporting three time is not something you can buy back.  I am afforded the opportunity to see every smile, hear every laugh and be the one to comfort him when he cries.  Together we have created a home I love taking care of and a place to make memories in.  I take none of this for granted.  I hope Leavitt doesnt either.

I will never forget how badly Nick wanted a boy.  I remember how happy he was when he found out and immediately we started talking names.  Nick is lucky enough to not only have a Dad that has been there for him but also a Grandfather.  Nick had said from the beginning that he wanted to use his Grandfather's name which is William Leavitt, Nick's father and him also share the Leavitt middle name.    We went back and forth over all the possible nicknames that would come of William, Will, Willy, Bill
Billy and once the name takes you cant control how people will change it.  There was a family member of Bill's that was William Leavitt and went by Leavitt,  I loved that.  There we had it Leavitt William Varney.  I love the meaning it has to Nick and am thankful that Nick had such great examples in his life that he felt compelled to continue the tradition.  I have to say though, there are some really strong genes in that name... My little Leavitt man is Bill's doppelganger ... he even has the ears! Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of Bill and Leavitt together, but Nick's father's day present from Leavitt and I, is generation photos being taken in Pembroke the end of this month.  Happy Father's day to all the daddies out there may the babies and mamas in your life spoil you today! XO

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Nightingale Sisters Reunited

Most of my life I was raised as the youngest sister of my Mother's two girls.  My Dad is a unique man that has lived his life to the limit, by his own rules & makes no apologies for doing such.  He has impeccable taste in women and married two great women that gave him five fabulous daughters and one son... just like him! This week sad circumstances brought us all together.  My half sisters maternal Grandmother passed this winter and they are headed to Canada for the memorial.  We all have our own families now, live on opposite ends of the East coast and have so much going on.  The last time we were all together was in 2007 for our sister Barbara's wedding.  Having them here with us even for one night was special.  I love having sisters especially a lot of them.  I always feel understood, supported, encouraged and loved.  They show so much love for my son as well which makes me feel so glad he has Aunts that love him and see how sweet his soul is.  Being an aunt prepared me for motherhood and having them as sisters was all the example I needed to navigate this journey with Leavitt.

My sister Kim happened to be having a birthday so we celebrated her 49th birthday and Rachel's shower.  Nick's parents came by for dinner and cake.  Our house was as I had imagined the whole time we were building, full of love, laughter and really good food.  We reminisced on all the old times, laughed about how foolish some of our family is and in the end when we went to bed it was like for one night we were little girls having a slumber party.  We facetimed with my nieces in Florida in our pjs and made future plans to hang out.  One night was not nearly enough.  I am so lucky to call such wonderful people family, I feel blessed that Leavitt has them as well.  They have supported Nick and I from the very beginning and the times I have been down and out they were there to say you're fabulous and you're going to be fine.  Everyone needs that judgement free zone, the people that just get you, make you feel good about yourself, know your intentions are good and don't dissect your every action.  We are beyond blessed to have each other and I will cherish that night forever.

Rachel's Bridal Shower

Sunday we showered a bride to be, my sister Rachel.  Although the heat was miserable we had a great time getting the girls together and wishing her well.  She opened thoughtful gifts from people that love them, ate cake and had a skinny girl margarita.  She wont need any advice on love & family, they have battled their way through the stuff divorces are made of.  Moving, having a child, living with your soon to be in laws and the day to day stuff that wears on even the toughest of relationships.  These two are a true example of a team.  I am confident in them as a family they will do well, and July 11th we will celebrate the already existing family that is theirs.

To my sister and friend Rachel,
You will be a beautiful bride, you are a beautiful person.   I was honored to host your Bridal shower and will be so happy for you when you say your vows.  Josh could not have chosen a more dedicated partner or mother for his child.  Always remember you deserve the best in life for you give your best to them.  I am thrilled for you that you have found someone that makes you happy.  So excited for the wedding and MORE BABIES!!!!! XO 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Confessions of an accidental mom

I am going to start with a disclaimer because I know Mommyhood is a topic some get stuffy about and judgey judgey over so here it is: I am a loving mother with a sense of humor.  I live the truth of my own situation and in no way claim to have it all together.  What I will say is that my son is loved and well taken care of, he is happy and truly a light in this world.  I say most things with a lot of humor and a hint of truth. Please do not take me too seriously because I mean nothing but love when I express myself especially as a momma. 

I call myself an "accidental mom" because I not only was shocked to find out I was pregnant, but I also never saw myself as maternal.  I found it hard to be friends with people that talked about wanting babies, trying to have babies, planning babies.  They were exhausting to me.  I smiled went to every baby shower I was invited to, threw my sister a baby shower in the sweltering heat and gladly bought items on their registries.  I had only one hope... there would be wine at the shower.  I fell into this wonderful role of mommy on accident and yet here we are happier than ever... this is the stuff Walt Disney is made of.  I hope through my honesty and humor you realize I not only feel blessed, I know I am.  I love my life and little family the way Scrooge mcduck likes his money, they are my happy place.

To the well meaning morons that bought me birthing books, pushed me to breastfeed, asked if I read the books you got me, told me "it will all be worth it in the end": I did not read your books, I never tried to breastfeed and it certainly was worth it but I would have been ok with one of those easy breezy "I love being pregnant" pregnancies and have loved my baby just the same.  I did however read Jenny McCarthy's book "belly laughs" and was so comforted by someone Else's down to earth take on, farting, getting fat, snoring, loss of bladder control and all the things that are mortifying and no one talks about.... that's right girls it was all worth it in the end (insert eye roll).

I had the fortune and misfortune of designing and building a home, finding out I was pregnant and raising a naughty and so cute puppy all within the same week.  To be able to build a home to grow in gave me to ability to not only imagine what his childhood would look like but create the backdrop for which his memories will be made.  My lack of energy sometimes hindered my creativity and our home resembles my own childhood home.  Lots of good stuff going on I only wish I had been able to enjoy the process of each more... oh well life is good anyways.

I lucked out.  Never had a sleepless night.  My almost 6 month old has never cried all night from colic.  The true maternal instincts were enough, I did not need a book.  After all I do have my own mom and by god I have asked her every question out there.  I never got painful itchy stretch marks and I have yet to have a postpartum break down.... Nick I think you're in the clear.

 My child has been compared to a Buddha.  He's handsome, smiley, interactive and so peaceful.  I have to assume he knows we are doing the best we can and it shows in his contentment with us.  Staying home I take the brunt of the responsibility and would take it personally if my son were to be unhappy.  Strangers stop us all the time to sneak a peak and tell me what a happy boy he is... sure they say that to most moms but I smile and say "he has nothing to be sad about" which although its true is probably as annoying as the complete strangers asking me about breastfeeding.... oye.

So I am sure it seems as though I am now a judgey judgey mom and I am not.  If you read every book, breastfed for a year or 2 days, loved being pregnant or hated it and really felt it would be worth it in the end.... BRAVO! I hope your baby is as funny and happy as mine... I am sure you love yours the way I do mine.  But please stop asking me about it, I will be forced to tell you how easy it  has been for me and that I prepared a great nursery and he has a darling wardrobe, that is how I welcomed him... fashionable and cozy.  And we all know you uptight mommies hate when someone goes against the grain.  I hope my son has the courage to form his own opinions and follow his instincts the way I have navigated being a mother I hope he navigates through life.  With a sense of self, a sense of humor and the confidence to fly by the seat of your pants every now and then.

Dearest Leavitt

My Dearest Leavitt,
You are less than a week old.  Right now you are swaddled in warm blankets, the sound of you breathing is the best music I have ever heard.  I am writing to you tonight because I want you to know how the past few days have moved me.  I want you to know that the day you were born was the hardest and happiest day of my life.

You woke me up at 3am with a few kicks and cramps, I knew we would soon meet.  I was so scared I decided not to tell your Dad and go lay on the couch, praying and talking to you.  Something you will learn about your mama is that I prefer to take the world on by myself, in a crisis I do best solo... this is a trait I hope you possess, I want you to feel confident to take anything on by yourself, I also hope you know you can ask for help whenever you need it.  Your dad woke up and I explained to him that I knew you were on your way but sent him to work and would call him when I was ready to go to the hospital.  Looking back I know I was clinging to the last moments of having you all to myself, after all I was ready for you I had been with you for 10 months, I wasn't sure I was ready to share you with the world.  The day became constant clock watching, contraction counting and phone calls from everyone who also already loved you.  At 3:30pm your dad drove me to the hospital, the same hospital I work at.  I have driven that drive countless times but this time is was different I wasn't leaving there without you.  I knew your dad was nervous, and so was I so I did my best not to let him see me cry as we pulled up in front of the hospital.  Your Grammy Cindy met me there and off we went, my nerves were as intense as the pain.  Your dad watched the Bruins (they lost), your Aunt and Grammy used their phones, chatted and tried to keep me company while we waited.  At 9:00pm the Dr came in and said in 15 minutes we would be ready to go. At 9:44pm you took your first breath.

The cord had been wrapped around your neck and you appeared to be in distress as you made your way into the world, I could tell my Dr, nurse, your Grammy and aunt were very worried about you so I asked what was wrong, Dr. Aloupis said that you were fine and then I saw him cut your cord you cried and I was holding you.  I was so elated, you looked like a perfect little angel.  Grammy put you in your Dad's arms and he had tears of joy.  After a while your other Grandparents made there way in to visit with you.  Everyone kept asking me if I was tired but all I felt was peace.  A strange calmness overcame me and we were family.

I want you to know that the hardest day of your life could be the happiest.  When you think you can't do something, or are so nervous to do something you could be on the verge of your greatest moment.  You are the greatest moment of my everyday.

All My Love,

(This letter was handwritten new years eve 2013, our son was born 12-28-2013)