Dear Elle: You’re Three Months Old

Dear Elle –

Well, today is your three month birthday.

Again, I did NOT bake you a cake. You seem pretty ok with that.

It’s so hard to believe that you’re three months old already, but you’ve changed so much in those three little months. I have to say, I’m just more and more excited to watch the girl you’re going to become, because already discovering you and your personality has been just so darn cool.

You started ‘school’ (aka, day care) this week. And YOU LOVE IT! It’s amazing, because it seems that there is a huge difference in what you know and how you interact with people in just this last week. Whether that’s a developmental coincidence or due to ‘school’ I’m not sure. But I for one am chalking it up to ‘school’.

While I’m certainly biased, you are also the best dressed girl at school. You’ve got a closet full of clothes and I’m dressing you up in them — because why not?! And you and that face, and that freaking smile?! It’s just too much and you melt everyone’s heart.

You found your hands awhile ago, but you’ve just in the last few days started reaching for things and, when you get them, refusing to let go. As a matter of fact, I watched your Dad try to pry a ball (one of your favorite toys) from your hands yesterday and it took him a long time. I thought to myself “just pull it away from her” and then, this morning, taking your 3 Month photos, I realized as you clung to the backdrop that it wasn’t that simple anymore. You’re getting stronger, you’re growing up!!

You are still helpless against the gentle rocking vibration of the car and pass out cold every time we get into the car. I’ve been taking you with me on walks and/or jogs around the golf course in your stroller and it’s pretty sweet. You just fall asleep and take a nice 45 minute nap and I get a little fresh air and exercise. All around, a pretty good gig.

Your favorite toys are Sophie the Giraffe, this little stuffed mouse we found at Ikea and this ball from Target with holes in that cost $3.99.

You are a HUGE fan of the bath. You are kick-kick-kicking and splashing up a storm. You dislike getting out of the bath and getting dressed, however.

We have sort of fallen into a routine at our house which consists of:

Hanging out throughout the day and pretty much you eat every three hours (give or take), you pee your pants (a LOT) and you HATE having a wet diaper so that whole 8-10 diaper a day thing is more like 15 with you. Then, you take cat naps throughout the day with one 2-3 hour nap on either side of noon. You typically get about an hour or so nap around 5 and then we hang out until bath time begins at 8. Bath, Book, Bottle, Bed…and by 9, typically you’re asleep. You wake up around 2 or 3 in need of a fresh butt and a bottle, but then you’ll sleep til about 6 or 7. On the weekends, we’ve taken to letting you back in bed with us after you wake up in the middle of the night. I’m not sure if this is because we miss you, we’re lazy, or because we’ve generally had a few drinks and it’s easier than holding our own heads up!

It is so fun being your Mom. I know that you’re still a baby and everything, but I feel like in the last week or so you went from being a baby-baby to more of an infant-baby. I don’t know how to quite explain it, but maybe it’s just that your personality is shining through more and more. It’s so cool, discovering who you are and watching you discover your world. I’m so excited for all the cool things we’ll get to do together!

In the last month you enjoyed both Christmas and New Years and we managed to host TONS of friends at our house. It was a busy season. But I loved it and sharing it with you. I felt in a lot of ways like I sacrificed my time with you, but I am so glad that I have the memories built for myself and for others of these special days with you.

You and your Dad are buddies. It’s so funny to eavesdrop on your conversations (they’re pretty one-sided, but he’s alright carrying a conversation every once in awhile) because he’s so wrapped around your little fingers. I don’t think either of us would have it any other way.

You also have this hemangioma above your left eye. It was just a flat mark on your head when you where born that you didn’t even see…but pictures show that it was there then. But, it’s gotten bigger and bigger over the last three months and we’re going to a few specialist doctors to make sure that it’s not affecting your vision. It’s the mark that lets us know you’re you — but when it messes with your long-term vision, well…not ok. It doesn’t bother you at all, in any way, but I have to say that people asking about it and knowing that it’s right there, pushing your eye closed, it bothers me. And it’s my job – among others – to protect you and get you the absolute best care and best doctors. And I think we’re on our way to finding them to get past this silly hemangioma.

Regardless of that – or anything else – the last three months have been so incredible. I’ve met this new human – YOU – and have started to get to know you in all the best ways. I’ve changed hundreds of diapers, fed hundreds of bottles and changed your outfits lots and lots. I’ve watched your first smile and y our first laugh. I’ve watched you find favorite toys and even figure out how to play the piano…(ok, on the iPad, but still). You’ve met lots of friends and started school and you’ve just been so darn happy.

Even tonight, giving you a bath and while you and I talked (ok, I talked, you just cooed and babbled) my eyes just suddenly overflow. You fill me up, girly. You fill me up.

I love you, it’s that simple.

All my love,

 

Mom

“Dear Me: A Letter to My 16-Year-Old Self”

I came across this letter at the Adventures on the Road blog while reading a “Freshly Pressed” selection tonight. It inspired me, what can I say, and it feels like that happens less and less often the older I get. So, in honor of that inspiration, here’s a letter to my 16-year-old self:

 

Dear Lindsay,

As you turned 16, you were caught red-handed, stumble-down drunk by YOUR GRANDMA. Things get better from there, trust me…though the hangovers don’t 😉

As class president, you have a tendency to believe that your crap doesn’t have an odor. It does. Follow your insistence on being involved, on being busy and go-go-going. Know that this will be a hallmark of who you are as a grown-up woman.It will continue to be something that fulfills you.

Practice the golfing more, would you? You’re THISCLOSE to being a phenomenal golfer at the high school level – and you play in college – but in this area you accept a version of mediocrity that with just a TAD more effort you would grow beyond. Either way, relish the time you’re spending with the girls on the golf team. These are your best girlfriends 15 years from now and though you will scatter across the globe, you will come back to these girls – women – time after time. You’ll have Destination Girls’ Weekends, babies and hangovers with these same girls. Commit the time you have with them now to memory so you can hold this information over their head years from now.

I know you feel like the last virgin on earth as you watch girls in high school have sex, babies or abortions. You will make questionable decisions when it comes to boys you like, certainly, but know that – thankfully – none of those quasi-relationships work out.

Enjoy your time on Clear Lake. You are great at leaving and sending notes to your Grandma and Grandpa there…so when you’re wondering if you should, send one more. You’ll find these in the cupboards of their home, tucked here and there, after they die and it will sustain you for years thereafter. Write the notes. Send the cards.

Your parents are pretty sweet people, though you may think that their seemingly over-protective nature is annoying right now. It is. It will continue to be. But, in 15 years, you choose to buy a house just nine doors down from theirs. Be nicer to your Mom and stop ganging up on her with your Dad. Your Dad is – and will be – fine at it on his own and your Mom could use an ally earlier than you end up coming to the table.

Consider your college choices carefully. You choose Alma College at what feels to be the last minute, mainly so you can keep golfing. Consider this, you’re still staring down student loans 10 years after graduation and they aren’t close to being paid off. You could consider a lower-cost option if you wan to alter the course of, well, everything. On second thought, make the expensive choice. Sure, you make some valuable friendships at Alma as a student — but it ends up being the era when you return to work there as an employee that is most memorable. You fall in love — real love, the heart-pounding-in-your-ears, have-to-see-him-now kind of love — that you write about right now. He’s not the first or the last, but he’s the first real one you’ll stumble into. Because of time and circumstance, you will think to squelch the feelings, the emotions and to end the relationship before it gets off the ground. Override your instincts on this one, would you, and just enjoy it for a moment instead of fretting about what people think. It doesn’t last long, so treasure the time with him. It will be a sustaining memory-of-time as you grow older.

Enjoy this time in your body. It will get harder to look like this:

Image

Me and my Dad...can't find the junior year photo album, so sophomore year is going to have to do!

 

I know how you wonder about your future, how you plan for it, how you want to know NOW what your NOW-15-YEARS-LATER holds. I’ll give you this: You own a home, a car, have a pretty stellar job, and a sweet, sweet baby girl. None of the names you have picked out for your children are what you and her Dad end up naming her. So, spend less time choosing your children’s names and more time on your golf game – or anything else for that matter. Don’t let your parents get you down on your studies – you are always above average in spite of their worries.

More than anything, be nice to more people and less mean to the ‘dorks’ the ‘geeks’…it will bother you in a big way as an adult.

In short, know that you will love and lose BIG. You will make great memories everywhere you go.

Keep doing what you’re doing — you’re going to like where you end up — but if I could make one request: please, take more pictures would you?

Love,

You

 

 

Dear Daughter: August 29, 2011

Dear Daughter,

I’m so excited to meet you. I seriously am growing impatient, finally, and I’m just looking forward to putting the finishing touches on ‘home’ before you get here. We’ve got some serious things to do before then — we’re having a shower so people can give their favorite gifts to you, and we need to go to a class or two to figure out how to birth you and care for you and feed you. (Honestly, I’m hoping that instincts and guidance from your Grandma Wendy and your Auntie’s will be the best preparation information I get).

Anyway, I have been thinking of writing to you for awhile now. But, I’ve been sort of waiting, not wanting to jinx anything. In lots of ways, I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life for you, already. In some ways, I’m overwhelmed by your pending arrival. But, I’m WAY more excited than I am overwhelmed.

More than anything, today, I wanted to write to you because it’s an anniversary, today. Not of anyone or anything per se, but of the thing that happened in my life that set me on the path to meeting your Dad, to loving him and us deciding that we wanted a ‘you’ with ‘us’.

Five years ago today, your Great Grandpa Jerry died. Not really a fun anniversary, right? It’s not. It makes me incredibly sad every year. I don’t imagine that will go away. Ever.

It was really shocking that he died just 20 days after your Great Grandma Judy did. None of us – your aunts and uncles, cousins, me – were ready for him to go. We weren’t ready for her to leave either, but she’d been sick.We were relatively prepared. But him…

Him, though. That was just cruel and unusual punishment for something we still don’t understand.

Because he died, I stopped going to Clear Lake EVERY weekend of my life. I hardly go at all any more. I started looking at things that other people did on the weekends. And, on August 8, 2008 I met your Dad. And the rest is our own little story.

But, because Grandma Judy and Grandpa Jerry were no longer there – the glue holding our family together – things sort of started slipping apart and we all kind of began to make our own way in the lives that we were figuring out how to live without them as guides. In some ways, it hurts to say this, but I’m glad that I was given an opportunity while still young enough to make my own way, to figure out how to reconcile the things I wanted in life without the pull of my heart toward them and the little haven they had created for our family. And, that road away from Clear Lake led me eventually to the friends that I have now, to your Dad, and to the life that we’ve begun creating together. I guess everything happens for a reason…

My great hope for you is that you have someone like him in your life. Maybe it will be your Grandpa Carpenter or your Grandpa Mason. Maybe it will be someone totally different, someone who hasn’t even made an appearance in our lives yet. But, I hope you get someone like him. Because in my life, he made all the difference in lots of big and little ways. I hope that someone like him makes you a priority in their life – someone who is terribly smart and challenges you; who loves you unconditionally.

Someone who believes that you are their life’s bonus.

Someone who will show you how to love and be loved.

Someone to buy you Tiffany jewelry.

Someone to teach you how to drive…and how to drive a stick shift.

Someone to buy you gummy worms and candy at the store, someone to build your imagination, someone to encourage you and scare you (but only a little bit).

Someone who makes you smarter, who challenges you, who loves you unconditionally even though they didn’t know they could.

I will always be terribly and incredibly sad that you never met them, your Grandma Judy and Grandpa Jerry. They were incredible people without whom my life in general would be very, very different. Different in an awful way.

The cool thing is that even though you won’t meet them and they won’t meet you, I get to be this cool intermediary. I get to tell you all about them, and as you grow up, I get to hear their voices in my head helping me figure out how to handle all the demands that I know being a Mom will create. I get to gift you your Grandma Wendy and your Great Aunt’s and your Cousin/UncleAunts and know that they will impart to you the same wisdom and knowledge and love of life and all things family that Grandma and Grandpa did for us.

I am waiting, waiting patiently (though getting less patient daily) for you to arrive so we can begin to tell you all about Grandpa Jerry and Grandma Judy, so you can meet all these people who already love you t o n s TONS. And today, even though I’m still sad (five years later) that my Grandpa Jerry is gone from us, I can’t even explain to you how I’m a little less sad because we’ll be meeting you so soon.

You are already loved more than you know — I cannot imagine life without you, so hurry up and make your grand entrance into our world and our lives.

Love,

Mom (that was a little bit weird to write… 🙂

 

Dear Drew,

Note: Drew is my friend Andrea and Frank’s pending arrival and I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately…thus today’s post.

Dear Drew,

You’ll be here in just 2 1/2 days! I can’t believe it – we’ve been anxiously awaiting your arrival for over nine months now. Your Mom and Dad are great friends of mine and I’ve known both of them for a REALLY long time. I was in their wedding last year, too. They’ve been waiting for you to come for even longer than you’ve been in your Mom’s belly!!

Seriously, they are both SO excited for you to get here. Your Dad is ready to be your DAD and to do all sorts of boy things with you. He’s already an awesome Dad to your big brother, Devyn. (Don’t tell him this, but it’s honestly one of the things I am most proud of in him — how great of a Dad he is already to Devyn!)

Your Mom and I have known each other since we were REALLY little. Our Dad’s went to school together in Clio and your Mom’s grandma and grandpa and mine both had cottages on the same lake (Clear Lake — that’s a story for another time, buddy). I remember your Mom coming over to our cottage with your Uncle Jeremy to jump on the trampoline in the summer and I remember going to their cottage to slide down the slide they had in the lake. I was always jealous of that super-cool slide.That, and your Papa’s super fast blue boat with the big motor (you’ll be driving that in no time!).

Your Mom and I ended up going to the same high school, too. We were even friends then. We had a lot of the same friends upnorth at Clear Lake. Really, we grew up together.

Your Dad was a year older than me in school and he graduated from Clio, too. He was quite the athlete back then (football, hockey, baseball — you name it). He and I have a lot of the same friends, too.And now, we’re all grown ups and we’re still friends. It’s hard to do that in your life, stay friends with people for a lifetime — but I’ll tell you this little secret: it’s worth it.

Isn’t it exciting that you and I will be friends for your WHOLE life? I think so.

And the most exciting part is that you’ll be just four months older than my “Minnie” girl! How cool will that be?? You guys will get to be friends from the days you were born — you will have both been in your Mommy’s tummies at the exact same time. You’ll grow up knowing each other and playing with her and fighting over toy sharing. I’m really glad about that — know why? I grew up with a bunch of MY Mom’s friends’ sons (Chad, Colt, Galon) and even though we don’t see each other often at all anymore, we grew up together and are friends from waaay back. It’s good to have people that have known you for a long time like that. And I’m so thrilled that my Minnie will have you as a forever friend like that!

My hope is that you’ll be an awesome sleeper in the next couple of months, that you’ll let me hold and cuddle you without crying (I need practice buddy, Minnie’s coming in just FOUR MONTHS) and let me take some fun pictures of you over the next four months so I can get some good photography practice in before Minnie arrives. Hopefully that’s a deal.

Honestly, you couldn’t be getting two better parents. They have been working so hard to get ready for you — your room is all ready and waiting for you. Your Dad and Uncle Bob and Grandpa Jim just finished the basement so you’ll have lots of extra room to play in and Devyn — well — he’s a busy guy but he’s going to be such a good big brother, I just know it. Your Dad is a good big brother, so I know he’ll show Devyn how it’s done!

You’re a lucky guy and I can’t wait to meet you SO, SO soon!!

Be careful on your way here!

Love,
L