Monthly Archives: July 2013

On dads…

Today is my dad’s birthday, so I’ve got dad on my mind (Happy Birthday, Dad!).

I grew up with a great dad.  I always knew he was a great dad.

When he had to work on Saturdays, sometimes he brought us with him. He set us free in the warehouse of Hartford Office Supply with a pocketful of quarters and directions to the vending machine (I distinctly remember a smaller version of myself on a loading dock one Saturday, lost beyond hope, asking a HOSCO employee to guide me back to the big cheese’s office). Dad would gather empty boxes, stuff the kids in them, and send us flying down the conveyor belt.  If boxes make great toys for kids, imagine boxes stuffed with kids, combined with conveyor belts.  Really.  Memories to last a lifetime, and I say that with no jest whatsoever.

My dad also always, always, always did his best to attend any athletic pursuit Scooter or I participated in, and he always, always, always made sure we knew how important it was to him and how proud of us he was.  That importance was often demonstrated by cheerful hollering from the sidelines, fatherly tips or guidance, and a bag of gummy bears.  It also often came while my dad was dressed in a suit, having come to our games straight from the office.

We spent hours playing catch in the backyard every Spring when he got home from work and as the daylight faded.  In the winter, he carted me to indoor batting cages, and we fed tokens to the machine while I wailed away and Dad critiqued, coached, encouraged.

In the summer when Mom packed the station wagon with the kids and ventured to Manchester, Dad would drive up every Friday after work and stay for the weekend.  Those weekends were always packed with activities: Red Sox games, trips to Canobie Lake Park, long days at Singing Beach. He spent hours at the beach building us pools to play in, handing out italian ice money, burying feet in the sand, consoling kids after battles lost to waves.

As a kid, I never thought twice about these things.  My dad was my dad; how he behaved must have been how all dads behaved.  It’s only after getting older that I realized that my dad was a very unique dad, the cream of the crop. There is no dad rule book – what my dad chose to do with his time was his own choice to make. And he chose us; he chose his family; he chose making memories with me. And even more so, he delighted in those choices.

So now, three months into my little boy’s life, I look at the man beside me, and I realize more and more that my dad gave me Christopher.  He gave me the role model to look up to that made me seek out those same characteristics in my husband, whoever he was to be.  I look at the delight Chris derives from playing with his son (and the play isn’t even that interesting yet), and I think of my dad.  I think of my childhood and that feeling that no matter what, my dad was there and would make our adventure a fun one.

I see how cycles repeat themselves. I see how children learn from their parents – and how those lessons shape the next generation of parents. And I am so thankful – so very, very thankful – that my dad’s teachings led me to Christopher which led me to James which led me to feeling blessed – so very, very blessed.

So my thoughts on dads?

They’re pretty great, and I have some of the greatest of the great in my world.

Happy Birthday to you, Daddio; you taught me a lot about this little thing we call life.

On camping with a 3 month old…

Do it.

Really, just do it.

The joy, the wonder, the utterly perplexed look on a teeny little boy’s face when he wakes up in a tent (what’s a tent?) after sleeping his first night in the great outdoors.

Sweet sleeping bag, little man.

The realization – even for a three month old who isn’t allowed to watch television – that a campfire far surpasses the TV for entertainment.

A hike up a hill, strapped onto dad, only to be set free at the top to bask in the breeze, have a snack, and soak it in.

All of this joy, followed by the biggest temper tantrum in three month’s time after being packed in the car to head home.  We like to think he was sad to leave the woods, but, thankfully, given who his parents are, this won’t be the boy’s last night in the woods.

Month 3

Month 3…how quickly the months go.  A quarter of the way through your first year?  Incredible.

Slow down.  Please?

Month 3…so many new adventures: non-stop smiles, the first plane ride, visiting family in Colorado, mom going back to work, playing with toys, adventures in daycare…so very many changes.

 

When I think of month three, I think of happiness.  So much happiness.  We settled into our routine, and everything became a bit easier. I feel like James and I found our rhythm this month, which is most unfortunate given that I also had to go back to work.  Alas, the learning curve continues.

I have a lot of thoughts about working fulltime, finding time for being me and for being a mom, balancing what I want for James in this world with what I need for our family.  No one ever says it’s easy, and they’re right, but somehow it’s different when it’s me in the situation and it’s my own thoughts that need the sorting.  Daycare was not the hard part…James smiled from the minute I dropped him off, so that made it easier.  It’s also not a question of if he is being well taken care of.  Rather, it’s a question of how I feel about someone else seeing my child more of the week than I do.  That’s the struggle.  And while I know there is a balance out there, and I know it is good for me to have time away from him and time with adults, it is still something I struggle with.  There must be a solution – a happy medium – and I know that in time we will discover what that happy medium is…but for now it’s hard to be entirely patient with things.  We’ll see.

Aside from the daycare struggle, life is wonderful, beautiful, full of joy.  It may sound silly, but I just had no idea how much I would enjoy James. I knew I would like him, love him, whatever…but I didn’t realize I would LOVE him.  Love every bit about him…our walks, his smile, his frown, his cry, his rolly little thighs…every little bit.  I’m crazy about this thirteen pound wonder.  And I love it.

Some firsts from month three:

  • June 4: first plane ride
  • June 9: first baseball game (Rockies), and mom and dad’s first anniversary
  • June 10: first tear!
(Not really the first tear, but looks like it could have been)
  •  June 25: first day at daycare, first trip to Fenway park
  • June 28: the first (and only so far) laugh.  Oh, the first laugh. My heart melted at the most beautiful little sound I have ever heard. So sweet, so innocent, so magnificently beautiful to hear.

Month 3…so joyful, so full of laughter and love.  Time feels like it is moving too quickly – a quarter of a year already – but we love every bit of the adventure and cannot wait for what else is in store.

James, a hug and a kiss to the little man who, in such a short time, has shown us oh so very much.

My heart melts.

Month 2

What a difference a month makes.  Month one Chris and I were busy simply trying to stay afloat, and month two were found the ability to enjoy – to truly enjoy.  To become parents, or rather to realize we are parents.

James began to sleep a bit better, which we quickly learned holds the key to just about everything in our new life.  Just an important, he began to smile on May 10th.  The smiles started slowly and were not so easy to provoke, but day by day they became more prevalent.  And now we can play, snuggle, tease our way to so very many heart-melting smiles.  It is, in one simple word, incredible.

Taking a step back: I am not a baby person.  I’m afraid of, intimidated by, nervous around babies.  All babies, but most especially little babies.  But now?  I’m slightly – no, unabashedly – in awe of all babies. I find them magically entertaining, entirely fascinating, and so darn cute. All of them. Even the ones that aren’t my own.

It’s amazing what one tiny person can do for your outlook on the world.

So month two: the month in which we saw smiles; the month in which James met Grandma Jody, the month in which we regained our feet; the month in which we fell further in love with this tiny little boy than we ever dreamed possible.

Our adventures….

Manchester and Mother’s Day with both Grandmas, lobster, and a visit to Rockport:

Baths and other assorted activities with Dad…

Trips into Boston…

Smiles we have yet to catch on camera…

And love.  So much love.

Happy month two, my favorite little man. You make my heart weak.