Archive for January, 2010

“praise and thanks”

By now it is obvious that we didn’t have a name when we arrived at the hospital Monday morning.

The trouble is that in the process of finding a name for our little boy, we fell in love with too many names. So it was more a battle of which name to let go of then it was of which one to keep.

Several times, Nate expressed his disappointment that our boy was not a set of twins, because then it would be so much easier. I do not share this sentiment.

One of the many naming books that Nate poured over at the hospital suggested that if you can’t decide between two names, imagine your baby as a kindergartener and how you would explain to him the reason for giving him his name.

As you know we have a kindergartener, so this was not too hard to imagine.

This is the story that I told my kindergartener.

MAMA: “Once upon a time there was a daddy and a mama and a little girl. The daddy and the mama loved the little girl lots and lots, and they had even more love to share. And the little girl loved her daddy mama very much, but she had more love to share too.

AVA: Is this us?

MAMA: Listen to the story, Ava. So the daddy and the mama and the little girl began to pray for a baby. Every day the little girl would pray, “Dear Jesus, please put a baby in mama’s tummy.” She would pray at meal time and bed time and throughout the day.

Then one day the mama told the daddy and the little girl that a baby was coming. Everyone was so happy! They prayed and thanked Jesus for the new little baby. But then the baby died and they were very sad.

They prayed again that God would send them another baby. And He did. That baby died too. And so did the next baby. And then the mama and the daddy and the little girl were very, very sad. But they did not stop praying.

They prayed and waited and prayed and waited and prayed for a very, very long time.

Then one day the mama had good news. There was a new baby in her belly. The daddy and the little girl were so happy, but they were also a little scared. They didn’t want this baby to die too. Each day the little girl prayed, “Dear Jesus, please keep the baby safe in mama’s tummy.”

AVA: That’s what I prayed.

MAMA: Yes you’re right. And this little baby grew in the mama’s tummy and soon it was going to be born. And the daddy and the mama and the little girl were so excited, but they didn’t know if the baby would live or if the baby would be healthy. And then time came for the baby to be born and he came out healthy and whole. He had all his fingers and toes. He could see and hear. And he was beautiful.

AVA: Just like our baby. This is us, Mama, right?

MAMA: You’re right. And so did God answer our prayer?

AVA: Mmm-hmm.

MAMA: And what did we say to him?

AVA: Thank you for giving us this baby!

MAMA: Yes, that’s what we prayed, and we were so happy that we praised God for this baby. So do you think we should choose a name that means “praise and thanks”?

AVA: Like Jude. That’s why his name is Jude?

DADDY: How did you know that Jude means “praise and thanks”?

AVA: I just do.

MAMA: And Ava, who did you say gave us this baby?

AVA: God.

MAMA: So don’t you think we should give him another name that means “gift of God”?

AVA: What is it?

DADDY: Matthew. His name is Jude Matthew.

MAMA: And every time we say his name we can remember that how we prayed, how you prayed for him to come to our family and how God heard our prayers and gave him to us.

**Postscript: Jude is also the name that Nate and I have had in our minds these past three years as we have been praying for another child. Matthew comes from the same Hebrew word as Nathan and they share the same meaning.

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he’s here

He’s sweet.

He’s huge:9 lbs, 5 oz. 22 inches long!

He’s loved.

He’s ours.

He’s nameless.

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our wrinkle in time

For the past several weeks, I have been in nesting overdrive. Primal hormones are not a thing to be taken lightly. They have overtaken my body and I can no longer shut a drawer without first reorganizing it. My husband comes home each evening to pile of miscellanea waiting to be shuttled to the basement.

Though I am bone-marrow tired and dragging around a thirty-pound anchor, I cannot sit still. I cannot think. I cannot write. I can only work. My mind is consumed with one thought: “Baby is coming. Baby is coming. Baby is coming.”

Hungryman is sitting next to me with baby name books spread over his lap. He’s writing names in the air like a composer piecing together his next opus. This baby is hours away from making an appearance and the name still remains as elusive as the hidden face.

And while all around me is a frenzy of baby preparation, what I really want to tell you about is this gift called three weeks of Christmas vacation.

You see, I love that Ava goes to school. And I love Ava’s school. But adjusting to our separation and the rigidity of a school routine has been a kin to a strapping a saddle to a horse for the first time. I feel cinched and bound—and I have chafed under the burden of this schedule.

I missed the spontaneity of our free mornings. We had patterns and routines, but they were flexible. Somehow there always seem to be time for mini-excursions and extra crafts. School is rigid. Ava must be there at the same time every day for five straight days.

I loved those open days when Ava placed her hand in mine and we took on world, real and imagined.

From now on we will have another, a much desired other, but another just the same. Between school starting and this baby coming, that beautiful chapter has closed. And in life, you rarely get to revisit a chapter.

And so I was anticipating Ava’s Christmas vacation as much as she was the shiny, wrapped gifts under the tree. The first two weeks were swallowed up by celebrations and family. But that third week, when most everyone returned to work and Ava’s friends had reclaimed their places in school, she was all mine. I was all her’s.

It was as thought we had shaved out our own sliver of time.

At first I thought that we would march through all our favorite places, taking on the city the way we did in her pre-school days. And then Minnesota was blasted with an arctic chill that locked her up in an ice block for the entire week.

With the frigid winds and slippery sidewalks outside, Ava and I snuggled up inside under a quilt of books. We danced with the dromedary at Barbar’s wedding feast, helped Harry go from a black dog with white spots to a white dog with black spots, stood backstage with Angelina, and slid down stacks of hay with Laura and Mary. We hid from badgers, told Pinkie stories, sipped cocoa, and snuggled.

For those five days it was her and me, and me and her. We returned to the roots of our relationship—her rocking chair. It was a beautiful week.

In a very short time, her life, our life is going to change.

In order to type these words, I have to look over a massive sphere sitting on my lap.  I’m full of baby and full of thanksgiving. This little one making waves across my abdomen is an answer to her prayers and our prayers.

And while the wait was long, I can’t imagine a girl that I would have rather spent the past six years with. Ava, you are my delight and the daughter of my dreams.

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