I'm sitting in my parents' dining room. The girls are down for the night, my dad's watching his program on PBS, and my mom is resting peacefully. Today has been a good day for her. By "good" i just mean that she has kept down the 6 bites of ice cream, 1 cup of soda, and 10 bites of flan that she's eaten. We've tried the "bland" diet and it didn't make a difference--so we shifted to the "comfort food" diet, and now at least she's eating things she likes. She's weaker and weaker every day. She's eating so little, and not keeping most of it down--the mysterious and intermittent nausea is, by far, the worst part of all of this. Her pain is minimal--thank heavens for modern medicine!! She is so strong. She keeps trying to make this as easy on us as possible. Being here with her feels more and more like a privilege every day. I love her so much.
Of all the three weeks in the year to be here, these three weeks have been the best. The weather is amazing, the neighborhood kids are all outdoors, and Provo is in full bloom. We're house-bound most of the day, so having the option of heading outside at all times has been crucial to my childrens' happiness. And mine. And having an abundance of blossoms and flowers to bring in to Grandma has just been icing on this beautiful Spring cake. My mom's tulip garden opens up a new color almost everyday. Since she can't get out to her garden, we bring her garden in to her. And it brightens her day. And ours.
I have so many things i need to write and share about this experience, about my mom, and about last weekend with all but one of us in town. And i will. But tonight is for a different post. So I'll just say THANK YOU to all who have emailed, commented, called, and extended service in SO MANY WAYS! I literally feel like i'm completely surrounded by people who love me and my mom and my family. It's amazing, it's overwhelming, and it's more comforting than you can imagine. Thank you. And sorry if I don't email back. I'm not really good at emailing back in the first place...and when the emails start out with "don't feel like you have to email me back" i've just been running with it :)
Tonight my little mind is full of memories of this very night, five years ago. I was about 5-6 hours into what would be a 26 hour labor with Grace. When we drove to the hospital all of Boston was still in it's winter sleep. The only sign of new life I could find was in my big ole' belly. And although she took her sweet time making her way out, when she finally came I felt like the entire world stopped for those few moments--those moments that are more tender and more real than anything I'd ever experienced. I was feeling a new kind of love. It was awesome.
I'm sure it was the epidural speaking, or the sleep deprivation (which can be seen in above photo) from the twenty non-epidural hours previous --but I remember looking at Reid and, unable to find any other way to express my happiness, saying, "I want to do this a million more times!" (And, if it weren't for the recovery, the pre-epidural labor, the pregnancy, the stretch marks, the weight gain or, oh yeah, the child-raising--I really just might!)
Three days later, when we left the hospital (keep in mind that one of those days was spent entirely in labor...and i'm still not sure why i wasn't sent back home...) the entire city of Boston was in full bloom. Spring had landed, the Charles River was lined with blossoming trees and full of sailboats in action. I remember looking at the sailors and wondering how in the world their life was just going on like normal when there, in the back seat of our little car, was God's greatest miracle--a new baby!! "Grace" seemed like the most fitting name for this gift from Above--that we surely didn't merit, but had still been given.
She was perfect. She was beautiful. She was ours. Everything about her made me love Reid that much more. And tomorrow, when she wakes up, she'll be five. FIVE!!!
To say "where did the time go?" not only seems cliche, but also a bit unfitting. I think that something like "there were soooo many days i never thought that this day would come" might be more appropriate. But which one do I want Grace to read twelve years down the road when I decide to tell her about the internet and computers and this blog? i suppose the truth, right?
Well, the truth is that these five years truly have been the most wonderful five years of my life. And much of this is due to my sweet Grace.
Grace is awesome. She is bright. She is caring. She is stubborn. She is pensive. She is creative. She is bossy. She is imaginative. She is argumentative. She is kind. She is competitive. She is a great big sister. She is so many wonderful and challenging things all wrapped up into the best five-year-old bundle in this whole wide world. And I love her about a billion times more today than I did five years ago.
I'd planned to be back in Denver by her b-day, but it didn't work out that way. So we'll be celebrating here. She hasn't even really complained about it, sweet girl. I made her a nightgown that she got to wear to bed tonight. She loves it--she's been in it since 5:00. We had angle food cake on Saturday with her cousins who were in town for the night, she'll get muffins for breakfast, cupcakes with her new friends here, and homemade mac 'n cheese for dinner. I picked up a few things for her at the thrift store--and even a couple gifts at Target (i know, i'm getting crazy!). Hopefully she'll have a good day. She had a big joint party a couple weeks ago that i might post about someday (or you could read about here) that was more than enough birthday-ing for one year. But I'm just feeling a little guilty about dragging her away from her preschool and friends back home for three straight weeks--so i'm probably going a little overboard... :)
Five years ago tonight, I called my mom to tell her that i was in labor. She was devastated that she wasn't able to be there for the birth of my first child. She was still recovering from chemo, and wasn't yet up for traveling. So she called me. Lots. And it was great. In those first days of being a mom, I felt a hugely increased amount of gratitude towards her as a mom, as my mom. I felt the need to tell her about 20 times a day how awesome I thought she was for doing this SEVEN times!! And I've spent the past five years continually telling her how much her sacrifices and service and love have meant to me.
Grace's birth gave me an awareness of and appreciation for my mom that I had not come to on my own. Given my selfish tendencies, I might never have gotten there. So, of all the things that Grace has taught me and given me over the past five years-- tonight, that's the one i'm most thankful for.
Happy 5th Birthday, Grace!!