My, oh My!

Where to start, dear readers…

Life is daily: Ale and Jojo are loving school/daycare.  They love being with other children…and each other!  They greet one another almost every day with a smile and a hug.  It’s just a question of who will wake up the other sis!

Victor is growing his clientele, and has a job or two each day.  He’s also learning who the good customers are–and who he should stay away from!  There’s been a couple times he has needed some help, and eventually I see him growing this into a crew.  We are saving for a little work truck to increase his work area, and hopefully we will register him soon with the government in order to give receipts for tax purposes.

And I am still learning and struggling as a literacy coach!  There’s so much to learn and sometimes it is a bit disconcerting.  I feel so dumb and at the same time, it is incredibly empowering!  Learning what you don’t know and teaching it to others is a pretty cool thing!  I miss being in the classroom, and I would love to be back with kids someday.  I also really want to try out the things I learn!

We are planning a trip home this summer for the first time in two years, and I look forward to seeing my friends and family!  It’s strange and a little scary: the longer you are away from home, the easier it gets to be away from home…

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We are excited for the weekend and family time/adventures.  (Although to be honest a trip to Starbucks is an “adventure” for us!)  We were FINALLY able to visit Parras, the magical pueblo with the oldest wineries in the Americas!  We also took off for a day trip to a local dam/river.  The water in the river was deep enough to allow us to wade and swim.  Jojo, ever the tremenda, walked straight into the river and plopped down on her bottom to play!  Ale is getting confident in her puddle-jumper, but is still rather cautious.
My little family looks forward to the years to come with great anticipation.  The current political climate in the United States isn’t something we wish to return to anytime soon.  We are exploring our options and thinking about what will be best for us–and where we might be able to go while the girls are still young and rootless.  I am not being coy, by hinting of adventures without telling exactly what they are–we truly don’t know what they are!   More than anything, we want to be in a place where we can be helpful for God’s work, be secure financially (Mama still has school loans…), and hopefully learn a new language!  On the other hand, if it doesn’t work out and we stay here for another few years, we are okay with that too!
We will see what God has in store for us–and we know we have to approach each day new and open to opportunities!

A Lesson on Mourning and Empathy Following a Trump Win  

I deleted Facebook on purpose: your posts about the election always upset me.  Rather than engage in social media arguments with you, I chose silence and distance.  But I opened Facebook the day after the election.

Big mistake.

I, not only saw the Fox News rhetoric, but saw a complete and utter lack of empathy for those of us who are hurting due to the election results.  This explanation is for you: my white friends.

I call you my white friends because that is what you are.  None of my Latino friends say the things you do.  None of my black friends are posting begging us to “give Trump a chance.”  None of my gay and lesbian friends (albeit white) have asked us to move on.  

Only you: my white friends.

I am going to tell you what the Black Lives Matter movement told you, but you didn’t hear.  Your white privilege (yes, this is a real thing) protects you in ways that you don’t understand.  I understand why you don’t understand.  I didn’t “get it” either.  And then I began to think of my Mexican children.  I began to think of my African students.  I began to think of my non-Christian friends.

See, that’s what empathy is: empathy is stepping out of your own shoes and trying on another pair.  Then empathy requires you to say, “Wow! Yeah, the world looks at me differently here. What a bummer!”  Empathy allows you to return to your zapatitos and still remember, feel for, and understand the way someone else feels.

I haven’t seen that from you.  Instead there are posts about giving Trump a chance.  Posts about respecting our commander in chief no matter who he is.  Posts about how Trump’s voting population wasn’t created from hateful people.  Posts about how we all need to move on and get over it.  Posts about how Trump wants to bring us together.

And that tells me you don’t get it.

I don’t understand: we could see with each speech how Trump belittled those who didn’t look like him.  We heard story after story about him encouraging violence against anyone who believed differently and dared to say so.  In fact, they weren’t merely stories:  we saw video evidence!   We heard his “plan” for deportation of Latinos, elimination of equal rights to marry, and registration of Muslims.

So why don’t you understand the fear those people have?

It isn’t unjust fear!  They were told, as were you and I, that life would be different for them if Trump was elected.  Of course they are afraid! and sad! and worried!

Giving Trump “a chance” is a little hard when he’s told you your time is up.  Respecting a man who has so little respect for others in near impossible if you are the others.  Believing that you, his voters, aren’t hateful or ignorant is difficult when his entire campaign was built on a solid foundation of hate: beginning with hate and ending with hate.  Moving on and getting over it isn’t an option–as the next four years we are bound to this joke of a “leader.”  And trusting him to bring us together is equally laughable (except none of this is laughable) because he has done his best to drive a wedge between us: painting a picture of what American should be from the eyes of a privileged white man.

This isn’t about Hillary Clinton and her loss.  This isn’t about Bernie Sanders and his revolution. This is about one man who has caused hurt and fear in millions of people–not just Americans, but all over the world.  This is real.  This is scary.  Try to understand that, would you?

Halloween (With a Three Year Old)

Halloween with a three year old means buying grey hoodies to make shark costumes.  It means singing “baby shark, doo doo…” over and over (and over and over…)

Halloween with a three year old means that the night before a school Halloween party she informs you that, no, she is going to be a witch.(duh.) It means she will need a broom.  A hat.  A skirt.  Witch tights.

     
  Halloween with a three year old means she can remove the spider dangling from the witch’s hat, because she doesn’t like spiders.

Halloween with a three year old means giggles ensue when she talks about her calzones that Pablo looked for under her tutu.

Halloween with a three year old means toys have to be picked up before trick or treating.  It means you have to help, because she has forgotten where they go.  (And that the clean up song is for school.)

Halloween with a three year old means keeping little hands busy by gluing notes onto the marshmallow bags you are handing out to neighbors.  It means she will groan with sheer exhaustion when she can’t handle gluing one more.

Halloween with a three year old means that 30 minutes before it is time to trick or treat, she will change her mind about her costume.  It means she will be a “princess.”  It means you will have to move the bed to find her crown that fell off after she went to bed with it on.

    
Halloween with a three year means they can trail behind the big kids hollering, “Queremos Halloween!”  It means they lug their bag of candy  without help while you watch from the street.

Halloween with a three year old means you stare in disbelief that the neighborhood party starts at 8 and keeps going strong at 9.  Those people clearly don’t have three year olds.  

Halloween with a three year old means leaving the park after she screams at you–a bit embarrassed but mostly glad for an opportunity to use love and logic.  It means you get to say things like, “Would you like to walk or would you like me to carry you?  Would you like a sip of water or would you prefer to go straight to bed?”

Halloween with a three year old means hearing for the first time how little your daughter likes you.  It means she will tell you she wants a different mami, and that she wants to give you to the police.  It means you will have to hide your smile even as part of you dies a little inside.

Halloween with a three year old means that cuddles, laughter, bedtime stories, and hand holding will remind her how much fun it is to be a three year old.  It means that you made it another night. 

  
Get your sleep, mama.  Threeangers are out to get you again tomorrow.  Because Tuesdays everyday with a three year old…

Sweet Will of God

Today I had a friend ask me about what brought me to Mexico.  She and I have known each other for two years, but for some reason, the topic never came up.  She asked, “Did the thought ever cross your mind that you would find a boyfriend in Mexico?”

Whoa.

Talk about a major trip down Memory Lane! As I began telling her the story of coming to Mexico, something occurred to me: this year and last year line up perfectly with the days matching the dates for the year I left the States and moved to Mexico.  That means the day I quit my job (FIVE YEARS AGO?!?!) fell on the same day of the week this year.

Which means that this day, this time five years ago I was having a really hard realization that a relationship with a man I loved was coming to an end.

Which means that it was this month five years ago that I took a trip to West Virginia with some dear friends where I received renewing and encouragement I didn’t believe I needed.

Which means that it was five years ago that I sat in a Sunday morning meeting and cried throughout the hymn that said, “I worship thee, sweet will of God…”

Five years.  A lot can happen in five years.  Thankfully, God’s will for our lives will always be the best.  And when we allow him to have control of present, he can make something spectacular for our future.

So tonight I sit in my home in Mexico–five years later.  My baby is gnawing on my toes and pulling at my skirt-tail.  My daughter just yelled at me to come help her from the other room.  The four of us just got back from walking to the store to buy tamales and burritos from the street vendor.  And tomorrow I will (hopefully) go to Sunday morning meeting and we can sing the words of this hymn.  The words in English still have such great meaning for me!  I worship thee, sweet will of God, and all thy ways adore–and every day I live I seem to love thee more and more.  Perhaps  it’s the third verse means the most to me in Spanish–because the others are practically translated the same:

  I have no regrets today–I trust in your goodness.  I enjoy now the blessing of pleasant freedom. 

 

Pure Joy

There may be no greater delight than…

  • Watching my girls giggle together
  • Seeing them cuddled next to one another with arms slung above their heads fast asleep
  • Hearing the old one talk to the new one 
  • Hearing the new one coo at the first one
  • Dreaming of the fun they’ll some day have–telling secrets, sharing sorrow, growing in love

  Ahhh…how sweet it is!
  

A Birth Story, Part Four (The Birth)

When I booked the reservation at the hotel, something told me that my little girl would cut our visit short.  I completely relaxed during that final day, and perhaps that is what coaxed my littlest love to arrive: a mommy’s body doesn’t cooperate well when it is in a stressful situation.

(*See footnote for explanation of “Ding Dang Baby.”)

My contractions began at around 11pm, and I just continued to read while relaxing in bed.  They seemed pretty steady though, and I mentioned them to Victor about an hour later.  He asked if I wanted to go home.  I didn’t really see the need of abandoning our hotel room until we knew for sure this was it.  I also wasn’t in a hurry: Ale took forever to be born, so I thought we had plenty of time ahead of us.

Ale was asleep, so I just continued to monitor the situation without waking her.  Finally, I decided I would use the app on my phone.  It helped me to realize that maybe we were further along than expected.  Around 2:30am we started the process of cleaning up and packing up the hotel.  Ale awoke and couldn’t understand why we couldn’t go swimming.  She had started the day wearing her swimsuit and tutu, and at this point was dancing around the hotel room wired.  I had been telling her for a month that her sister was “coming soon,” so she was pretty unphased.  That is until the contractions were strong enough for me to need to stop and breath.  “Mama, stop!  Stop doing that!” she said more than once.

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This was our last family photo before Josie was born.  Victor was a little irritated that I wanted a photo during my labor–so there was no time for a retake!

Victor called his mom to let her know I was in labor, and I called the midwife as we were leaving the hotel.  I also notified my mom and sister, as promised.  Clearly it was the middle of the night, as both of them asked me if I was going to go home…  Umm, no, I thought I would I would just use the bathtub here.  

This chat spans a couple of hours.

I not-so-patiently checked out of the hotel.  Contractions were pretty strong, and I had to stop to breath through them several times during the process.   I would feel one beginning, and tell the middle-aged man behind the counter, “Excuse me.”  Then I would turn my back on him, walk to the wall, hold on, and breath for a minute.  When the contraction subsided, I walked back, smiled, and apologized.

The taxi arrived and I joined my family outside.  (My husband must have been a little nervous.  He let my toddler pee in front of the hotel before getting in he taxi.  No time for a bathroom break! No sir!)  The ride home was pretty quick.  I sat in the front seat just to continue making middle-aged Mexican men uncomfortable.

We arrived home and began getting the room ready.  Remember when I said I thought we had plenty of time?  Well, we didn’t prepare the room before leaving for the hotel… So there we were, 3:30 in the morning getting everything in order.  I went through the baby basket and cleaned off the table in our room.  (By “cleaned off the table,” I actually mean I swept everything into a bag and stashed it in the closet.)  I am pretty sure Victor swept and mopped.  Finally, I took a permanent break from getting the room ready to concentrate on getting my body ready.

 My contractions were strong.  I know this next part sounds crazy, so don’t judge me: As a contraction would start, I would imagine a tall skinny man.  That’s what it felt like.  The contraction was like a long line that went down my back.  With my hands braced against the wall, I would start at his head and breath my way down his body.  Weird, I know.  It helped though, a coping mechanism of sorts.  I also nodded my head as I breathed, so I am pretty sure I looked nuts too.

The bathroom was nice because it was dark and private, but at this point it felt good to stand up.  I didn’t want to bend over, lay against the sink/wall, squat on the toilet, etc.  It felt good to stand straight pushing out to my sides with both hands against the doorframe.  My midwife arrived and did a quick check on the baby.

She, her crew, and Victor worked in the bedroom to get the pool set up and filled.  I literally didn’t see my husband again until the baby was born.  My labor was requiring all my concentration, and I didn’t have a break or all the time in the world to chit-chat like I did with Ale.  Finally I asked if the tub was ready, and continued my labor there.

I have sweet memories of Ale during this time.  She would check on me during contractions.  A couple times I remember her getting right down in my face and smiling a big, fake, slightly terrified looking smile.  I was aware that she was there and needed some reassurance.  I would smile back (I think, although it was probably more of a grimace.), tell her I was fine, and let her know baby sister would be there soon.  She joined me, bathing suit and all, in the birthing tub.  My midwife showed her how to pour water on my back during the contractions.  At some point, she got out and fell asleep in the next room.  Later I found out that she refused to remove her bathing suit before sleeping.

In the pool my contractions changed.  They weren’t a tall, skinny man anymore.  They morphed into a short, fat man.  Instead of long pain, it was horizontal and stretched across my back.  The short, fat man wasn’t nearly as nice as the tall guy. The coolest thing is that depending on my pain, my midwife knew where the baby was.  She didn’t make me get out of the water to check the progress, because she could tell the labor was progressing.  She also didn’t check to see that I was dilated, so I have no idea how far along I was.

It seemed like I was in the birthing tub for hours.  Later, Tirsa (the midwife) told me it was only about an hour.  I laid down a while, like one might in a bathtub.  Then Tirsa said it could help to change my position and move my hips.  I would ask questions like, “Why is there no break?” “Why does it only hurt on one side?”  She would just answer, and we would rest until the next contraction.  She applied counter pressure to by lower back and hips during the contractions, as well as pouring the warm water over my back.  I was on my knees while lying against the side of the tub.  I remember somehow working my way from one side of the tub to the other.

I didn’t voice these thoughts aloud, but in my head I thought, “Never again.” “I understand why women like drugs,” etc.  When I started getting the urge to push it seemed unreal.  With Ale I would push, then fall asleep in between contractions.  With Josie, there was no time!  I remember telling everyone I felt like I needed to poop.  (A bit embarrassing now…)  Tirsa said, “That’s because your baby is coming!”  Someone got my errant husband, and he held me at the end.  Three contractions back-to-back and Josie arrived!  I was on my knees, so they helped her swim between my legs to the front.  I laid back, and put her on my chest.  Wow.  That feeling.  Even writing about it now makes me tingle inside.

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The hours after her birth were amazing too.

I had watched this really inspiring video about the breast crawl, and I wanted to see if it worked.  We moved to the bed and placed Josie on my chest.  It was totally cool!  Within 30 minutes she latched onto my breast.  I delivered the placenta, but it was just placed into a bag alongside of us.  I don’t remember when we cut the cord, but it was so calm in the room, it wasn’t a big deal!  I moved to rest against the wall, and we continued to work on breastfeeding.  I had (mistakenly) thought that after nursing Ale for 2 years and 4 months, I would be a pro.  Wrong.  Feeding a newborn is no task for the faint-hearted!

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I feel like I should reiterate how calm it was.  Maybe I felt calmer because it was my second baby, but the general atmosphere of the room (and the people present) was peaceful with Josie.  I had a home birth and water birth with Ale, but it wasn’t exactly the calmest environment.  In fact, Josie’s entire labor was MUCH calmer.  When it was over, I almost immediately felt like I could do it again.

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Ale meets her sister, Joselyn Victoria.  (Josie’s name is a combination of my brother, Joseph, and my sister, Jenny Lyn.  Her middle name is in honor of her Papi, Victor.)

I have so enjoyed looking back over the photos.  The following photos are of the hours/days following Joselyn’s arrival:

 

 

 

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Josie is one day old! (Yes, she’s at McDonald’s.  We took her sister there after registering Josie’s birth with the powers that be…)

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Ale’s special Big Sister cake that she helped to make. (Because only BIG girls get to cook with Mami–not babies.)

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Daddy and Josie!

 

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Sister still likes to poke the baby’s cheeks! I blame that on old Mexican women who always grab her cheeks. 😉

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Abuela and Josie; My mother-in-law is something special.  Upon meeting Josie, she THANKED me.  It still makes tears come to my eyes to think about it!

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Los Abuelos! Having them here for Josie’s birth was really special.

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Sweet girl…

* “Ding Dang Baby” is from a Jacqueline Woodson book, Pecan Pie Baby.  I read the book when I was pregnant, and I sat and cried in my office.  It is all about a sister who isn’t overly excited about the birth of her sibling.  She calls him a “Ding Dang Baby.”  I was really worried about Ale being hurt or feeling replaced by Josie.  After reading the book to my mom, we often referred to Josie as the “Ding Dang Baby.”  This is an AMAZING book, by the way.

** I am SO happy I have these text messages with Mama and Jenny.  Not only do they remind me of details, but they provide quite a bit of comic relief!

Solo Dios Sabe (Only God Knows)

Mexicans use “only God knows” as an accepting phrase when life has given something unexpected.  It is like saying, “God knows best.”

 
Victor and I have been reflecting a lot on our first days in Mexico.  Today is the four year anniversary of my arrival to Chiapas–and last week was his four year return arrival to Mexico.  I sat in meeting Wednesday night, and cried through the Spanish version of “Oh! For the Peace.”  I could help of thinking back to how broken I was four years ago–and how much healing I’ve received.  It isn’t because my trust has been perfect, but rather because I am still seeking perfect trust.

Oh! For the peace of a perfect trust, my loving God, in thee.  Unwavering faith that never doubts thy choice is best for me.

I made a lot of choices for myself in 2011.  Some of my decisions were selfish–seeking to hold onto what I wanted rather than what God wanted for me.  I was trusting God though, when I turned in my notice for my job.  I was trusting God when I moved back to Tennessee.  I was trusting God when I accepted that position in Chiapas.  It wasn’t easy or what I wanted in many cases, but his choice was best for me…

Best though my plans be set at naught; best though the way be rough.  Best though my earthy store be scant–In thee I have enough.

I planned for years.  Planning was comforting to me–and exciting!  I loved thinking of how my life would unfold, and of the people that would be part of my life in the future.  I never planned for a rough road.  I never planned for a six-month position in Mexico to turn into more than four years south of the border.  I never planned on my heart healing with each charming smile from my Mexican husband.  I tell people that my greatest lesson was leaving Virginia where I made a great salary (for a teacher), had tons of possessions, had great friends and family but I was unhappy–to find my happiness in Mexico, where my pockets were empty, my suitcase could fit all I owned, and I was far from everything and everyone I had held dear to me.

Best though my health and strength be gone, tho weary days be mine; shut out from much that others have: not my will, Lord, but thine.

The healing that came to me in Mexico didn’t just come to my heart–but also my overall health!  It’s hard to explain to my friends here how sick I was.  I remember thinking, “I’m 26 years old!  I shouldn’t feel like an old lady!”  I got out of bed in the morning, and my body hurt.  I had unexplainable inflammation everywhere: my knees, my hips, my back, my stomach, my throat, my eyes, etc.  I don’t know what the biggest change has been–maybe the tranquil life in Mexico, maybe a change in my diet…  (Now the groaning that happens when I get out of bed now has more to do with this baby that will be arriving in about four weeks.)

And e’en though disappointments come, they, too, are best for me, to wean me from this changing world and lead me nearer thee.

This happens mostly with work.  I let work become too important in my life–and every time I do, something has to shock me back to refocus on what’s important.  When I feel myself slipping into frustration and disappointment at work, it is usually because I’ve not been putting God first.  It is a good reminder that this world and the things in it are vain–and that my treasure has to be things that aren’t of this world.

Oh! For the peace of a perfect trust that looks away from all, yet sees thy hand in everything, in great events and small.

I remember my friend saying, “Someday we will know where Nino belongs,” and the comfort that gave me.  I look back four years–and even beyond to my last days in Virgina.  I think of the events that led up to my salida, and how easy it is now to see God’s hand!  God gave me peace as an answer to my prayers: I left knowing that God’s will was best.  I prayed, “If what I want isn’t your will, help me to accept it.”  I honestly believe that is why I was able to move forward and embrace the blessings in Mexico: not because of something in me, but rather because God helped me to accept it.  I can see his hand in my choices in Chiapas–and in the path that led me from there and back again to northern Mexico.

That hears a voice, a father’s voice, directing for the best; Oh! For the peace of a perfect trust–a heart with thee at rest.

The rest that comes with peace in trusting the Lord–that is what can’t be replaced!  When complicated choices lie before me, I want to remember that the devil is the author of confusion.  I can trust the Lord to continue leading and guiding our family, and put my own wants and desires aside.  As I enter my fifth year in Mexcio, I long for the peace of a perfect trust: and someday I know I will be able to look back and see God’s hand leading, guiding, and protecting.

Only God knows…

Sleepless South of the Border

My thoughts are full of my baby girl who will join us in 8 short weeks… She wakes me up in the night, and I lie awake thinking of what I need to do, questions I need to ask, and money I need to save.

My big girl is sleeping beside me, her feet occasionally digging into my sides.  While she’s excited about her sister, I lie here wondering what she will do when another baby joins our bed.  How will we sleep?  Where will the baby go?  How can I make sure Ale still gets to snuggle too?  How will I breastfeed and read at the same time? 

Then my thoughts take me to our impending appointment with a midwife.  I didn’t know she existed before Ale was born, but I’m interested in her services now.  Will we like her?  How will she react to my wishes?  What happens if I tear? Can she repair that? (quick Google search for perineal massages…) Will she let me delay cord clamping?  When will she want to set up the birthing pool? Why did her family come to Mexico? I wish I could snoop more on Facebook…

Googling prepping my down-there region reminds me to look at hypnobirthing again.  Quickly I open my iTunes and start listening to a variety of options.  I find that I prefer a British or Austrailian accent over an American.  When should I start meditating? How do I choose the right track for the right time?  Is this just a study course, or will someone talk me through my birth?  Will it make me fall asleep?  Will I be wasting money?  

Oh! Money! I have to budget for the next two weeks before we get paid again.  That reminds me to look into what essential oils will relax me or help stimulate contractions.  While navigating the Young Living page, I get frustrated over the lack of prices.  Is it worth it?  Do I need to get a diffuser?  Should I just bite the bullet and sign up for a starting kit?  Did my friend already order one as we discussed today on the bus?  Will I get it in time?

What else do I need for her?  I ordered some clothes and socks.  What did Ale wear?  Will her cloth diapers be too big?  I begin to think of my cloth diapers folded neatly in the closet, and then of the new diapers I ordered. That reminds me that I need to get gift cards for my baby supply mules who went home over Thanskgiving break.  Then my stomach growls.

Really?  I’m hungry in the middle of the night?  While I’ve only gained three pounds, I start thinking of the next eight weeks of baby growth.  She already feels so tight–how much bigger will I get? How long will the doctor let me work.  I need to remember to print a copy of the “new” law to take with me to my appointment on Friday.  What if he doesn’t let me work during January?  What if the baby comes early?  Will I be able to get a passport in time?

Without a moment to spare (haha), I just have to check the requirements for Mexican passports.  There is no way the baby could get her birth certificate and passport (from the U.S.) in time to travel in March. 

Oh! March! Graduation! Eek!  Class work that is due soon!

And then I begin building a list of what I need to do at work in the next 14 school days prior to Christmas break…

This, my friends, is why I am lying in bed awake at 3:05 a.m.

Sisters: A Forever Kind of Friendship

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“I want to kiss the baby!”

Victor and I were excited to find out that we were expecting again.  It wasn’t something that we had planned, but the best things in life seem to be the things I haven’t planned for myself!  This little baby is a blessing to our family!

I haven’t really announced this baby on social media, and I have kept quiet even on here until now.  It seems that having one sweet little girl has made it more real how fragile life is–and I haven’t felt comfortable talking much about this new life until now.  I have friends who have struggled to conceive, friends who have lost precious babies the early weeks, and friends who have carried to full term only to lose the baby at the end.  I am aware that life is God’s gift to be given and taken away.  How humbling!

Ale has become so excited about Baby Sister.  She hugs me, kisses my belly, and plays with all the baby’s things that we have been getting ready.  Originally we thought a little boy would be joining our family–and it wasn’t until nearly my third trimester that the doctor went to confirm the sex and was surprised by the evidence (or lack thereof) on the ultrasound.  While I was shocked, I started to think of how great it would be to have a little sister for Ale.

I am a little sister.  And I have a little sister.  There’s nothing quite like the relationship of sisters!  I love my brothers dearly, but there’s something different about sisters.  I think of these sweet older ladies that I grew up with in meeting.  The three sisters.  Even in their old age, they were fast friends!  My own Mamaw and her sister, Aunt Lucy, were also together to the end.  Sisters are like friends you didn’t choose for yourself–again confirming that the choices we don’t make for ourselves are the best!

Sisters get to sleep together.  Sisters get to live together.  Sisters get to share clothes, shoes, hair products, and bedrooms.  Sisters get to share secrets.  Sisters get to be silly, scary, and sneaky.  Sisters make memories every time they are together.  Sisters bring up memories that the other wishes could be forgotten.  Sisters sing, play, snuggle and giggle.  Sisters fight and forgive.  Sisters gossip.  Sisters encourage.  Sisters believe the best.  Sisters accept the worst.  Sisters stick together.  Sisters are forever friends.

sisters

Not the best picture of any of us, but the last sister photo we have together.

 

 

Mamaw on My Mind

I think of my Mamaw a dozen times a day.  It isn’t that I think of her more now than before, but now I have the second reminder that she is gone.  Now I feel a brief whisper of sadness knowing I won’t see her this summer when I go home.  

I just walked into the bedroom, and felt the air blowing on the floor.  I remember hot summer nights, when I would go sleep on the floor in front of the fan or air conditioner.  Mamaw believed in the power of sleep.  She didn’t believe in freezing interiors to combat sticky Tennessee nights, but she tolerated my need for air.

Today I made myself a glass of iced tea–and thought about making some green tea for a cold drink.  I don’t remember when it was, but at some point (I think around high school) Mamaw started making green tea as an iced tea.  She was on to something.  It is delicious cold.  Mamaw always had a cold drink in the fridge, but more than anything, she loved water.

Mama went to visit sweet friends today, and Maci went along with her.  That made me remember all the times I begrudgingly visited the old folks when I was young.  Now I treasure those visits.  We would eat a bite, and Mamaw would wash and wrap up their hair.  I remember the first time I saw a fake bun that a lady made from her hair as it fell out.  

She was brilliant, loving, and beyond what words could say.  What an amazing woman.  I am happy for these memories of her.  I just wish my babies could have known her (and there it is! Another memory of how she used to say that she wished her mama could have known us…)