Saturday, July 28, 2007

My Love by Numbers: The One, the Second, the First, and the Third

I'm so grateful for these two:



The big one need only be present for me to feel supported. Just his hand across my back as I pass by on my way to nowhere glamorous at all, is enough to lift...weight...off. "One hundred percent willing" is what makes marriage work and he is that. Every day he asks, "What can I do for you." I've stopped saying "Nothing" once I realized he wasn't just asking to ask.


Despite my gripes, I have to say that our home is graced with Lucy's presence. Nothing gets this girl down--even my own rantings and ravings--at her. Together we are the second child: Perhaps a little more dramatic, perhaps a little more sassy, perhaps a little more independent, but her strength does not preclude the need for gentle affection and attention. Tonight I went in to check on her bedtime chatter--an every night affair. "I have some poop in my diaper, Mom." She had already stripped her pajamas off in preparation. I laid her down on the carpet. "Don't get the poop on your hands, Mom." After we finished I stood her up to pull up the pajamas, she leaned in to my face, "Tell me a secret, Mom." I leaning into her face, "Sleep tight, sweet Lucy." She rewarded this whisper with a version of the above smile. Just like sugar.

I am also grateful for this one:

Much must be handed to the first child. The unfortunate position that lends itself to guinea pig-ness. Is it fair to the human being born first in a family to be the one on whom the parents practice? No. So, it must be that first born children come extraordinarily equipped to withstand mother's foibles and father's fumbles. So Seth withstands and survives. I am only praying he also thrives. Any fool could cue you in that he is here to teach me as much as I him. I know this when he says, after a careless loss of temper, "Be happy, Mom." I know this when, after being sent to his room, he calls from under the door, "I need you, Mom!" I know this when he prays every night, "Bless that Mommy, Daddy, Lucy, and Hazel will play with me." Despite the huge gaps in love that me "falling short" make, Seth knows those he needs, and those who need him. This, I think, is how he will thrive. And even though she is becoming somewhat of a "mama only" babe (like at the YMCA when I am retrieved three times from the yoga class because "she just won't stop" and then begins giggling upon my arrival, leaving us all exasperated). I love that I am her one and only Mama. Don't get me wrong, she nearly lunges for her Dad when he walks in the door and, today, for the first time, burst into tears when he walked out the door. With her wise brow and wish to be near familiar bodies she is the ideal third child. And look what appeared on her ear while at the pool today: uncanny, indeed!

And this? Well, who doesn't love a squishy baby bum:


*All photos courtesy of a whole day of Dad home.

7 comments:

Sara said...

BEAUTIFUL post Jordan. . .beautiful post! You do have a lot to love my lucky friend and even more lucky to have "dad" around all day. Those kiddos and their pops better know how very lucky they are too!

michelle said...

Ah, a whole day of dad home. That's enough to make you feel grateful! I loved all of these photos. The 3 on the ear? What in the world?? And the little child conversations -- so precious. I've thought many times about how unlucky it is to be the first child, the practice child. But I do think they tend to be well-equipped for their position. Loving little Hazel's dress! I brought that home from Paris for a friend. You have great taste!

Jenny Dahl said...

Nobody can capture the trials and joys of parenthood in the same breath as you can. I always love your words because they are so real. Real to anyone who loves their kids enough as much as you do and who is aware of their shortcomings only because they want to be better. That makes you one the of the best moms I know.

Kurt said...

Jord,
Love your laments and little lessons learned from those cute grandchildren of mine!
Kids teach us much more than what we want to learn of ourselves at times.
Hug all three for me. And hug the big guy too.
Love,
Dad

Heidi said...

You are such a beautiful writer and capture your thoughts (and photos) so well. What a treat to have Craig home all day!

Rebecca said...

The bigger the number the bigger your heart! Mucho love! MOM

Amy said...

I often think about the unfortunate guniea pig-ness of the firstborn. Mine bears it well, but I agonize over it constantly. We probably expect far too much of this little 4-year-old.

What bliss to have your One at home all day!