Monday, May 30, 2011

"It is not everyday that the world arranges itself into a poem."
— Wallace Stevens on the days it does, I stop to notice. These days have felt like that...perhaps more so because of coming out of a difficult patch. Our sweet babymoon bonding was definitely interrupted by the illness Josh got several days before Mother's day. He ended up being in the hospital for almost three days. He had something called Rhabdomylosis which is basically muscle deterioration brought on by working out too hard and not having enough carbs. They also thought that he was weak and fighting some kind of virus at the same time so he couldn't go near Harper. For the better part of two weeks my poor husband slept and fought a fever and tried to heal while I worried about him and tried to hold things together on my own with a brand new one. My hat is off all to all you single moms; you are amazing. I don't think I could do it. It turns out that in large families it really helps to have a functioning papa. The rhythm of our home was definitely off and exhaustion took on a whole new meaning. With that said, I am so thankful that Josh is healed and that we are adjusting to our new normal with our newest family member. The simple joy of these past few days rests in my palm like some precious pearls after the difficulties as of late.
~The sight of a mysterious little dark bird that seemed to enjoy the gentle brush of Ella's fingers,
~the morning light, sublime on his baby soft skin,
~picnics, fountains, whisper clouds, summer skin,
~late nights with garden lights and honeysuckle air, rocking a restless Harper to the soft sounds of this incredible music, drinking in the words
~ the sound of guitar strings ushering in quiet night time after the busy noise of the day
~ date night with my love looking back over twelve years of marriage and dreaming about road trips and music and who our little loves will become.

Happy anniversary love, you are my comfort and home.

Friday, May 20, 2011

sister love

This is one of my favorite pictures of my sisters. Last weekend we flew my sister from NJ down here for her birthday. I haven't lived near Heather since before I left for college but our hearts are closer than ever. She's a mom of five and just an authentic, compassionate, beautiful person. Friday we got to spend the day together doing the things we would probably do all the time if we lived closer. We went out to breakfast and shared our hearts over chai while Harper slept away. Then we shopped and got stuck in my favorite store when the sky went dark and a storm came rolling in. Blue Skies is full of pretty, and inspiring things. It makes me want to create things. We talked and admired while the rain streamed down the windows, and we didn't think about how much time would pass before we saw each other again or how different our kids would look.

The five of us Riley's are rarely all in the same place so it was such a gift to spend our last night out together. I loved watching Heather love on my three-week-old. We just might have to do this for every birthday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

*one month*

I was scurrying around sorting paper work and doing laundry when I looked down at this little face. I've figured out a couple of things since having Harper. He likes to snuggle and nurse and he does not like being put down. So he goes in the same little pouch that all my babies went in and loved, probably because it feels like being in the belly again. My hands are mostly free but it's a little harder accomplishing things with this little bundle. When I looked at his tiny face staring up at me I thought,"Hmm, I can keep going from picking up this pile of clutter to paying that bill but never quite finishing anything, or I can go stare at Harper." So the latter sounds like a lot more fun so we sit on the couch and I tell him a thousand things he doesn't understand but it doesn't matter because he looks up with those intent gray-blue newborn eyes. He knows my voice and he knows he's being loved. He curls his tiny body up into me and bobs his head on my neck looking for milk, giving me lots of open-mouth baby kisses. Memories of all my babies come rolling back. It is all so familiar; the wild little cries, the little bird legs, the trembling bottom lip, this helpless hungry creature born into love and built by the hands of an artist. It is humble and physical and human but also a masterpiece breathed by God. I wish I never needed sleep and that all of my prayers and love will follow him every day of his life. I hope that when he becomes a man they will cover him and carry him. I have had one month of knowing you, little Harper, and every moment is a gift.

Oh, and please do stop by for a chat and a cup of chai but just know if you are stepping over toys and moving laundry to find a seat, it's all Harper's fault. He's irresistible:)

Monday, May 09, 2011

mother's day

This morning it's Sunday, Mother's day. Harper is a whole two and a half weeks old. We're not going to church yet with the baby. My poor husband is burning up with a fever that he's had for the past three days. So the morning is going something like this; Harper is fed, now to fix french toast and blueberries for three hungry little bears. I check Josh's temperature, still high and I put a cool cloth on his head. I really want some tea but I can't find a clean tea cup. My thoughts are disjointed going from one worry and task to the next. I check my email and realize I've missed Kindergarten pre-registration for Ella. I carry some laundry to Ella's room where I can barely walk as it seems that they've made a floor covering using every book they own. I wonder why do I keep 'doing' when I need to be resting and meditating on my Lord and what He wants from me today. I can hear the girls fighting over a fairy coloring book so I mediate that and remind them that our chore/behavior chart has a lot more sad faces than stars. I realize my shirt is half soaked in breast milk and my eyes are shadowed and heavy. I try to get a quick shower. My leg is half shaved when Harper starts to wail from his basket so now the girls are coming in trying to shove his pacifier in. The volume is rising and I'm hurrying. "It's like a bathroom party in here," Ella says.

Harper wanted to get up about every hour last night and I'm craving a little quiet. The day goes down hill from here. Josh's fever won't come down and now he is looking slightly yellow. After a small discussion we decide a trip to the ER is in order. The rhythm of our house is off with the papa out of commission and a very tired mama who has a very new baby who really just wants to nurse or snuggle all the time. We're in a funk and the kids attitudes are showing it, and so is mine. I'm pulling on my mantras, "His mercy is new... every morning."

**Back to finish this post. There may be some interrupted blogging around here for awhile.**

Later that night when kids are asleep and husband is lying in some hospital bed with his mom by his side, I sit in my garden with Harper. We sit out on the swing in the night time air with just garden lights and stars. It smells of damp earth and summer. His tiny new fingers curl around my bottom lip and his just seeing eyes look up at me, my irresistible boy all balled up like he was inside me. My heart swells with an indescribable love for this brand new life. All I can think about is that this is what it is all about...this thing of mothering. Giving birth is just a symbol of all that will follow, the growing, the breaking, the struggle bringing forth life and beauty and relationship and all that comes with it. Cooling a fevered head, mediating fights, giving, serving, messing up, snapping, saying I'm sorry, helping to shape and teach and grow. With body and soul, bleeding, feeding, loving. It is not glamorous or easy but is real, human, deep and rich and it is a gift every day that I'm entrusted with these little people. Even in my weariness I am overwhelmed by the love and the blessing. I'm so thankful for these children who have helped me become more of who I am in Christ, and have kept me humble in having a very clear view of my brokenness. And I'm so thankful for the amazing mothers in my life. Where would I be with out them?

I read this today and loved it.
"Inside the frames, the bodies, the souls of our children, reside the children still to come. And the children then still to come.
Like nestled dolls, future generations dwell within the child whose eyes I now look into, whose hands I now touch.
Every day we parent not one child, or even a few children, but every day we parent innumerable, countless children.
When I raise my voice, frustrated with a child, I speak to generations of children.
When I wipe away a tear, comfort, listen, I honor centuries of children.
When we meet our children, children we will not live to meet on this earth, are met, shaped, formed. Parented
~Ann Voskamp~