Rock-a-bye Baby & Summertime Joy
To me there is nothing more satisfyingly sweet than holding a sleeping baby in my arms. My own babies’ once tiny frames now have to curl up into me to find space because they are longer and more slender than just months ago. The length of Jamison’s 18 month old body is too long for him to comfortably lay his head on my shoulder and fall asleep in our trusty glider. And, I so miss that. Most nights he wants to go straight into his crib after reading books. He tucks his gauzy little blankie tight under his chin and lets the remaining blanket spill over the rest of his body. As long as his pudgy little toes are sticking out, he is perfectly happy. But twice this weekend, he fell asleep in the crook of my arm after we read books, his little face in view with the rest of his body wrapped around my waist. I got to watch his eyelids get heavy, feel the weight of his body grow heavier, and simply enjoy watching him, as sleep peacefully took over. Mama. Heaven. On. Earth. Twice. I am so grateful.
As I sat there holding Jamison I thought to myself, I don’t know why I ever spent one second worrying about those well intentioned folks who said, don’t spoil your baby, don’t rock him to sleep, then he’ll want to be rocked all the time. Because the thing is, “all the time” goes by really fast. Some days and nights definitely feel as if they will last forever when you’re sleep deprived, but they don’t. I didn’t see it then, but I see it clearly now. I already see this cherished ritual slipping out of my hands and it is so bittersweet. That rocking helped me do three things I so desperately needed at the time: stop, relax, and focus. Focus on the beautiful blessing God entrusted to me. I am always so thankful for these moments when they present themselves, moments to appreciate these little people that fly around like hummingbirds all day until they eventually collapse. It seems easier to focus on them when they’ve stopped flying around for a minute and slow down, as well.
For me, rocking a child does as much for the connection and well-being of the parent as it does for the connection and comfort of the child. After Jack was born each time someone said, just “let him cry it out,” it made me feel sad and panicky. I already felt overwhelmed and unprepared (let’s face it, who is really prepared) as a new mom and that made me feel like I was doing something wrong. Over time my confidence grew and I stopped worrying so much about doing something wrong and instead started doing the things that nurtured and supported the kind of mom I wanted to be. With the birth of each first child is the birth of a new mom who instinctively knows how to calm and protect her new baby once she learns how to trust herself. I know so many wonderful women who gracefully do this right out of the gate. They pull that learning curve right down to size and plow straight forward. And, I greatly admire their skill and confidence.
I never officially made a summertime bucket list this year, but if I had I’m pretty sure some of the items below would have been on it. We still haven’t made it to the zoo, but one of these days we will. In addition to heavenly sleeping babies, here are a couple more places we’ve been finding joy lately:
Jack & Grandma Gail’s Pumpkin Patch ~ Grandma Gail was kind enough to take Jack earlier this summer and plant some pumpkin seeds with him. What a cool thing for Jack to experience and see grow over time. The pumpkins are planted way back behind the barn and field, so when time permits we take long walks after dinner to go check on them.
Luckily, daddy pulls our favorite red radio flyer to prevent little feet from wearing out. I can’t wait to see Jack’s face when the pumpkins really kick into gear. I can already envision the proud smile that will grace his face.
July 4th Parade ~ Is there anything better than toddlers in hats, fire trucks, tractors and lots of red, white and blue? I gave Jack & Jamison each a flag this year to display at the parade. I tried to explain to Jack why we never let the flag touch the ground, but honor and respect are big subjects for little people. So for now, “because mama said so” is going to have to do.
Jamison clung to Jason for the entire 80 minutes of the parade, only moving to reach for another tootsie roll or dum dum pop. It was fun watching them take everything in. They were so pensive and intense. Plus, we were surrounded by adults who fetched every single piece of candy for the boys thrown within a 10 foot radius of us.
Drinking out of the hose, climbing trees & popsicles ~ Enjoying the summertime standards.
Old Blueprints ~ They make the best coloring books.
Overwintered Geraniums ~ I’m so happy, my geraniums finally have buds and are starting to bloom. Note to self: cut back growth and start fertilizing much earlier.
New Annuals ~ I was adventurous this year with my summer selection of annuals. I know adventurous and buying annuals don’t exactly go together, but let’s just say I moved beyond the wave petunias, geraniums and vinca vine I buy every year and also tried a couple of new species. Overall, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. They’ve all done really well except for the orange dahlias that I finally gave up on last week.
We’ve hit the half way mark for the year and for the summer. I hope you’re enjoying either your formal or impromptu summer bucket lists, too.