Thursday, June 15, 2017

Expecting Oliver, Part 2

One of my very favorite memories of my pregnancy with Oliver was the day I told my mom that I was expecting him. My sis, mom, and I have a really fun tradition. Once a year, either in the spring or summer, we go to the Grand Concourse for brunch to celebrate our birthdays. We get a table looking out onto the river, eat plate after plate of delicious food, and drink lots of hot, fresh coffee. We talk and we eat, which is what we do best.

I knew my mom was going to be completely floored when I told her we were having baby #5, so I wanted to surprise her in a special way. The night before our brunch, I went out and bought a baby bottle, and when we arrived at the restaurant I excused myself to got to the loo and snuck to the wait stand instead. Our waitstaff could not have been more accommodating when I gave them the bottle and asked them to deliver it to her; I think they were more excited about it than I was! They poured fresh squeezed orange juice into it, and as soon as she asked for a glass of juice, they said they'd go grab it, walked quickly to the kitchen, and then returned with nothing but the bottle. They sat it in front of her, and then kindly began snapping pictures for me!

This was the very first picture they took. My sweet mom was so confused! I had a little note tied to the front of the bottle - something about her becoming a grandma again. 

 Still confused... and trying to be polite. We were celebrating her birthday and I think she just thought I was giving her a really weird present the kids had made :-).

The moment she figured it out...

"Really? Really?" she kept asking.

Now the tears... she was so excited, which meant the world to me.

This is what we call the Wheatley Family Ugly Cry. No major life event would be complete without it.

 Even the waitress cried! We all were so excited about our darling baby on the way.

I gave her a framed picture of his first sonogram, and she stared at it as if she hadn't already stared at fifteen grainy sonogram images from her first fifteen grands. She stared and stared, saying, "That's amazing." People always marvel to her, saying "Wow, only three daughters but so many grandchildren!" but God's had this figured out all along. He has given her grandbabies upon grandbabies because she cherishes them so much.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Expecting Oliver, Part 1

Two years ago, we had just moved back to Pittsburgh after two years in Rochester, NY. We moved into a rental home, unpacked a few boxes, flew to a wedding in Atlanta, and discovered that I was pregnant. In that order. We were thrilled, which surprised people. I'm still not sure why that was. Because we already had four children? Because we weren't in our twenties anymore? We were surprised by the world's surprise... Another baby was welcomed, wonderful news. We rejoiced.

We snuck away a few days later for my birthday and I had the first tiny picture of our sweet boy in my pocket... that morning I'd had an ultrasound my new obstetrician had insisted on because of my age. Determination of viability, she'd written on the script. I know that cruelty was not her intention, but her words sliced my heart like a sharp butcher knife, and I walked into that ultrasound the next day with quaking knees. I already loved this baby. I was already dreaming of his smile, his soft newborn head cradled against my chest, that sweet first gaze we'd share. When I saw his tiny heart flickering on the screen, his tiny arms and legs already swimming and cycling, I felt that specific joy I've only felt three other times in my life. He was so new that his heartbeat couldn't be picked up on a doppler, and yet there he was: one hundred percent alive. One hundred percent our boy. If anyone ever tells you that at six weeks gestation, or eight weeks, or twelve, it is not yet a baby, you are being lied to. Email me, and I will tell you the truth. I give you my word that I will help you.

We stayed at a fancy hotel downtown and hung out on the rooftop deck with the twenty-somethings. We felt old and didn't mind. Already queasy, I sipped ginger ale and looked out over the city I loved so much, the city that God, in His faithfulness, brought us back to. We were home, and we were having a baby, and life could not have been sweeter that night.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

In Which I Dump Two Years of Life Into a Rapid Series of Posts

Life has a way of turning nearly upside down when you suddenly find yourself the homeschooling mother of five. I still can't figure out how to get the laundry done. I still rarely get a full night's sleep. We still haven't finished the math books, and it's June.


I haven't blogged in a while. I'd like to start back up again, and the reason is that this is the most precious record of our fleeting days that I have. Some people scrapbook, and have those lovely Shutterfly albums of every major life event stacked up neatly, chronologically even, on their living room bookshelves. Some are really good at taking their kids to those photography places every six months to stand on the dirty white background and cock their head to the side while holding some silly prop. I am not good at scrapbooking, and my kids look like plastic versions of themselves in those white-background silly-prop photographs.

I blog.

More accurately, I used to blog. It was the truest way I found to capture our lives on a daily basis. I read posts from six years ago, and can remember the exact way I felt that day, the exact way my children looked, the exact pitch of their voices. What a gift.

So begins my stuttering attempt to resume the recording of our moments and days. We have lived so much life in the past two years, and it's time to start marking it again. This is the only way I know how.

"God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December."
James M. Barrie