Friday, April 27, 2012

Asleep at the Helm

Juju's a little under the weather today. I walked into the living room, only to find her asleep on her favorite toy. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

An Angel in a Time of Need

Today would be my father-in-law's birthday. It's the first birthday since he passed. We were very close and I miss him terribly. Not long after my husband and I got married, my mother-in-law passed away. We had just moved, and had just learned we were expecting our first child. It was a very emotional, and at times, overwhelming period. I began to wonder what I had been thinking, how could I be a mother? I didn't know how to take care of someone else. I remember praying, asking God to help prepare me for motherhood. And he sent my father-in-law.

My father-in-law was older than my mother-in-law, and he got married later in life. My husband also got married a little later in while I was in my late 20s, my father-in-law was in his late 80s. He was often mistaken for my grandfather (except that one time I took him to the gerontologist, where the computer had me listed as his spouse...but that's another story for another day). My father-in-law was sharp as a tack but with his age and health, he needed some help getting around, some assistance with the tasks of daily living. He was a gift. It was a joy to have him with us, and I grew to love him very much. He was truly an answer to my prayer.

Our first child, in turn, was an answer to his prayers. Imagine becoming a grandparent for the first time at the age of 90! Our little girl was the apple of his eye. She gave him a whole new reason for living.

Eventually, my father-in-law's age caught up with him. His health had started to decline right around the time we learned we were expecting Julia. I hoped and prayed he would be there to see our next child, and thanks be to God, he was. That summer, however, he really started to go downhill. Those last weeks and days were incredibly stressful. I had never watched anyone die before. I would leave, completely drained, thinking I couldn't go back and do it again the next day. But then I would hold Julia, and snuggle with her, skin to skin, and that gave me the strength to return to my father-in-law for another day. Just as God sent my father-in-law to help prepare me for motherhood, he sent Julia to be a comfort and a shade as I watched my beloved father-in-law pass away. She's not even a year old and she's already served a tremendous purpose. She is truly a gift.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Joy

Last year at Easter, I was very close to delivery. In fact, I had a very clear indication on Easter morning that labor was on the horizon. (I'll spare you the details) As we drove to church that morning, I wondered if I'd go into labor during mass. Thankfully, labor was close...but not that close.

That afternoon, we gathered for dinner with family. My sister began talking about a film she'd recently seen called Monica and David, about a married couple with Down Syndrome. It wasn't the first time she'd mentioned the film or told me I had to see it. So we got to talking about it, then I recalled the year in college where I'd volunteered with Best Buddies, an organization that pairs people up with adults with mental disabilities. I lamented the fact that the organizer of the group was paired with the bubbly young adult with Down Syndrome, while I was matched the portly older man who turned away from me whenever I spoke to him. I wanted to be matched with the person with Down Syndrome.

A few short days later, I got my wish. I gave birth to Julia. 
And now, a year later, she is my Easter joy. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Prep

Julia had some help getting cleaned up from her big sister. She wanted to be squeaky clean for church on Easter morning (translation: I couldn't stand the spit-up in her hair any longer).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Learning To Crawl

Julia hasn't quite mastered crawling yet. Maybe she needs to listen to The Pretenders more.