September 12, 2011

The Song Adam Sang to Me

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , at 11:47 pm by Tamara

I was in labor with Berean for about 25 hours before they decided they had to do a c-section.  Adam had to wait outside the operating room until they prepped me, and when they wheeled me into the operating room they were playing a song that I hate and that always gets stuck in my head.  That’s all you need when you’ve just gone through a day of labor and are about to have a major operation: an annoying song stuck in your head!  I tried to hum a different song, but the drugs were kicking in, I was convulsing and throwing up at the same time, had a bunch of people buzzing around me, and for some reason I just couldn’t quite think straight….

When they finished prepping me they let Adam come in.  He sat down next to me, said hi, laid his hand on my head, held a barf bag for me (romantic, I know)….  When I was finished throwing up that irritating song was still in my head, so I asked him what the lyrics were to “In Christ Alone.”

They were just starting the c-section, so he leaned in close and started singing it to me.  We locked eyes and he sang through the whole operation.  One verse made me tear up, where it says “From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.”  It was the perfect thing to hear after all the stress of the hours of labor and praying that our precious baby would be healthy and safe.  Right after Adam finished singing that verse, Berean was born and we heard his first cry!  It still gets me choked up thinking about it.

It’s one of my favorite songs to sing, and I sing it to Rean all the time.  I love it because it beautifully and clearly explains the whole gospel.  I try to tell Rean the gospel as often as I can.  I know he can’t understand the words yet, but I want him to be hearing truth from the minute he can.  My parents did the same with me—I actually don’t remember a time when I didn’t believe the gospel.  Since childhood I’ve examined my faith hard, as well as deeply studied many other religions, so I can unequivocally say that my faith is my own and that Christ has proven Himself to me countless times.  But I am so glad that my parents explained the truth to me when I was young, and I want to do the same for Berean!

It’s not that I want to brainwash him.  His name means “Seeker of Truth and Light,” and that’s what I hope: that he will examine what he hears and diligently search for truth.  But I am certainly going to tell him what I believe and encourage him to test it for himself!

We went on a walk the other day, and I was pointing out to Rean all the things that God had made, and telling him how nature shows us what God is like.  Telling him the Gospel has been great practice for me.  How to you explain it simply enough that a little child could understand, and without all the “Christianese” terms that don’t really mean anything (did you know the Bible never actually says to “Ask Jesus into your heart?”)  So as we were walking along I was telling Rean that God is perfect, but we’re not perfect.  We do bad things, and because we do bad things, God has to punish us.  But, He doesn’t want to punish us, so He came to earth and got punished instead of us.  He died with his hands and feet nailed onto a cross.  But, He didn’t stay dead!  He was buried for three days and then came back to life!  If we believe that is true, we get to go to heaven.  Heaven is a place where we get to be with God and always be happy; never hungry or lonely or grouchy, but always happy and loved and with everything perfect.

A few nights ago I was rocking Rean before bed and started singing “In Christ Alone.”  He reached up to put his hand on my cheek, and he looked into my eyes the whole time I was singing.  Oooosh!  There melts my heart.  I love my little boy so much, and I pray with all my heart that I’ll get to spend forever with him and Adam and Jesus in heaven.

I love this new version of the song by Owl City, except that he leaves out a verse!  What?!  But I like it because it reminds me of Adam singing.

And now you can listen to the whole thing:

Love, love, love!


September 2, 2011

A Poopie Afternoon (or “Baby and Poo, Doggie and Poo, Mommy and Poo” or perhaps “Too Much Information”)

Posted in Water Droplets tagged , at 8:18 pm by Tamara

When this afternoon’s events started happening I planned to post the story on my mom’s Facebook, because almost nothing is too much information to share with Mom/Grandma, right?  However, as the events progressed it became clear that this story was way too long for the character limit.  Hence this post.  If you are not my mom and/or have no interest in will-be-funny-to-me-someday baby poop stories, feel free to forgo!

I’ve been mildly sick the past few days—just enough of a head cold to make me tired and yucky feeling.  Today added, erm, mild digestive issues.  So I put Berean in his jumperoo (mistake #1) and went to the bathroom.  It was almost naptime, and I was dreaming that maybe I could crawl in bed with my box of tissues and sleep for a while, too.  While I was in the bathroom, Rean of course started crying like he was dying, so I went to rescue him and discovered a massive diaper leak.  It had run down both his legs and he was standing in a puddle of it (on the carpet, of course).  This is the third time in a week and a half he’s had a diaper leak in that darn jumperoo.  Wah wah wah.

Even though this leak blew the last leak I wrote about out of the water (and while we’re on that topic, why am I writing about poop so much?  Is this subject an unavoidable side effect of motherhood??), I didn’t have the heart to take pictures and Adam was at work, so I changed Berean’s diaper and got him wiped down well enough that I could set him down to get a bath ready.  When I carried him back out to the living room, what do I see but our little dog Lily crawling out from under the jumperoo.

Now, a little back story, we just paid $56 to get her groomed.  (Okay, in my defense, I have to add that we usually only pay $35, but I’d been looking for weeks for a coupon and she was getting so matted that we couldn’t put it off any longer).  So she came home from the groomers smelling like peaches with a bright white coat and little sparkly pink bows in her ears (and for 56 bucks she’d better!)

And now this afternoon, out she crawls from under the jumperoo, and I realize that she has been rolling in the poop puddle.  I don’t think there could be a more incongruous sight than this foofy little formerly-white-dog with pink sparkly bows who should be all dainty and girly and is instead covered from head to toe in mustard yellow baby diarrhea.  So here I am with a baby covered in poo, a carpet covered in poo, and now a doggie covered in poo.  Oh, horrors!

So I lock her in the kitchen and go to get Rean’s bath ready, which of course requires moving all the dirty dishes from the kitchen counters into the kitchen sink (it only occurred to me later that I could have put his tub in the bathtub.  Sigh.)  As I’m doing that I look down and see that the dogs are playing, which involves Knightley chewing on Lily, who is covered in baby poo.  Oh, horror!  So I kick Knightley out of the kitchen and give Berean his bath.

Next I put Rean in his crib, hoping he’ll take the aforementioned nap, and go bathe Lily, which requires moving all the dirty dishes out of the kitchen sink and onto the kitchen counters (which also could have been done in the bathtub, but my poo-traumatized brain didn’t think of it).  Of course, once I have a sopping wet, bedraggled and soapy dog, Rean starts wailing from the other room like he’s dying.

So I quickly finish rinsing Lily and go check on Rean, and thankfully this time it is only spit up and not poo.  I get him calmed down and cleaned up and come out to deal with the poo-covered carpet.  Of course, the carpet shampooer wasn’t cleaned out the last time it was used, so I have to do that.  And, of course, Berean starts crying again.  I get him settled down again and come to clean up the carpet, and of course, the shampooer isn’t working.  It was a sizable poo puddle to begin with, and Lily’s rolling has smeared it into a much bigger puddle, so I really don’t want to have to do this on my hands and knees (with my runny nose dripping all over the place).

I finally get the carpet cleaner to sort-of work, and am sweating (probably with a fever) by the time I’m done.  Thankfully by this time Rean is quiet.  Praise the Lord!  So I go to empty the dirty mustard yellow water into the toilet, and, of course, accidentally drop the reservoir itself into the toilet.  I mean, what else would I do at this point?  After cleaning that up, I let the dogs outside.  Lily decides that she doesn’t need to walk all the way to the grass and instead pees all over the deck landing, right where Knightley always jumps up to come inside.  So I clean that up.

By the mercy of God, Berean was still asleep at this point.  So, I sneak into the bedroom, curl up in the fetal position, and take at nap.


Ironically, he was not wearing the Poopie Onsie today.  But he WAS wearing the onesie that I always hang up next to the poopie onesie (yes, his closet is color-coordinated.  It makes me happy!)  So does this mean that Poopie Onesie is spreading its poopie-leak-inducing condition to the other innocent clothes in the closet?  Oh, Lord, save me!

I took this a few days ago. Good thing I have such a cute helper for all the poopie baby clothes!

Lily, post-grooming and pre-poopie. Too bad you can't see the sparkly pink bows very well.

August 28, 2011

Playing Baby Games

Posted in Water Droplets tagged at 8:54 am by Tamara

Berean is four and a half months old now, and every day is more fun than the last!  We’re seeing his little personality develop, and he’s starting to play little games with us.  I love it!

First is the eternal classic Peek-a-Boo.  He’ll put the blanket over his own face now, which amazes me!  It means he’s learned a cause and effect (if I put this over my face and then take it off, Mommy makes a funny noise!) and also a sequence of events (put it up, pull it down, hear funny noise!)  Those are pretty major developments!

He’s just so yummy that I love to pretend to eat him.  Now he’ll play along—I’ll open my mouth and make a “nom, nom, nom” noise, and he’ll wave his hand in front of my mouth teasing me for a bit before he pokes it in my mouth and I “gobble” up his hand.  He thinks it’s hilarious, and I love that he’s learned the coordination to put it up to my mouth, and also the interaction that he can tease me for a bit before he lets me gobble him.  So cute!!

I also love that he’s interested in interacting with us.  He loves touching my face now.  I’ll stand him up in my lap and he’ll put both hands on the sides of my face and pull me to him.  Aaaaaw!  I’ll either give him a kiss and squeal “I kissed you!” or say “Can I have a kiss?” and put my cheek to his mouth and make a kissing sound and squeal “Aw, thank you!”  He just loves the reactions either way, and will grin and squeal back with an adorable little bashful shrug.

The desire to interact with us is such an exciting thing.  It means that he’s showing an interest in and ability to develop relationships, which is huge, and something I don’t take for granted!  I just love playing with him and hearing his adorable squeals and giggles and seeing the mischievous sparkle in his eyes.

August 22, 2011

Recipe for an Idyllic Morning

Posted in Water Droplets, Watermarks in Progress tagged , , , , at 1:01 pm by Tamara

Berean and I had a great morning.  Usually my mornings consist of feeding Rean while eating dry cereal with my fingers, drinking from the half-empty water bottle I forgot on the floor the last night, and wondering if Rean will fall asleep again long enough for me to take a frantic shower.  But this morning was particularly blissful, in spite of the fact that I was removed from another blissful state (sleep) a little earlier than I could have wanted. But still, it was rather idyllic, so I thought I’d document:

The first, and most important, ingredient is a happy baby. The recipe will most likely not succeed without it.

The next ingredients are French-pressed caffe verona and vanilla caramel creamer. Oh yum. I almost put the coffee grounds above the press' plunger by accident. Clearly I needed to stay in blissful state #1 a little longer this morning.

Adam brought me strawberry and blueberry mini-scones from Panera. Yum, yum, yum!

Yes...I'm a month behind. Um, plus a year. Heh. Nothing wrong with a 2-year reading plan! The point is to keep reading!

Next, my chronological Bible, complete with an "Emma" bookmark just to make me smile.

I'd probably get more read if Berean didn't make so many distractingly cute faces!

He was making smacking noises and opening and closing his mouth as if to say "Can I try that, Mommy?"

I also might get more read without cute-but-needy doggies. Exhibit A: Lily.

Exhibit B: Knightley. "I want in, I want out, I want food, I want out, I love you! I want in, I want out...."

The distracting view of the messy living room doesn't help, either....

Clearly, the nighttime pick-up routine did not get accomplished last night. Oi.

But, hey! Bible read, yummy breakfast eaten. Progress!

At this point, I listened to my dreams of a long, peaceful shower get cried away as Berean fought his nap.  When I picked him up to try to rock him to sleep on my shoulder he kept pushing back to look into my face as if to say, “Mommy, you are already beautiful and you smell fine to me–no need to shower!  Now, can we forget about this nap thing and go play?”

Oh well, you win some, you lose some. All in all, I think we have the makings of a great morning! Who needs a shower? On with the day! I love my life. :)

Update: as of this posting, I am glad to report that both a clean living room and a shower have been accomplished!  Now, Berean.  About that nap….

August 9, 2011

The Poopie Onesie Strikes Again! (Installment Three)

Posted in Water Droplets, Watermarks in Progress tagged at 11:11 pm by Tamara

I wrote here about a onesie I got Berean that says “Mommy and Daddy Love Me,” and how both times Rean has worn it he’s had a poopie diaper leak.  Today I saw it in the closet and thought, “Haha—even if the streak continues, today is Adam’s day off (evil laugh).  But there’s no way we’ll hit three in a row.”  And on the onesie went!  And this is what transpired….

"Hey, I'm wearing the infamous onesie again! I wonder what I should do today." (So a couple hours later, Mommy is innocently going along with her day when....)

"Hm, what is that spot under the jumperoo?" (Poke head under Rean's bum) "Nuuuuh uhhhh! Inconceivable!"

"Houston, we have a problem."

"What? There is a problem in my diaper area? How could this be? Just look at my innocent little face!"

"It's okay, Mommy and Daddy love me! Hehehe!"

"Hey Daddy! Your turn on diaper duty! Hehehe!"

Post-bath. Clean and cuddly!

"So, Rean, what would you like to wear now?"

"How about my 'Mommy Loves Me' onesie!"

And what have we learned?  1)  Never to take Berean anywhere in that onesie.  2)  Our four month old can read his shirts!  And 3)  We adore our silly little boy!!

Baby Toys: All You Need is Four!

Posted in Water Droplets tagged , at 12:35 am by Tamara

I’m determined to keep the toy situation from becoming out of control.  I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do it, because baby toys are so cute, and it’s so fun to give him things, and….  But clutter stresses me out, and I would really rather have a few great, quality toys that Berean loves than a million cheap ones he doesn’t play with, so I’m determined to try!  We all know we only really played with a couple of our toys as kids, anyway.  Of course, it’s much easier to keep a handle on it right now when he has no idea what toys he has!  Haha!  But for the time being I’ve found four baby toys that cover all the bases, are safe and well-made, Berean loves, and I love too.

1.   Freddie the Firefly.  This was the first toy Berean showed an interest in, and it’s great for when babies are just getting interested in toys but don’t have a lot of coordination.  It’s easy to hold and has fabric in the wings that makes a crinkle noise, which he finds fascinating.  Now that he’s older he’s getting interested in all the different textures — it has parts that are silky, fuzzy, ribbed, knotted, knitted, etc.  He’s fascinated by the contrasting colors—the front is colorful and the back is a bold black and white pattern.  It also has a mirror, teeter toy, clinking rings, and a squeaker.

I think it’s a beautiful toy. Maybe I’m silly, but I’m really affected by atmosphere/ambiance and it makes me feel stressed to be surrounded by kid’s toys that are garish and clashing.  This one is bright and cheerful and the colors are gradated so they coordinate really nicely.  And, last but not least, I’ve also read that Lamaze is committed to not using PVC in their toys, which is great.

2.  The Skwish.  It seemed like every family I babysat for as a teenager had one of these, and I was just as mesmerized by it as the kids!  The black strings are elastic, so you can squish and pull on it and it springs back into its original shape.  The balls on the rods slide so as you turn it it’s like looking at a kaleidoscope and it makes a gentle clinking sound.  It is very lightweight and easy to grasp, so great for helping develop motor skills.  I can just see the neurons firing when he’s playing with it and watching it move!  Manhattan Toys says that all their Skiwsh varieties are made with replenishable rubberwood with a water based, non-toxic finish.

3.  Sophie the Giraffe.  When Berean started gnawing on everything I got one of those circle gel-filled teethers.  Not only was he totally uninterested in it, but he seemed to have a hard time holding it, and even though the packaging said it was non-toxic I was a little unsure.  I kept thinking they needed a stick-shaped teether so he could easily get it in his mouth.  Voila!  A giraffe!  I was a little surprised how pricy it was ($20), but it got great reviews (4.5 stars on over 1,300 reviews!) so I gave it a try, and Rean loves it.  It squeaks, and Rean loves to fling it around and make it squeak as much as he likes to chew on it.  It’s made of all natural rubber (from a tree) and food paint—no harmful chemicals.  Again, I’d rather have one expensive but safe chew toy he loves than a lot of cheap ones I’m not sure about.

4.  Blankie Bear.  Rean loves to cuddle this when he’s falling asleep in his swing.  The bear is snuggly, he loves to chew on the fur on the edge, and the underside is cool satin.  If I put a stuffed animal in his lap it rolls off as soon as he moves, but the blankie part of this keeps it in his lap.  I wouldn’t put it (or any loose blanket) in his crib, but it’s great for when he’s in his swing or high chair.  I got this as a gift and couldn’t find a link to the exact one, but I love the look of the Pooh Bear one in the link!

With these four toys you have something soft and textured, something hard with movable parts, something chewable, and something soft and snuggleable.  All your bases covered in four toys!

So, what are your favorite baby toys, and what would you recommend for when he’s a toddler (and beyond!)?

August 8, 2011


Posted in Water Droplets tagged , at 5:15 pm by Tamara

I forgot to take pictures with Josh & Megan :( But here's one with Josh from our our wedding!

The past two weekends we’ve gotten two huge treats: visits from friends!  First Adam’s college roommate Josh and his wife Megan came to Myrtle Beach for a family reunion.   We drove over there and had a great time introducing them to Berean, catching up, playing Ticket to Ride, and enjoying the beach house their family rented.  The one thing I failed to do was take pictures.  Sigh!  I never got to know Josh and Megan very well because they lived in Madison when we were in Milwaukee, but on the drive home I told Adam how sad I was that we don’t live close by them, because I just love them!  It’s not that often that you can have a close friend from your single years and then both get married and have all four of you get along.  Every time we’re with Josh and Megan, though, we have so much fun!  It was such a treat to get to see them!

This weekend my college roommate Danielle and her husband David came to visit us.  What are the chances of both Adam and I getting to see our old roommates in one week??  Danielle and David are preparing to go overseas as missionaries, and they made a stop here during their crazy summer of traveling all over the U.S.  It was so, so fun to see them!

Berean is a very smiley boy for me and Adam, but he’s pretty thoughtful whenever he meets new people.  When I handed him to Danielle, though, he was immediately all smiles.  He knows a pretty lady when he sees one!  David, however, smiled at Rean from across the table and flashed a peace sign, and Berean immediately burst into tears.  Lol!  Poor David!  Berean had pretty much the same reaction to Megan and Josh, interestingly enough.  He smiled and cooed for Megan, but Josh came up and made a funny face at him and he started wailing.  Poor Baby!  What’cha gonna do?  I guess he just likes charming the womenfolk.

Danielle and I truly are kindred spirits.  We are ridiculously alike in the way we see the world—David and Adam were just shaking their heads at all the things that we think make perfect sense that they..don’t.  Haha!  The guys decided to go see a boy movie in the evening so that Danielle and I could reenact the oh-so-fun girls’ nights we would have during our single years (Berean was allowed to join the girl party, however, and he got very upset when I tried to put him in bed before it was over!)  We ate the same junk food we used to get, watched a girly movie, and talked about everything under the sun.  Danielle is one of those friends I can dissolve in uncontrollable laughter with one moment and then share the deepest things on my heart with the next.  What a blessing to have a friend like that!!  I wish they lived closer, but it was so, so good to see them!

So, Adam and I are starting this week sleep-deprived from staying up too late talking, but so refreshed.  It’s amazing what visits with wonderful friends can do to encourage you!  Now all the rest of you who I love and miss so much need to come see us!!

August 1, 2011

Baby Discoveries

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , at 5:35 pm by Tamara

I absolutely love being a mommy.  I’ve been wanting to blog about that for a long time now, but I just despair at ever coming up with words to say how much I love this little boy!  It’s easier to blog about being a bad mommy, because if I can’t get across just how badly I’ve failed, I’m okay with that!  But I would really, REALLY like to be able to express how much I love Berean, and how much fulfillment (more like overflowing-ment) I feel in being his mommy.   Really,  I feel so much contentment filling this new role—I love our simple little routine of eating, sleeping, playing, changing diapers, folding baby laundry, snuggling away tears, exploring new things…even getting up seven times in one paragraph to put a binkie back in his mouth.  (smile)

Now look here, Doggie. You are going to get in my lap!

He is in such a fun phase right now.  He’s starting to get more mobile and a lot more coordinated.  I am just fascinated watching him figure out that he can impact things.  Figuring out cause and effect is a huge developmental milestone, and when you’re a baby the effect of everything from gravity to muscle response is a whole new world!  On a more philosophical note, my biggest pet peeve is apathy, and my biggest fear is being ineffective.  Few things frustrate me more than seeing something I think should change and not feeling able to change it, so I have a LOT of sympathy for babies.  Even if it’s something as simple as

not being able to reach a toy or being stuck in an uncomfortable position or unable to get your binkie back in your mouth…how frustrating!  Watching Rean get frustrated when he thinks something should change and then discover that he can impact his surroundings is so exciting to me.  I love the proud smile he gives me when he rolls over and I lavishly praise him, or the open-mouthed fascination on his face when he’s spinning the rattle on his jumperoo, or the way he giggles when he’s playing with his toes, even his grunts and squeals of aggravation when he’s tired of being on his tummy.  I know I’m watching him just beginning to realize that he can change the world.

It may sound sappy, but it gives me chills!  Who knows what he’ll accomplish?  And not just big mountain-moving things, but who knows all the little ways he could encourage or inspire another, stand up for truth when it’s not popular, shed a little light in the darkness….  I just feel so fascinated and blessed to get to watch and participate in his life.

July 28, 2011

Poopie Adventures

Posted in Water Droplets tagged at 12:25 am by Tamara

A little while ago I bought Berean a onesie that says “Mommy and Daddy Love Me.”  I was very excited to find it, because it’s so hard to find shirts that say BOTH Mommy and Daddy!  Well, I think Berean gets a kick out of having us prove it, because both times he’s worn it so far he’s had a poopie diaper adventure.  The first time it was just your average diaper leak, and I kind of chuckled to myself when I put the onesie on him this morning and remembered it.

WELL!  This afternoon I thought I smelled something a little funky, so I went to change Rean’s diaper, and ooooh boy!  Poop everywhere!!  He had it all up his back, covering his arm, and even smeared on his head!  It was so funny and I desperately wanted to take a picture of it, but I couldn’t put him down to get the camera without getting poop all over something.  He gave me the most innocent, wide-eyed look as I laughed my head off (and wiped the poop off).  I quickly determined that our afternoon activity was going to be bath time.  He’s discovered the wonders of splashing, so he had a merry old time and I think he thought it was all around a great afternoon!

Don’t worry, Berean—Mommy and Daddy adore you, and always will no matter how many messes you make!

P.S.  And in case you’re wondering…the onesie just happens to be brown.  Ha!

Three Months Old and Adorable!

July 19, 2011

My First “Worst Mother in the World” Moment

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , at 11:08 pm by Tamara

I had my first “I am the worst mother in the world” moment while we were in Colorado.  Adam could only get a few days off, so I flew out with Rean several days before him.  Of course, before a wedding everything is craziness!  There was a lot to get done, but Rean still needed his mommy.  I ended up feeling guilty because I wasn’t helping as much as I wanted to, and guilty that I couldn’t get to Rean as fast as he was used to me being there for him.

Well, by the time we got to the reception, poor baby was just overwhelmed by everything.  I’d barely held him all day, which I think left him feeling discombobulated and upset.  Adam and I had gotten lost driving to the reception and showed up late (well done, maid of honor) so I was upset about that.  Berean really needed to eat, but he wouldn’t take his bottle and it’s not so easy to nurse in a bridesmaid’s dress in the middle of a reception.  I felt so stressed and so torn trying to divide my attention between his needs and everything else that needed to get done and people that I needed to say hi to.  I finally found a back room where Adam could guard the door, and Rean ate and fell asleep like the sweet baby he is.

And then my bad-mommy-ness really began.   It was the end of the night, Adam wanted to dance, and Rean was asleep in his car seat, so I asked someone if they’d keep an eye on Rean while we danced.  We danced one song, and then it was time to send off the bride and groom.  There were supposed to be candles to pass out, but it hadn’t been done yet, so Adam and I ran over to try and help.  Everyone got their candles lit and we went outside to light the path as the bride and groom left for their honeymoon.  After they were gone I came back inside to collect candles and hug goodbye to the people I hadn’t seen in years and barely spoken to the whole night.

And then…I realized it.  I had left Berean inside.  Alone.  While all the rest of us were outside, Rean was sitting in his car seat, right next to the back door, with no one watching him.  And not only had I left him, I hadn’t even THOUGHT about him before I’d gone outside.  And not only that, but I didn’t even realize I’d left him until my Dad realized we’d left him and said something.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt so sick with horror and fear at a mistake.  It would have been SO easy for someone to grab him, car seat and all, and slip out the back door.  One of the catering staff even came by once I was back by Rean and commented how surprised she was to see a baby all alone in the room (translation: “What kind of a mother are you??”)

Well, that was about it for me.  I was exhausted and feeling sick thinking about what could have happened and furious at myself and just wanted to grab my baby and sit down and cry.  I already had been feeling guilty for days for neglecting him, and this was about as neglectful as you can get.  I can’t think of a much worse thing you can do as a mother than put your child in danger.  Everyone else was cleaning up, but I moved Rean into a corner and just crouched down next to him and watched him sleep.  I’d been putting him down all week to do other things, and I was done!

On the drive home I insisted on sitting in the back seat next to him, and I spent the whole drive down the mountain verbally flogging myself to Adam.  How is it that I can feel a compulsive need to check every five minutes and make sure he’s breathing, but I can completely forget about him and leave him all alone?  Being so scared about “what could have happened” suddenly made me see with perfect clarity what I should have understood the moment Berean was born: God has made this little baby my number one responsibility right now, and it’s perfectly okay to sacrifice other things so that I can take care of him.

Adam agreed with me that it’s really hard to switch our mentality to that.  We’re both used to the idea that you’re supposed to find ways to help and be useful, not just sit in the corner.  But now, God has entrusted us with a little life, a little soul.  And right now, more than he ever will, Rean needs his mommy.  Adam and Berean are more important to me than anything else, and it’s okay for me to act like it.  If people are annoyed that I’m sitting in a corner holding my baby, does it really matter?  (And I honestly think everyone there understood, anyway.)  I believe God has called me to take care of Rean, and now it’s up to me to do whatever I feel like I need to do to care for him.  I’m not saying this means I won’t do anything but be a mommy, but I am passionate about taking care of him, and that means I have to say no to anything that I feel will keep me from doing that.

I know this is only going to get harder as Berean gets older, especially if Adam and I go into full time ministry.  There will be a million good things we could spend our time and energy on, and undoubtedly people who will criticize us for not doing what they think we should.  I’m a people-pleaser, and I’m also prideful.  I want people’s approval.  But more than that, I want to take care of the most precious gift God has ever given me: my family.  And I strongly believe that family is ministry, and that I have no right to mentor other people if I’m not mentoring the child(ren) God has entrusted me with.  I am going to have to learn to say “No” to the good so I can say “Yes” to the most important.

Something else became crystal clear that I should have already gotten: even with all my best efforts, ultimately God will have to take care of Berean.  By His grace, nothing happened.  And it’s only by His grace that my sweet baby is still breathing when I check on him for the twentieth time every night.  I’m going to do everything I can to protect and nurture this little boy, but ultimately he is in God’s hands.  And, ultimately, he couldn’t be in a better place.

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