In the beginning it was just us four,
I had the unexpected honor to take photos of this little nugget early last week.
Quite simply put, he was an absolute angel.I headed down to the exquisite Denver children’s hospital where baby Jaxon has been for the past few weeks while he gets good and strong and ready to go home.
He’s so lucky to have been born into such a wonderful family and I felt truly truly blessed that they asked me to help document the very beginning of his life.
I hadn’t been in a hospital since little Miss Livi spent similar time in the NICU. I wasn’t expecting my reaction to it all and quite honestly I was overwhelmed. I am a little bit embarrassed to say that when I got in the elevator to leave I just crumbled. Like I said, so grateful and honored to have been asked to be there.
All I did was dig through a few boxes for my new blog feature “Throwback Thursdays” which will start tomorrow…found some pictures of Livi and then all this happened.
I remember very clearly the morning I left.
Eyes exhausted, mind racing, throat sore from swallowing down my nerves, fears and sadness.
I scooped Livi up out of her crib and laid her on the floor to change her diaper. I was trying to avoid looking her in the eyes but they eventually met and with that the crocodile tears that I had pointlessly tried to keep swallowed down silently and heavily rolled down my face.
I forced smiles at her as I picked her back up and held her tight to walk down the stairs to the kitchen for breakfast.
There was a quiet and nervous energy in the house that day.
My car was sitting outside in the driveway with a tankful of gas. It was packed to the brim with all that I didn’t send in the moving truck, ready and waiting to transport me to a new city, new home, and new life.
We all shuffled around the kitchen, the entryway, the driveway until there I was standing with the drivers door open doing everything I could think of to avoid getting in.
Why did this feel so much different from when I left for college? Why did it feel so much worse?
Because I went to college 45 minutes away from home and saw my mom and family multiple times a week.
Because when I went to college I didn’t have a little sister.
People have always said about Livi that she is an ‘old soul’. Born three months early and at two pounds she started her life with a pain that most people don’t have to deal with until they’re much older.
She’s always been wise.
She’s always been knowing.
She’s always been able to look right through people in an incredible way.
It’s always been a little bit surprising and that morning was no different.
I’ll never forget the way she looked at me, barely two years old, knowing that something was happening but not quite sure what. So observant. So aware. She was somber, and quiet, which only made me all the more sad.
Standing in the driveway, I picked her little pajama clad body up and wrapped myself around her. She just laid her head on my shoulder, let me cry, and waited what felt like a very long time until I was ready to let her go.
I didn’t know what to do, I had to just set her down. My parents came next with hugs, tears, ‘i love you’ and ‘we’re proud of you’ and before I knew it I was sobbing my way down highway 9 towards my favorite boy and my favorite city.
Very dramatic I realize. But it stands out as one of the most vivid and memorable days of my entire life. I thought that my heart was going to shatter in two that morning.
Once on the road and nearing Denver, when I realized I was still living and breathing, I became very excited for my new life. But facing my family that morning and really truly leaving was astoundingly difficult. It remained so for the next…oh…six years.
I’ve been missing Miss Livi lately.
Since day one it’s been difficult for me to be away from her, but as time goes on, it really does get easier. But for some reason it was harder than it has been to leave her this time. I’m sure it’s due to the wonderful Memorial Day weekend we spent with her and my family in MN.
I used to truly believe that she could forget me. That she would forget me.
One of my second most vivid memories was after a particularly long time apart at the beginning of my life in Denver.
Jon and I were back at the lake and I had been experiencing INSANE amounts of anxiety that she would have no idea who I was.
Not even that. I was worried she would know exactly who I was, but that she would be nervous, shy, and uncomfortable around me.
I wouldn’t blame her.
But it would kill me.
I got the phone call that they were on their way.
I remember pacing the cabin.
I got the phone call that they were there which I knew because I had been nervously staring out the window for six hours.
It plays in slow motion every time I re-imagine it happening.
I opened the back door of the cabin and saw the tail end of my moms van sticking out. I watched her come around the edge of the drivers side, a quick wave, heading toward the back to let Livi out.
I was already nervous and on the verge of tears.
Livi rounded the corner and hesitantly started walking down the hill towards the lake.
I held my breath and powered forward, acting like I didn’t care, managing my expectations with every bit of self control I had.
She’s going to walk right past me. She’s going to cling to my Mom and not look at me. She’s going to cry when I try and talk to her.
Instead she broke into a run. She started running down the hill.
Oh my God it’s happening. She’s going to run past me. She hate’s me. Act like you don’t care, focus on your Mom, she’s just a two year old…who cares.
Instead, she looked straight at me, continued running down the hill with a grin on her face and LITERALLY leapt right into my arms.
It was right out of a damn movie.
I completely choked up, remained as still as possible while I just held her, like the day I left home, and let wave upon wave of gratitude wash all over me.
It was easily one of the best moments of my entire life. That little girl had NO IDEA how much I unfairly had wrapped up in her that day.
Anyways. I’ve been missing Livi.
Luckily for me I’ll be scooping her 6 year old self up in less than a month when we go back to Minnesota for the 4th of July. I’m pretty lucky to be her big sister. She’s an amazingly sweet and kind little girl and it’s been such a blast to watch her grow up.
As if things weren’t dramatic enough already, I’ve been wanting to post this video for awhile now. It’s a stunning music video for the band Gotye and their song (my favorite on the album) Bronte. It reminds me very much of Livi, it reminds me of how bittersweet it felt to leave that morning for Denver, but most of all it reminds me of our ‘Neverland’ back yard where my siblings and I grew up. Grab your tissues Mom.
I am going to use the word period in this post and I do NOT mean the kind at the end of a sentence.
Did all the boys leave the room screaming? Alright then let’s begin.
Jon and I have very different thoughts on parenthood.
He thinks about it like all of a sudden we will have a well mannered blonde haired blue eyed athletic four year old boy living with us and his three identical brothers.
I think about it like all of a sudden our lives will be irreversibly changed in every single way imaginable.
You see the differences.
For him I think it’s still an abstract thought that he gets to sort of day dream about and convince himself that it’s going to be all awesome all the time.
For me it’s a very real part of our future that excites and yet still scares the crap out of me.
Because I don’t live in a flipping fantasy land!!!
Remember in this post when I said we weren’t really thinking about babies yet?
Well it turns out that’s not entirely true because I spent an entire day thinking about absolutely nothing else. It was last Monday. Memorial day. And boy was it memorable.
At some point that morning, I absolutely convinced myself that I was pregnant.
One hundred percent convinced.
It might have had something to do with the fact that earlier in the weekend my Mom dropped a ninja (like this) in my brain. She expressed to me that the thought had crossed her mind that maybe the reason Jon and I came home for such a quick unusually timed weekend was to announce we were having a baby. I laughed at her, took a big gulp of my beer, and walked away.
Well like a true ninja comment, it surprised attacked me two mornings later. We were sitting at Zorbaz having lunch and while everyone else is discussing how delicious yet similar the entire menu at Zorbaz is, my mind was doing this:
Holy shit I’m totally pregnant.
I’m sorry what?
I’ve read that your boobs get swollen and oh my GOD MINE ARE I’M PREGNANT!
Calm down. Could you possibly be getting your period?
Are you insane? NO! What kind of question is that? I’m also really fatigued so what am I going to do I’M PREGNANT!!!!
I’m not sure you’ve thought this through.
Awwww Crap! I really like making out with my husband and now I’ll never be able to again BECAUSE I’M PREGNANT!
I think people still do that after they have a baby.
Really? Are you sure they’re not just kissing the father of their child from then on out?
I think that’s the same thing.
Oh My God. I just told like 100 people last week that I was in NO WAY ready to have kids.
Does it matter how many?!!!?!?? I said I wasn’t ready and I’m not and now I’m pregnant WHAT AM I GOING TO TELL EVERYONE!!!!?????
Nothing because you have no idea what you’re talking about.
My mom told me that her legs hurt when she was pregnant and mine sort of itch right now!
Ali, relax. It’s because you have a mosquito bite on your leg.
NO IT’S NOT OH MY GOD I’M SO PREGNANT!
I’ve also read that you have a heightened sense of smell and everything smells like a bonfire right now!!!!!!
That’s because you’re wearing the jeans you wore at the fire last night. Take a deep breath.
CAN’T BE! I’M FOR SURE PREGNANT!!
This went on until I stood up, meal hardly touched, and disappeared into the bathroom to examine myself in the stall for signs that I was pregnant.
There were several. At least in my mind.
I slapped on my best calm face (I’m pretty sure they all just thought I was being a bitch) and tried to form normal sentences for the rest of lunch. Although in retrospect I’m not sure I spoke to anyone for the next 12 hours.
Following our lovely lunch I THEN had to get in a car with Jon and both my inlaws for a 4 hour drive back to Minneapolis.
I tried watching a movie.
I tried playing angry birds.
I tried sleeping (yeah right).
I did pretty much everything I could to avoid grabbing my phone and googling “side effects of beer pong on an unborn child”.
I know it seems like I’m making light of this, but I was honestly freaking out. All I could think of was getting to a Walgreens to buy 1 single pregnancy test because that would be all I would need because I am FOR SURE pregnant.
Well. Following the car ride I was greeted with a 2 hour flight back to Denver and a little time to calm down and gain some perspective. I’m 27. It’s not the end of the world. I’m married. He loves me. We want kids. It’s fine.
Once in bed I finally told Jon what was on my mind for fear my head would explode otherwise. I said “Honey, one of two things is going to happen tomorrow. I’m either going to get my period or I’m going to plan a funeral for our amazing and wonderfully selfish current way of life.”
He responded with “Honey, whichever happens it’s going to be fine”.
The next morning I had my alarm set for 7:00 a.m. with a reminder attached saying “Walgreens for pregnancy test”. I’m not lying. As if I might POSSIBLY forget.
Well I never made it to Walgreens because I got my period that morning.
OH THANK THE GODS I’M NOT PREGNANT!
The point of this story isn’t to paint myself as a baby nazi. I want kids. I understand that life changes when that happens, but mostly for the better. I think we’ll be great parents once I get some meds for my CLEAR case of anxiety.
My point is, when I got my period I was relieved, but I was also the tiniest bit disappointed. I had sort of started to wrap my head around it.
So I guess I can’t say I’m not thinking about it at all. I most definitely have to stop slapping people in the face when they ask if we’ve thought about having kids. Or maybe keep slapping them but stop instantly responding with ‘oh my god no are you crazy no way in hell not for five years at least no way’.
I’m certainly not thinking about it all the time, but it’s there…being ‘ready’ for a baby. Safely in the back of my mind – sort of like a ninja – just waiting to surprise me at ANY moment.