Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Legacy of Love

The last few weeks have been incredibly emotional.

My first Mother's Day started out on an incredibly sweet note as we dedicated Beckett at church. However, on my way home from church I spoke to my mom on the phone. She was unusually emotional - which I first thought was due to the fact that she and my dad weren't able to be in town for the dedication. But after a few minutes she told me that it looked like my grandma was going to pass that day.

Deep down, I wasn't that shocked - my Grandma turned 93 in March and has been in poor health for e last several years. Since this past fall, she has been in and out of the hospital 5x. But the news still blew me away. Amazingly, Grandma rallied that afternoon and was up and about and requesting baby back ribs and carrot cake for dinner. We new it was only a matter of time though, and on Thursday morning we got the call that she had passed.

The last week has been a blur. We spent the time with my family and grandpa - sharing stories and a lot of tears. The hardest part was watching my Grandpa. After 67 years of marriage he still said to me, "we both thought we had a few more years left..."

But what was really incredible was my grandma's funeral. At 93 you would think there would have been a fairly small tour out given that the majority of her friends no family have already passed....but people just kept coming! There were the Muslim owners of the restaurant she and my Grandpa frequented - along with almost the entire restaurant wait staff (think average age 18-23), neighbors from Michigan. New York, and California, and several of the nursing staff who has helped care for her over the last 2 years. They all came with tears and stories - so many stories. It amazed me the lives my Grandma touched in her final years of life and the witness she was to so many nonbelievers. Our family assumed the nursing staff must frequently attend funerals for those they card for, but when we asked they all emphatically said no - Grandma Esther was special.

Let me give you an example. As a child my grandma lost her mother at the age of 14 months....except she didn't know that. Once her mother passed her dad quickly remarried a widow and the couple had a son together. For years, my Grandma suffered what we would now plainly label as extreme emotional abuse at the hands of her stepmother - only to be told by a neighbor girl at the age of 13 that her mother really wasn't her mother after all. This event undeniably has a profound effect on my Grandma's life, and because of the lack of love she felt as a child, she seemed to make it her mission to make sure those around her felt loved - especially children. One of the ways she shared this love, even if just for a moment, was by becoming the "sucker lady" at our local mall. Almost everyday she and my grandpa would go for walks around our local mall. Grandma would slowly walk up and down the corridors, pushing her walker - and every time she passed a child she would stop and say hello and offer them a sucker from her basket. Now, she had to learn that times have changed and if was a good idea to ask the parents before offering the treats, but she continued this tradition for over 10 years!

I was able to speak with my grandma twice on the phone during her final week. She couldn't say much, but both times she made sure to tell Brandon, Beck, and me how much she loved us. But the best part was - I already knew this. Grandma never hesitated to tell you how much she cared about you or how special you were to her - and you knew her words weren't just for show.

As a strong believer, I know she is celebrating in Heaven now, and I praise God that she is free from the immense physical pain that plagued her for so many years. But that doesn't change the fact that there is noticeably a void at our family table - her spirit, sweet kisses, and never ending voicemails will be truly missed.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Beckett James - 5 Months

FIVE months.

How can my baby be this old already? Next thing I know he will be 6 months, and then a year, and then starting kindergarten.....

I am loving this stage of parenting. Beckett is incredibly interactive, and yet almost entirely immobile! Hah! I can only imagine how my lie is going to change once he is on the move!

Currently our little man:

  • Rocks sleeping through the night (with a dream feed) 
  • Rolls, rolls, rolls -I say he is mostly immobile because I'm really impressed with the distance he can cover by just rolling around!
  • Talks from morning to night - babbles, coos, giggles, and said "ma" the other day incredibly clearly which I am of course claiming as a derivative of "mama" and his first word
  • Constantly smiles! Brandon calls him "Mr.Smiles" be cause of the ever constant grin he tends to wear - except when he is in large crowds, wants to eat, or hears a train
  • Is long and chunky. He is in the 99th percentile for his height and was in the 75th for his weight at his last doctors appointment, but given the rolls his thighs have event,y developed I'm guessing that might be increased this month
  • Loves books, music, and walks - which are some of Brandon and my favorite things so we are all on board! 
  • Is fascinated with watching Brandon iron and me dry my hair
  • Is on the verge of teething and consequently drooling buckets each day
It's been fun to think back on last year at this time when we were sharing our news with family and friends! I truly could have never imagined how much joy this little one would bring to our lives!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dear Delta....Assertions from a Nursing Mother

Dear Delta,

With a 4 month old son who just completed his 6th plane trip on your airlines, I feel like I have enough clout at this time to bring some complaints to the forefront of your attention.

Please, could someone explain to me WHY there are not changing tables available on your aircrafts? Out of the past 6 flights I've taken with my son, one had a changing table available. On the other flights it was left to me to determine how to safely change my newborn. One flight attendant suggested I just use the floor of the bathroom. The floor. Of a public aircraft carrier. I'd like to know how that suggestion was even remotely sanitary or possible (given the sizing logistics of an airplane restroom). Another time it was suggested I use the toilet lid. Again I question the cleanliness and safety of attempt to change a rolling baby on a toilet seat - particularly during a turbulent flight.

Now let's talk about seating. When I was traveling with my husband, you were gracious enough to seat us together, even when we hadn't paid to do so ahead time of time. I really appreciated that. Thank you for noting we were traveling with an infant in arms and making that accommodation. But what would be even more helpful is if you could provide me with an aisle or window seat when I am traveling alone. It is one thing to navigate nursing on an airplane when you are sitting next to your spouse - it is a completely different challenge when you are seated in the middle seat between two strange men. Yes, I could have paid to ensure I got an aisle or window seat on the flights (giving myself a little more privacy and maneuvering room), but apparently I wrongly assumed (based on your previous actions when I was traveling with my husband) that you would note that I was traveling with an infant in arms and make some sort of accommodation.

After my first flight experience that this happened, I inquired at the ticketing counter whether I could have such a seat given my nursing needs - and was spoken to in a very rude and demeaning manner that this was an additional purchase I had to make when I bought my ticket.

Yes I nursed my son before I got on the plane in an attempt to have to do so during the flight, but nursing helps soothe his ears during take off and landing (more than a pacifier does). And believe me, I have a baby who is quite a good traveler and happy little one - unless he is hungry. Would you rather listen to my screaming son, or give me a little room and privacy to nurse? And Les b honest, he is only 4 months old. As he grows bigger, I can only see my attempts to change and nurse him on a flight becoming more difficult.

So I ask you Delta - are adding a few changing tables and giving a parent with an infant in arms seating priorities really to much to ask? I mean, I'm not even complaining about the fact that you broke one of my stroller wheels....

Somehow I wonder if this conversation would be different if I was a sky priority member.


Momma from Minnesota