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Happy first birthday to my sweet boy

February 16, 2012

Dear Sweet Brady,

Could it be that an entire year has already passed since we first met. I’ll never forget that day, so full of emotion and excitement… your daddy and I could hardly contain ourselves. And then that moment came, after so many hours of labor… when we heard your little cry and saw your sweet, sweet face. Our hearts were never the same.

This is a cross in a church in Irvine, California. I’ll never forget visiting and singing Amazing Grace with Aunt Lara and Aunt Gina. I wrote a prayer for you and it’s pinned to the right side of that cross right there in that photo. God is so good to have heard and to continue to answer that prayer. Our cups overflow with gratitude and sincere joy. Becoming your mama has been my greatest adventure. And watching you grow has been my greatest joy. From a tiny little baby who weighed just seven pounds to a precious, growing toddler who keeps us on our toes. You made our little family a real family.

I’ll never forget when I first learned of you… this awful photo is the only one I have of the test because I was shaking so badly. We’d prayed for you for so long little B. So long. And there it was… God’s answer to our prayers…. yes.

You grew and grew and we fell in love with you day after day. We talked to you and sang to you and planned for your big arrival.

And somehow one whole year has passed since that big day last year. This photo is of you and I on our way home from the hospital. We were so excited to take you to your new home. And here you are… your first time in your big crib. You were so little.

On your first birthday, I have so many wishes for you. This morning, before your daddy and I woke you up to discover the surprise balloons in your room, I asked your Daddy what his wish for you was… and he said “the whole world.”

image credit: gina zeidler

At first I thought that was a silly answer, but its the most precious answer there is. We wish everything for you. But above all, we wish you a heart that is full. Full of joy and compassion. Full of empathy and hope. Full of faith and the knowledge that you can be anything you want to be. My heart brims with this enormous desire for you to know that you are so special, so smart and such a source of joy for so many people. Not just your mommy and daddy.

All of this and you only know four words! (Mama, Dada, yuck and uh-oh) : ) I can’t imagine what life has in store for you as you grow. When I was pregnant with you, your daddy would rub my belly and whisper to you “grow and be strong.” I love those words so much, B, because they underline everything we hope for you. We hope all the goodness in the world grows in your heart, no matter where life takes you. And we hope all that you encounter makes you strong and confident and happy and full.

I’ve never met another little boy who smiles as much as you do. I like to think it’s because you have much to smile about. But I know it’s that God gave you a spirit that is joyful. I pray that spirit stays in you as you grow.

image credit: gina zeidler

This year we’ve experienced so many milestones together. From your first laugh (when daddy was playing that silly game where he touched your face) to learning to do things on your own to learning to communicate with us. My favorite memories of your first year are the times you’d fall asleep on my chest so sweet and cuddly, the many road trips you and I took together to visit Nana and Grandpa, this priceless, precious video Aunt Gina made you when you were just six months old (and didn’t like to sleep so much) and the times you now scan the room quickly for your mama and get a great big smile on your face and throw your hands in the air for me to come and get you. Melt my heart sweet boy.

Sleep Baby from Gina Zeidler on Vimeo.

Your daddy and I are king and queen of silly little jokes and goofy names for each other. You have so many. You were Whammy before we knew if you were a boy or a girl… then you were Bman before we knew what your name would be. Then B, Bubba and now Boat. Boat comes from the story “Goodnight Moon.” Nana adapted the story so you could say goodnight to all the things in your house “Night night Fridge, Night night Table…” and lastly “Night Night Boat” to the boat in your nursery. When we lay you down to sleep now, we say “Night Night Boat.” And hence your newest nickname sticks.

image credit: michael newman photography

I love you more than all the stars in the sky, little B. And I can’t wait to experience this next year with you.

Thank you for opening my heart to a world I never imagined could be so joyful one year ago today. You are so beautiful, so special and so precious sweet boy.

With all of my heart,

Mommy

As little B grows, it’s very important to our family to teach him about giving and sharing. One foundation that is near and dear to our hearts is Alex’s Lemonade Stand. ALS raises funds to support childhood cancer research. Children all over the country host lemonade stands and raise money, dollar by dollar to give to ALS to children affected by childhood cancer enjoy more happy birthdays. When B is old enough, he’ll host his own lemonade stand. But for now, Bman’s lemonade stand is virtual and every “cup” of lemonade sold benefits the Alex’s Lemonade Stand foundation. We’d love to ask you to buy/give one “cup” of lemonade in honor of Brady’s birthday to help other little boys and girls celebrate more happy birthdays too. A genuine, heartfelt thanks from our family to yours. xo, Emily

Go here to buy a “cup of lemonade” via PayPal or here via credit card.

Fierce: a mama’s love

February 06, 2012

My little man is almost one year old.

What.

Today I read back over this post. I remembered my insanely scary pregnancy. I remembered sitting in five Making Things Happen intensives sharing fears that felt like they were on fire. And feeling this longing to just know he was okay. For those of you who don’t know our story, we were told that Brady could be born with a host of health issues – primarily dwarfism.

Dwarfism.

What.

I’ll never forget sitting, at eighteen weeks pregnant, on this new high risk doctor’s table hearing 1) that my “girl” was a boy and that my boy had long bones that measured beneath the fifth percentile while the rest of his body measured on track.

What.

It still makes my heart hurt to remember feeling so endlessly, hopelessly helpless in that moment. I looked at Bryan and saw sheer terror on his face. Every month until he was born we had a 4-D ultrasound to see if other signs presented themselves. Of course, they did and they didn’t. Towards the end of my pregnancy we were, at one time, worried over his long bones, extra amniotic fluid, the insertion point of the umbilical chord as well as a space in his brain. All this and this doctor called him “the fetus” every step of the way.

The experience was soul shaking. And until the moment I saw his tiny little screaming purple face, we didn’t know…

My mom told Bryan, as they were wheeling me back for the c-section (after an hour and a half of unsuccessful pushing) “I know you won’t have time to say much, but please just text me perfect if he is healthy.”

Looking back, I know Bryan would have texted perfect either way.

I remember the doctor prepping the room full of nurses before she began. “We’re concerned for his long bones….. velamentous chord insertion……. possible skeletal dysplasia……….. dilated cavum septum pellucidum…….polyhydramnios…..” I think that was when I turned everything in the room off and started praying. Bryan squeezed my hand and it was the most out of control I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I had no control… nothing I said, nothing I did, nothing I begged or directed or changed would alter the outcome of the next few moments. And I remember praying for God…. “please let him be born healthy… please give me strength to be the best mother I can be no matter what.”

Daddy, do you want to look over and meet your son. He stood and I desperately searched his face for some sort of revelation. He smiled and at that moment, my doctor leaned to my side of the curtain and said…

He’s beautiful. He’s healthy. He’s perfect.

Of course he is. And whether he was perfect or not, he would have been perfect. All of those pregnancy scares were pure…. coincidence. He’s now 99th percentile for height, weight and head.

Why did I ever doubt God would give me more than I could handle. Should Brady’s birthday have gone any other direction…. it still would not have been more than I can handle. I would have still been his mama. And I would have still loved him fiercely.

All of this brings me to today. Just ten days before his first birthday. He’s so precious. And he’s the light that warms my heart through thick and thin.

My best piece of advice for all mamas – love fiercely. How could I love in any other way after all of THAT…. Over the past year, I am most proud of holding myself to that promise, to love him fiercely when it came time to check my priorities. When work became to much or someone hurt my feelings or I found myself worried about something trivial… I chose that little boy.

And the funny thing is, as much as I love him, sometimes I have to check myself to make sure I’m loving fiercely. Lara puts it best… its the Mama-Bear in us. I know, at the end of the day, if I have made every decision because I am loving God, my family and my baby fiercely, I have done right even if I’m unsure of the logistics or the outcomes.

Being a Mama-Bear also requires a bit of a protector-gene. This little boy is a miracle. My little family is a miracle. And I will protect it fiercely when I have to. Without apology.

Becoming Brady’s mama and the fellowship and sincere friendship of these three gals has set my heart in a different place the past few days.

I feel like this blog post is all over the place. So is my heart, I suppose.

Over the past few weeks, there have been times that my feelings have been hurt. I’ve felt wronged. I’ve been straight up angry. And Lara reminded me of this verse today. And it hit me right in the gut. Why on earth, when my promise is to love fiercely would I allow my brain to be bogged down by the mental clutter of hurt and anger. How can I love purely from the same heart that is burdened by these things. I can’t.

I have to let them go, instead. I have to learn to act in love toward everyone even when I don’t want to. I have to learn to see past insignificant and worldly and be proactive rather than reactive. This doesn’t mean being “the bigger person” or anything like that. It’s quiet and anonymous and sincere.

It’s genuine. Digging up, focusing on and truly acting from genuine love and compassion thereby allowing your whole, pure heart to love fiercely.

We never know what tomorrow holds. And we have to protect what is most precious to us: time, babies, family, God, friendship…. “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable.”

And now… a video of Brady where he clucks like a chicken at the very end. And you get a peak of his blonde curls on the back of his head : )

xo,

Emily

Image of Brady and I in my office by Gina Zeidler. Love you, G.

 

copyright 2018 emily ley