Almost One

Small Things-1383

A year ago today, I had my pre-op appointment in preparation for Mabel’s birth the following day. I also needed to make a big grocery run, wanting to be sure my family had everything they needed while I was in the hospital. It being my first hospital birth in almost sixteen years, my younger children were a little concerned over the fact that I would be leaving for this baby’s birth. I was too, as Mabel’s birth would be my first major surgery. While I ran my errands, Jonny drove to the train station with all the kids to pick up his sister, Rachel, who came to help out that first week.

Squeezed into the day, I also had plans to meet with a stranger, a young woman named Molly who had messaged me only days before. She was a friend of Sarah’s who moved away a couple years before she died, hadn’t been able to attend her funeral, and just wanted to connect with another of Sarah’s friends. She needed to hear all that happened, to talk through it, and maybe find some closure. I came close to telling her that I couldn’t meet her at all because the one day she had free happened to be that busy Sunday before Mabel’s birth. Between the timing and my introverted nature, it seemed like a little too much to ask of myself. But something nudged me to meet her. We met at my church, where she was attending while in town. Almost immediately, I felt completely comfortable with her and during the hour we had, we talked and cried together. Before I left, she asked if she could pray over me, as in lay hands on me and pray. She asked, “Would that make you uncomfortable?” And I said, “Yes, but do it anyway.” She covered me in the most beautiful heartfelt prayers naming my specific fears about the surgery and asking for peace. I completely surrendered myself to the moment, and to her prayers. Then it was time for us to part ways. I walked outside and to my car, feeling warm and happy. I had that strange sort of floating sensation that you feel sometimes after something special happens. Sarah felt so close while I was talking with Molly, and even later as I was filling my cart. I thought that of all the weekends that Molly might have needed to visit my town, it was a little crazy that it happened to be the one before my c-section. It hit me that it felt like Sarah was praying for me with her friend. I think she was. There was nothing coincidental about that hour spent crying and hugging a stranger. I pushed my cart through Costco, tears streaming down my smiling face.

Here I sit, one year later, crying fresh tears over what happened the day before Mabel was born. I hope not to cry tomorrow! But when you’re quite near turning forty and your baby is turning one, it’s hard not to. Everything feels so fragile and fleeting and beautiful. I’ve been quite busy getting things together for this first birthday. Mabel has a few special bought gifts, and some handmades too. I sewed her a dress and a crown, and plan to make her a simple quilt too. The last three babies received quilts on their first birthdays (If I’m remembering right) but hers will be a bit late. I did sew her a last minute little felt doll and pouch necklace. And then I gave it to her early, because why wait? She’s pleased with it. 🙂

Despite all the thought I have put into Mabel’s birthday, it will be a simple celebration. Jonny’s mother is visiting with a friend, and they will be with us, so that’s special. We’ll have fruit and whipped cream and a honey cake for lunch (I’ll share the recipe soon. It’s from a friend of mine.) Then there will be gifts after which she’ll likely have a nap. By the time she wakes up it will be time to get dinner made and start thinking about afternoon sports. Time to get Keats and Gabe to baseball, and Seth and the girls to golf. Mabel doesn’t have any favorite foods yet that we can tell, so I’m not sure what we’ll actually have for dinner. I guess I better come up with a plan.

Almost one…Hasn’t the year flown?

Excited to Tears

(This post contains affiliate links.)

One day, when I was a little girl, about seven years old, I held a baby lion at a shopping mall in Gadsden, Alabama. It’s somewhat hard to believe that this was ever a “thing,” but it was. That day, I happened to run into my best friend, Amy, from a grade or so ago, which was kind of crazy because I didn’t live in Gadsden, and neither did she. Our parents decided to pay for us to have our picture taken holding the baby lion. I never saw Amy again, but I still have that photograph. And while I don’t agree with using wild animals in that way, as a little girl it felt like a dream come true.

Over this past weekend, I had a similar experience with an orphaned fawn. Though this time it was a “not for profit” deal. We spent a few moments with the baby before she was driven to a wildlife rehabilitator. I kept it together, but honestly, on the inside I felt a little like Kristen Bell when she realized she was going to meet a sloth. (That’s a youtube link) Once the little fawn left, I told Jonny that I might burst into tears. Not because she was gone, but because I had the opportunity to interact with her for those few minutes. I just have this thing for spotted fawns. I LOVE them. It’s part of the reason we try to go to Big Meadows at least once every summer. You’re almost always sure to see them on the meadow during the summer months. Anyway, that was the best day I’ve had in a long time. I felt like a little girl again. I know I’m super corny, but I’ll never forget that little fawn.

Of course, I also get really excited about things like homemade mayo. I made some over the weekend, because I’ve been buying the healthy stuff made with avocado oil for the few of my kids that eat mayo, but it’s just too expensive. Making my own was easy, and since I used a yolk from one of our free range chicken eggs, it was yellow like butter! Gabe didn’t get my excitement. He said he’d rather have white mayo. (I followed a recipe from this cookbook.)

Jonny and the boys have been working hard at our old house, getting it ready to sell next month. It’s bittersweet watching all the unfinished projects of recent years getting completed. On the other hand, I get excited thinking about making it all fresh and pretty for a new family. We love that place so much. It’s still hard to believe that we are going to sell it. The elderberries I planted there last year are blooming. I gathered a bunch of the flowers a couple of nights ago and made a tea with some of the flowers. The rest went into the dehydrator. I honestly didn’t care for the flavor of the tea, but it’s supposed to be good for treating illness, so we’ll save the dried flowers for this winter.

Silas’ birthday is this week, and I’ve been working every night on a gift for him, but it’s a surprise and my kids look at my blog, so I don’t want to risk posting a photo. I’ve posted a couple of progress photos in my Instagram stories over the past few days, and will keep doing so. It’s not a big deal, but it feels good to be working on something in secret for him. I’ve also been planning for Mabel’s first birthday which is in less than a month now! I dyed fabric and yarn for a friend to use to make her a little baby doll, and I’m making progress on a little knitted top for her. That’s practically a Yarn Along photo up there, isn’t it? I’m knitting this pattern, and after a few fiction reads, I’m now reading this book.