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?

Her Name

Mabel-8906

Today is our first day on our own since Mabel was born.  Jonny’s sister and our niece were here through end of last week, and my mom and stepdad were here from late last week till yesterday.  Friends are bringing meals, and we are being well taken care of.  We feel very loved and it has been great having family with us.

And, don’t worry!  I didn’t participate in the garlic harvest.  I merely gave instructions and took a few photos.  C-section recovery is so different, in some ways harder, but in some ways easier (and from what I have taken away from my friends who have had them, recovery can be wildly different from individual to individual).  I have been instructed to be up walking around a bit, to listen to my body, and rest as needed.  I am much more able to be up walking than I have been after previous births, especially my last, but my body definitely  knows when it’s time to sit back down.  I’m doing really well, and haven’t required pain medication beyond prescription Motrin.  And I promise, promise that I am not over-doing it and don’t intend to.  Because mostly, I just want to look at this baby!  I have pulled out most of my kids’ newborn pictures and my own, and determined that Mabel doesn’t look like me at all, or like Beatrix and Larkspur.  Maybe a bit like Seth.  Right now she mostly looks like a mini Jonny to me.  A friend commented that she has his hairline.  He answered, “Is hers receding?”   Right now her eyes are a cloudy dark blue, but I am holding on to the hope that she will have my green eyes.  She definitely wins the most laid back baby ever award, and she did not inherit that from me.  Even her body language says that she is just not too worried about anything.  She stretches and sprawls, and I realize it is too early for smiles, but she’s been smiling from day one.  I’ve never seen anything like it in a newborn of mine.  She smiles and smiles and smiles.  She’s the most darling baby ever.  I love her so much and am still in the “can’t believe she’s here” stage.

But her name!  I want to tell you all about her name.  So in our family, I typically name the boys and Jonny names the girls, at least he chooses what name the girls will go by.  He’s had Mabel picked out for a long time.  Beatrix was almost named Mabel, but he ultimately decided against it.  I think he chose well.  Beatrix is definitely a Beatrix, and Mabel is a Mabel, amiable and easygoing.  Mabel is a family name, Jonny’s paternal grandmother’s.  He has many fond memories of his Louisiana MawMaw.  As for her nickname, “Mae,” that is a family name too!  Jonny’s maternal grandmother’s name was Gracie Mae.  So he was able to name this little one after both of his grandmother’s with one name.

When we found out that we were having a girl, I knew immediately that I wanted to give her the name Sarah.  Many of you know of my friend Sarah Harkins, who died unexpectedly two years ago, next month.  What you probably don’t know is that my best friend in my late teen years was also named Sarah.  She died when I was 20, and she was just 22.  (I’m going to tell you more about her later this week.)  My friend Elizabeth Dehority passed away on Holy Thursday in 2015 after bravely battling breast cancer for years.  And it is also for her that we named our Sarah Mabel Elizabeth.  I very much wanted to honor these friends who were, and still are, so dear to me.  And you know what else? I have a sister named Sarah Elizabeth!  So, I think we’ve got meaningful and special pretty well covered with our little one’s name.  While we will probably mostly call her “Mae” (we are fans one syllable names or nicknames), her name is ultimately bound up tightly with so many people whom we love and that feels just right.