Home > Family, Health, Love, Parenting, Personal, Reflections, Relationships > Baby pictures & love over predictability

Baby pictures & love over predictability

Yesterday was stressful.

I started the morning with a plan–laid weeks ago–for the next several months. My budget was in order, and I knew how I’d be spending most of my days between now and the delivery of my second child. It was all wonderfully predictable.


Then my medical leave began much earlier and more suddenly than expected.

This might not sound like a bad thing, but remember: Me + predictability = 4EVER.

predictability It bears repeating.

I was relieved for a moment after hearing my doctor’s assessment, but my next 70,000 thoughts or so went down a very different track.

But what about my work?! I enjoy my work! I love my colleagues! I didn’t get everything transitioned over and there’s still so much to do so no one flounders in my absence! What about that one project? And that other one? And that one stack of papers? Oh, and those other eighteen things? And my budget–oh my word, my budget! I need to understand impacts to my budget right now!

The work-related worries were quickly allayed by supportive words and well wishes all around. It’s no accident that I love my job.

But the budget stuff. Oh, the budget stuff.

It feels great to budget in advance. There’s a sense of luxury in moving dollars from here and putting them there, knowing that there are still days, weeks or even months left to revise and revisit.

Yesterday, I felt no such luxury. My husband and I had a lot of ground to cover in a little time. He’s more comfortable than I with ambiguity, and things taking a little time, but I wanted resolution now. The day ended with some pretty uncomfortable discussion.

Even after I played with the numbers and found that we should be able to make everything work with a heavy reliance on library-based entertainment, it was uncomfortable.

So much is changing. So much is about to change even more. I can’t predict all of it. Heck, I can’t necessarily predict any of it. I could try, but my predictions would be inaccurate. Life doesn’t much care for our predictions or sense of comfort.

And then, then I stepped back. I stepped back from my budget, from my grumbling about unpredictability, and I took a look at what is.
My beautiful family

I didn’t mean to. I wasn’t engaged in some kind of mindfulness exercise. It just occurred to me I hadn’t checked on my sleeping son for a little while, so I went to peek at him.

Seeing his sleeping self sprawled across the bed took my breath away. His chest rose and fell as I watched and remembered countless moments we’ve shared over the last four years.

I turned to my husband and said, “This here is my reminder what it’s all really about.”

To affirm this, I looked through pictures of my son still so new to this world.

hosp d cap

hosp d quilt

My budget suddenly seemed so small–not insignificant, because my childhood spent in poverty underscored for me the importance of knowing food and shelter are covered, but small–compared to the scope of my life. Of life.

My family’s about to have a lot less financial wiggle room, for a few months. It’s also about to be graced with another life.

Another little body to hold close to my own.

Another little newborn head to nestle my nose in.

Another little voice to full the air with cries and laughs and, eventually, relentless unanswerable questions that reveal the marvels of the world seen through new eyes.

Another little person to love, to be loved by, and with whom to share this amazing, crazy world.

Cents will be tight the next few months, but sense of love will be expanded beyond what I can begin to imagine right now.

I’ll still have questions and moments of chagrin when I remember some temporarily forgotten expense, or some project I wish I could’ve come closer to completing. I’ll still drive my husband nuts with my drive to be productive, usually funneled into my work but temporarily without clear outlet. I’ll still crave predictability.

But beneath it all, I’ll remember what’s lasting: love. It can’t be measured or fit onto any spreadsheet, but it is in everything. In the stress. In the wishing. In the missing. In the imagining. In the feeling.

In the seeing my son sleeping and knowing that I’ll soon gaze upon two small sleeping bodies with love and wonder.

The free cents in our house have just diminished a little, but the love? That–that precious, irreplaceable commodity–is about to be amplified.

This here is my reminder what it’s all really about.

real love is bigger

  1. February 21, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Deb, I see you reminding yourself to remember all the wonderful and it’s as if you’re in my head. I have the same thoughts, I just don’t write them down. It’s like we’re sisters of a different mother with these issues.

    I’ve been ruminating on a post on this topic for a couple of weeks. Someday, it shall come forth.

    Hope all is good in the health department as you enjoy these last days before the big event.

    • February 24, 2014 at 9:53 am

      I haven’t been marking them as much as I want to recently. Sitting down and doing so here felt so good. Even just knowing it’s here really does serve as a reminder . . .

      I’ll look forward to that post, as I look forward to all your posts, humorous or not.

      Thank you for the well wishes. ♥

  2. February 21, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Deborah, I am sure if you think back over the years to the greatest bad moments in your life, you will understand that you adapted and compartmentalised those times. Your happiest moments maybe the same and sit in that little brain space that comes out when required. You know things will work out well and they will because of budgets. Budgets can get a bad wrap because they suggest problems and often things can be tricky. But budgets are an everyday thing. You sound like the kind of person that likes to be organised, well that’s budgeting. Your time, your money, your friends and your family are all products of your budgeting. Your second child will be loved and will be happy and comfortable because you always achieve what you budget for. As for predictability, well if you work that one out please tell me so my budgets are easier too.Enjoy your time.B

    • February 24, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Budgets can get a bad wrap because they suggest problems and often things can be tricky.

      So true! I remember when I first started budgeting about eight years ago. Even the word “budget” made my skin crawl. I hated the implication I didn’t have limitless resources. But then, after a few months of tracking what was coming in and going out, it seemed silly I should have once resisted plain fact. It felt good to be able to understand where things were going, and why, and to finally smack down credit card debt I’d amassed before I understood the merits of living within my means. Now, “budget” means something very positive to me, but I see evidence among some of my loved ones that they still find such things disdainful. They’re an incredibly useful organizational tool, and I’m glad I gave them a shot through the initial adjustment pains.

      There are always adjustments, and so far, I’ve managed to make them. That’s what I’m telling myself as I remember the initial pains aren’t a good predictor of what’s to come. (Come to think of it, that statement is appropriate for labor, too!)

  3. February 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Look after yourself, and try and ride out the panic while hugging the magic (that which you have, and that which is to come) to yourself.

    • February 24, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Thank you. Just writing out this post shifted the balance immeasurably. A few hours with girlfriends helped cement the hopeful feeling about what’s to come. ♥

  4. February 21, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Perfect order!

  5. February 21, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Aren’t epiphanies the best? Life has a way of giving us an attitude adjustment right when it’s needed. Sending good thoughts to you and the gang as you await L’il Brother. Can’t wait to hear all about his Big Brother’s reactions. Nice post, as usual Deb. 🙂

    • February 24, 2014 at 10:01 am

      They are fantastic! This particular one made me glad for writing. The act of writing helps solidify what might otherwise be a fleeting sensation.

      Also, it might just be a little sister. Bets are all over the board, but Li’l D is gunning for a sister. He’s expressing reluctant agreement to be nice even if he gets a little brother. :p

  6. February 21, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    “Another little newborn head to nestle my nose in.” Budget, schmudget! That right there is worth so much more than any worry.

    • February 24, 2014 at 10:03 am

      That was the very first good-things sentiment that came to mind. People told me about the smell of newborns, but I’d seldom encountered it myself, and definitely hadn’t been paying attention to that. Then, when I met this little guy, I understood. I’m looking to that again, and the first moment Li’l D shows affection to his even littler sibling. It might not be fast because change is hard, but . . . when it does come, I can only imagine melting.

  7. February 21, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Oh, those baby pictures. My heart just melted. That would fix anyone’s priorities.

    • February 24, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Truth! I keep peeking back at these pictures, and the one from the subsequent thank-you post, and my heart fills up all over again.

  8. February 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Isn’t it funny how it all works out? Before I had babies I was all about my job. I remember before I had Cooper I was planning on going back to work full time. Once I had that baby I was a GONER. I looked at him and loved him so much my heart nearly burst. I cut my hours down to 36 per week and it was the best decision I ever made. Yes, we feel it financially. But I don’t think anyone would ever regret spending MORE time with their kids. It’s the best thing in the world. And they are babies for a hot minute. Literally, I swear Sawyer was born yesterday and now he is one! How can that be. Enjoy every second mama! I LOVE your pics. Nothing better.

    • February 24, 2014 at 10:07 am

      This morning, I had to root around the cupboards for a blanket for Li’l D’s naptime. My eyes landed on the rainbow-colored quilt pictured here. I wasn’t sure where it was, so it felt so sweet to know just where to find it as we prepare to meet the second little one.

      It’s just a blanket, on the one hand, but it’s a blanket made just for him by one of his godmoms and the blanket in which I began our first journey home. The me who went to the hospital had no idea how much life would change in that moment of meeting, or just how much better it would be. ♥

  9. February 22, 2014 at 4:37 am

    Such a beautiful post. I’m really happy for you. You know who you are, that numbers person, but you also have a son already and you know your heart will be like the comment says above “a goner” once your new little one was born. All the details and issues at first will melt away because the first job of a mom, whether you like it or not, is to get your energy back and be good to yourself AND that make sure that little baby is getting nourished. I never knew how hard that was going to be when I had my son–but it consumed me to the point I really couldn’t think about anything else. Perspective. A good thing. Again, so happy for you and the photos of your little boy are adorable!

    • February 26, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks, Robin! It seems so funny to look at this post written less than a week ago from such a different perspective. I’m glad for the wonders worked by a little bit of time, a few pictures . . . and, of course, great comments from thoughtful folks. I’m glad for my earlier failure of perspective, because it makes me even more appreciative to be looking from this vantage point now. Even just a few days later!

  10. February 22, 2014 at 4:45 am

    Predictability? One thing you can’t predict is when L’il D’s little sibling will arrive. On one hand I remember being resigned to the fact that pregnancy was a permanent condition, and then –poof, water breaks in the middle of the night and it’s time to go meet the newest member of the family. So fun to hear from you still again. And if we don’t hear from you in a while, it’s OK…we will know you are holding, cuddling and taking care of your l’il ones’ every need, not to mention A’s too. Just think, family hugs now will look like a huddle. All kinds of loving changes. It will all work out.

    • February 28, 2014 at 6:59 am

      It can feel so permanent from the midst of it! And yet, in this case, here I am down to the last month. How did that happen?! I am so excited to meet this little one. I’m glad for all the experience I’ve amassed since last time, when I was frequently cautioned, “You’ll never sleep again!” Sleep is hard to come by those first few months, but there was never a better reason for little sleep. I’m glad to go into it this time knowing this, and without so few never-sleep-again admonitions since most those I meet now know this child is my second. Not everything will be the same–in fact, I’m certain lots won’t be–but there’s a common core for which I’m glad.

  11. February 22, 2014 at 6:02 am

    I love this.
    Some family member’s first thoughts upon hearing that we are expecting again were financial worries. “How will you afford a second child?!?” (We are not well off, but by keeping strict tabs on our budget, we get by and always have our needs and sometimes our wants met.) I was flabbergasted. Here I was celebrating the beginning of a life, the promise of another child to love and take joy in, and they are worried about money?!? Of course we will always take care of our own, make sure that our children never go without needs. That’s a given. To think any other way is to question our ability to parent. What is most important are the moments of joy and love and laughter that this little one will bring into our lives. I love those moments when I’ve found I’ve lost sight of that and I’m able to step back and see the bigger picture. It is so freeing.
    I hope the last bit of your pregnancy is filled with joy. I know you can’t wait to meet the little one 🙂

    • February 28, 2014 at 7:14 am

      Oh, those questions and concerns! “Long before we mentioned this to you, we did our own assessment and found it doable.” I don’t know why so many people are so comfortable assuming that just because they weren’t part of the decision making process, there was no such process. I used to think it was people being willfully mean, but I’ve since come to decide there’s a lack of imagination in these questions. Occasionally I find them coming out of my own mouth, following which I like to apologize with horror: “Sorry! You’ve inevitably thought of that months ago!” but I do like to assume the people around me are largely sensible actors making good decisions for what they know to be the full scope of their own lives.

      As for the can’t wait? I’m trying to remind myself this is a good time to rest up, but every little kick now is one that makes me want to grab those little feet and kiss them! Just gotta be patient.

  12. February 22, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Yes! Oh my, your words could reflect my own life. From having nothing, it feels like there is so much at stake when you have to down tools. It’s a worry and I long to be like those laid back stay at home mums who seem to accept this with ease. My baby is due in two weeks and I’ve just stopped working (for myself). I’m planning to start up again after six weeks but I don’t want to as I want to enjoy my baby but I also can’t let my business slide and need to feel the comfort of some money coming in. I feel a slave to it but like you I look at my children and know I’m already giving them a better life. I now am more mindful to remember that their love is the predictable part, and remember that my work will always be there. No hurry. (PS those baby pictures are so so cute!)

    • February 28, 2014 at 7:32 am

      I now am more mindful to remember that their love is the predictable part, and remember that my work will always be there.
      I love this–yes, that is the predictable part, even behind the occasionally slung words like, “You’re not my friend!” or “I don’t like you!” Those moments pass quickly and are few compared to the clearly expressed love abundant every day. That’s an even better kind of predictability than that which can be marked on spreadsheets.

      After posting this, I got to thinking about why I love predictability so much. I ended up writing a post about poverty, but it wasn’t directly linked to this although it was in my heart. When you’ve grown up not knowing if there would be food or shelter, it’s impossible not to leave that not-knowing totally in the past. I have made great strides against having it control me, but I suspect it will always be part of who I am.

  13. Andrew
    February 22, 2014 at 11:17 am

    …this reminded me that I forgot to do my budget. And since the frantic scribbling is (partly) done for the day, I oughta take some time for the mentioned mindfulness practice as well. I’m like you. I like predictability to the point where it can be almost smothering. Guess we both have to loosen up a bit and be more accepting of what comes, huh?

    …I’m still going to keep a budget though 😀

    • February 28, 2014 at 7:34 am

      This made me chuckle! I’ll keep going with my budget, but I’ll also try to be mindful that even budgets are subject to change. That has its pros and cons, but the pros are more than enough to justify keeping this practice going. 😀

  14. February 23, 2014 at 4:48 am

    I found myself with tears in my eyes because you compartmentalize so perfectly and then shatter the walls, sending out the illogical of our compartments. I giggled through the tears, well because who doesn’t love the smell of babies over nickles and dimes? Really?

    I am so fortunate to have found you (is it years now?) As I follow your journey I create new paths for me as well, just with your reminders of what is important. I hope you are safe and healthy, the new one along with you.

    • February 28, 2014 at 7:46 am

      It is years now. I was trying to think of just when after you posted this comment, then saw a note about the two-year anniversary of Trayvon’s death. I know I’d read your posts before then, but your posts on the subject were ones that turned me from casual reader to . . . hooked, for lack of a better word. So, yes, we’ve just hit the “years” marker, although I wish the reason for me being able to pinpoint this as truth were a kinder one.

      Sending much, much love. ♥

  15. February 23, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Love from family make us better, richer, kinder. They bring us meaning and purpose. They help us go through the worst and make us laugh when we needed it the most. Wishing you and your wonderful family lots of love, joy and peace always.

  16. February 23, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Sending you and your family much love. Through the hard times, you will always have each other. x

  17. March 22, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    This is such an exciting time for you! I remember when H was on the way! She was two weeks late and I thought I would literally explode in the July heat! Enjoy this time off to relax and take care of yourself and your family. Money might be tight, but you’ll have your nest a bit more organized before the little one arrives! I’ll bet Lil D is excited as can be to be a big brother! 🙂 ❤ 🙂

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