Sunday, September 7, 2014

Addie Girl

Oh, sweet Addie Compton...  Just like the two Bruce babies before you, I took one look at you and was madly in love.  Hooked.  However many babies your mom and dad have, I will love them all like crazy.

I had a very early text from your mom yesterday that you were on your way, and just two hours later, a call from her that you were here and were already about an hour old.  You came quick, sweet pea.  Just like with your brother, she sounded like she had maybe done nothing more strenuous than going to the grocery store when I talked to her.  She was made for this.

When I walked in to see you this morning your mom - up, showered, dressed - was perched in a chair, no signs of having had a long day yesterday.  Your silly daddy was in the hospital bed. :)  You, my dear, were right at the start of all sorts of little tests in your bassinet, so I held your little hand while a nurse poked and prodded and pricked your tiny little heel for a blood test.  I instantly thought you looked more like Mac than Emerson, but no matter who you look like, you are just absolutely precious.

Yesterday when I talked to your mom on the phone and asked her to tell me about you, she told me that you were very squishy, and I agree.  I told your dad that my favorite part of you is where the bottom of your neck meets your shoulder - lots of little skin folds and still a little newborn fuzz and just soft soft soft.  Squishy. :)  Your cheeks are the best - they are Bruce cheeks and look like your daddy's and your sister's and those that your dear Poppy had.  I know he is so proud of you.

I love that you are here for so many reasons, but a lot because it means that there's a little bit more of your mom and of your dad in the world, and that is such a good thing.  Your dad is one of a kind.  He has the biggest heart and the kindest smile and has such a deep soul.  Anything that you get from him will be genuine and will be good.

Your mom is part of my heart.  She's my best friend in all the world and we are often a little bit the same person.  As if on cue today, a nurse walked in and looked at us and said "Oh, your sister is here."  We've heard it a million times and it never gets old.  If you get an ounce of her grace and patience and incredible compassion for others, you will be the dearest person in the world.  We've done life together.  I'm so glad you get to do life with her, too.  I glanced at her while she took a nap today while you took a nap with me and thought about how proud I am of her.  You will be, too.

Your sister and brother.  Oh honey.  What a family jackpot you have hit.  When anyone heard you were on the way, everyone guessed you'd be another brother.  But the second I saw the first photo of Emerson holding you, I figured out why it is that you were a sister instead.  It was for her.  She has won the lottery to have a little sister to love.  And oh you will ADORE her.  I sure do.  She has your daddy's heart and your mom's giggle and a million things of her own that make her just the best.  She has totally figured out how to get anything and everything she could ever want from me, so I'm sure she'll teach you how to do the same.  :)  And your brother?  He's the happiest kid on the planet.  I'm sure he's thrilled you're a girl so he can stay a mama's boy.  You will be the coolest girl ever because you will know EVERYTHING about every ball and big truck that you ever see.  If you learn anything from him, I can only hope it is how to be joyful always.  He's got it mastered.

I can't wait to watch you grow, precious baby girl.  I'll be here every step of the way.  But please, please, just don't do it too fast.

I love you -
Aunt Becca

Friday, August 15, 2014

Birthday Bird

A year ago today I knew that this girl was coming on that day.  Early.  She was too tiny and needed to join the world so she could get a little help growing.

I had just pulled into the bank parking lot for a quick ATM run before a baseball game with folks from work when I finally had a text from her dad.  She didn't have a name yet, but she was here.  A teeny little 3 pounds, 7 ounces, but doing okay.  I don't remember a single thing from that baseball game...

A little later, a text from her mom.  Her sweet little name was Eliza James, and they were not sure of a single thing except that they were already totally in love with her.

Her mom was one of my roommates in college.  To say we've been through it all and then back again would be an understatement.  She is one million of my memories.  We hadn't been in touch for a while for what seemed like a lot of reasons but no good reasons at all, really.  But now?  Now this baby girl was here.  And I couldn't not know her.  I couldn't.  It's just not how I was made.  She changed everything.

In December of last year I got to meet and hold her sweet little self for the first time and I was 100% hooked.  She was the smallest and most adorable thing and I cried some big ugly tears alone in my car when I left.  In February I went back to see her again.  And just two days ago I snuck up to her family's vacation house in the Virginia mountains and surprised her.  Well fine, I really went to surprise her mom. :)

This little girl is a fighter.  She's happy and healthy and the best baby ever.  She's a bitty little 14 pounds of love and healing.  She's definitely helped heal something big in me.

Happy Birthday, you precious, precious little E-Bird.  Do you have any idea how much you are loved?!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Love, Marbles, I-40 and Dave Matthews...

So, over two years ago (the official date listed is May 6, 2012), I tossed a handful of pictures into a new blog entry and never did anything else.  The intent was a Mother's Day post centered around the moms that let me love their kids and how thankful I am to all of them.  And I've thought about the post a million times, but I just could never figure out the angle I wanted to take with the writing.  Mother's Day 2012, 2013 AND 2014 came and went.  Pitiful.  But the draft always stayed put.

This weekend, it all hit.

I was in Wilmington for the long weekend for Memorial Day with Matt, Liz and their family.  We played a lot, and on Sunday we went to their church.  I barely got up in time, didn't shower (which I NEVER do), but we still made it.  

My focus tends just drift off when I'm at a new church.  I look around a lot, take it all in, and maybe, usually, admittedly, I don't pay 100% attention to the sermon.  I did this time, though.

It was the first of a three-part series about "Losing Your Marbles" - and the marbles in this message were time.  He talked about kids a lot in this one.  A whole lot.  How if you put 936 marbles in a jar when a kid is born, and throw one away every week until they turn 18, you'd physically watch time pass with the marbles in that jar.  A ton of his point is that with everything else everyone has going on, TIME is what kids want.  They want you to invest time in them. 

I thought SO MUCH about 'my kids' as he was talking.  I know so many people must think that I'm crazy. I'm 32, single, and spend the majority of my 'free time' with children.  My car might need to be washed, my laundry might need to be folded, my mail might need to be sorted, my bed ALWAYS needs to be made...but if I have an opportunity to spend that time with kids instead, that's where I'm going.  I go to what seems like millions of birthday parties and recitals and school plays.  I sit in the bleachers at baseball or basketball games or run off for an impromptu dinner or ice cream date or walk a crew to school in the mornings and give lots of hugs at classroom doors.  All of it means so much more to me than that other stuff that isn't going anywhere, anyway.

So, I invest in now.  I could worry a lot about a year from now or five years from now and, admittedly, dwell too much on being single and wondering if and when I'll ever drop my OWN kids off in those classroom doorways.  (Which I do A LOT.)  Or I could just love now.

And then, lo and behold, I listened to some OLD Dave Matthews driving home from Wilmington.  CDs that I have heard 3 million times and haven't listened to in years.  And there, in a song I know by heart, was a lyric I've never paid attention to, and it was like I was supposed to hear it in the midst of thinking about all of this...  "The future is no place to place your better days".

Live in the now.  Don't worry about if tomorrow or next year or five years from now is going to be 'better'.  What does better even mean, anyway?  Lose your marbles with purpose, not just for the sake of losing them and moving on to the next thing.

And then, I mentally envisioned 20 jars of marbles for the 20 babies that have been really truly been 'mine' since they were babies.  So many kids mean so much to me, but oh, these are just the ones that live in my heart and have since before they knew any different (or really had any choice, bless their hearts).  And I choked up at the thought of how few marbles would be left in so many of those jars.  I even felt a little pinch for all of the marbles left in baby Matty's jar, and he's only 6 months old.

"Teach us to number our days..."

Then, then came a GIANT wave of gratefulness to the mothers that let so much of the time that those marbles represent be MY time with their children.  Eight mothers who have handed over that gift of fleeting time to ME.  Handed it over a lot.  And oh, I was SOBBING on I-40 listening to those old, scratched CDs...

Lo and behold, the photos dumped into the blog over two years ago popped into my head.

Ann Parke and Mary, Stacy and Amy, Jen and Laura, Kristin and Katie...THANK YOU for letting me invest in the yesterday and the today and the tomorrow with your children. Letting me be in the now with them so often.  I'm not sure that you'll ever understand what it has meant to me.  For all of you it might just be a chance for a night out or a weekend away or a darn grocery store trip without so many extra hands reaching for things, but I have taken every second that you have let me have your kids so seriously and I have treated that time so preciously.  

Even more than that, OH the friends that I have in all of you.  That's just a blessing upon a blessing.  Who could have ever known that I would be given these friendships with all of you?  You've let me be a part of your family and you have become part of mine.  I know I've written about that before, but I will repeat it over and over to try express what I mean.  I've cried on your shoulders, you've cried on mine, we've talked each other off of lots of ledges and celebrated many milestones together, and I could never tell you what YOU mean to me.  You've shown me motherhood and friendship in ways that I never could have imagined, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

I can't imagine losing so many of my marbles with ANYONE but all of you and your amazing, beautiful families...  Thank you.  My cup TRULY runneth over.  So much love to you all.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Capture. A Year!

One year ago today, I walked through the front door of the pretty blue house you see above to start my brand new job.  I had an inkling that I'd like it.

Y'all.  I had NO idea.

You would be quite hard pressed to find anyone that loves their job like I do.  When I see family or friends or family friends, they often say to me not "how's work?" but "you love your job."  They don't ask me, they tell me.  Because they see all the fun I have through pictures on Facebook and Instagram.  Because they see me running around like a lunatic at events in town where I am 'working' but having a blast.  Because they ask my mother how I like my job and she goes on and on and on about what a great fit it is, or they ask my dad and he tells them I've found the absolute perfect job.

I've danced around (literally) with WAY too many mascots, sat on the sidelines (or on the court!) at professional sporting events, leaned both off of an interstate bridge and out of my sunroof to get the perfect photo for clients, have gotten up at ungodly hours for TV shoots, have gotten to write, have gotten to play.  I've walked through the doors of the offices of some really fun people and had some really fun people walk through the door of mine.  I've gone behind the scenes with public figures and sports stars and musicians and ballet dancers.  I've yet to have even close to the same day twice around here.

During the recent Winston-Salem Cycling Classic, I met up for just a second with some friends who had come downtown for the event, in between my trying to find a news station that was there for a story and answering phone calls from the newspaper needing questions answered for a piece they were doing.  The friends then headed to dinner and I wasn't able to join them.  When I hugged Wes goodbye, he said "Man, sorry you didn't even get to hang out and have any fun while you were down here."  I so naturally told him that I was having fun - that I have such a fun job and I love my work and I was just fine.

My camera is around my neck almost every day and that makes my heart smile.  I thought I might get to use it some, but I bring it to work with me every single day.  I've had photos show up in the craziest places and I just can't believe it.  Happy as a lark.

And OH, do we have fun within the walls of the blue house.  The people I work with are the best.  We are friends and our families are friends.  We work together all day then often meet up to play later.  We blare music (Kenny Loggins, usually) and goof off all the time and send waaaaaay too many cat photos to each other in emails and texts and we just think it's the funniest thing EVER.  They are the greatest.  Just the greatest.  They'd do anything for me and I'd do anything for them.

I am not at all clueless about how fortunate I am to have a job that I love so.  I know so many people that never have that.  I know that not everyone walks out the door of their home every day excited to get to their office.  I know that.  And I am so grateful for the opportunity.

So yes, it's been a good year.  One hell of a great year.  And I can't wait to see what else is down the road!