Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

It has been nearly a year since my last post - how in the world did that happen? I've thought about capturing events and memorable non-events in this space so often over the last twelve months, but as the time ticked by it seemed more and more daunting to "catch up" here.
So, in order to "just do it" I've decided to save the catching up for later posts and instead start writing about now.

My now is quite peaceful actually. Surprising since it comes at the end of another day-long car trip with our expanded family. J and I are so blessed to have such amazing travelers in our boys.

This is the 2nd road trip as a family (our first was at the beginning of June to NC that I will hopefully document soon) and our first hotel stay. We are heading to Charleston for a long visit with my family and decided to break up the journey with an overnight in Greenville, SC. As I write in our hotel room at The Phoenix - an old, nicely kept, and barely occupied hotel - I am serenaded by the ocean sounds of A's Sleep Sheep and the pop, pop, pop of 4th of July fireworks a few miles down the road in Downtown. N sleeps soundly in his Moses basket, arms up in the Touchdown position, on the other side of the bed. He'll likely be down for another hour or so before asking for a final meal and then settling in for the night. As friends and relatives have heard me say, this boy has a set of lungs on him during the daytime, but at night, he found a way very quickly to sleep so soundly. He even wakes at night very quietly - an incredible gift to his parents, weary of his pterydactyl-like cries during the day. (You have gotten so much better over the last few weeks, though, honey)

J sits in a chair beside me reading. He is off of school for the summer and still chooses free reading books related to his studies - a telltale sign that the path he is on is indeed the perfect one for him.

This being the first time in a long time that we have slept in the same room as A, who is now 17 months old and much more aware of things at bedtime, we have minimal lights on and are speaking in whispers. So far so good.

A is a Wright road tripping veteran and even with his toddler-sized energy and attention span, he continues to amaze us with his ability to stay mostly happy in the car. The downside to these trips is the lack of physical exertion due to being strapped into a car seat for hours on end - yes, we do take breaks and a big THANK YOU to Truett Cathy for his Chick Fil A restaurants with indoor playards, reasonable kids meals, and amazingly helpful staff who are more than willing to help a momma juggling an infant in a carseat, a diaper bag for two, a wallet, and beverages. We do our best to give A chances to stretch his legs a little, but still, there's no way to work out all of that energy. So, when we arrived at the hotel, he was busy busy playing with the hotel stationary, mommy's nursing pillow, the hotel shampoo and conditioner (some yummy Bath and Body Works flavors, I might add), the hotel phone (Mommy unplugged it in order to avoid some unintended "incedentals"), and anything else he could get his hands on. He would walk around with the shampoo and conditioner and then hand one of them to you with such joy on his face you'd get a tear in your eye. But, best not try to take it from him :) He also found climbing and sitting on the ottoman good fun . . . we managed to let him do this by himself without injury and were as pleased as he was when he maneuvered himself down on his belly, feet first. Our boy grows up by the day.

We began this journey by bidding farewell to Wawa (J's mother) who flew back to NC after spending a wonderful and eventful week with us. As she said this morning, she came to Nashville with three grandsons and left with four - J's sister gave birth to a baby boy (her second son) on Saturday morning. Wawa drove from our house to IN for a quick visit with her older daughter, son-in-law and grandson and just hours after she left to return to Nashville, C went into labor! Talk about timing! Mom and baby were doing wonderfully at last report.
In the week that transpired since we returned from our trip to NC and prepared for this current venture, we've packed a lot in, including beginning demolition on the back of our home for our renovation, taking advantage of Nashville's summer Musicians' Corner series, and attending the incredible U2 360 concert (this will likely warrant its own post, but suffice it to say that it was quite an entertaining spectacle).

But now...all is quiet except for the sporadic bursts of sound and light from the holiday celebrations outside and I am content.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Celebrating Small Days

Today was one of those of those days that I will reflect on fondly for many years to come. It was one of those days that seemed to capture so much of life’s new rhythm as parents, as a family. This was not a big day like yesterday –our fourth wedding anniversary - rather it was a small day. It offered beauty in its simplicity. It was one of those rare days that was full but not busy. What we did might be considered mundane but it was meaningful. It started with bagels in the shade of a cool spring morning at Star Bagel. Smiles spread around the patio as Anderson pointed and babbled incoherently. Next we headed to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens where we delighted in Anderson’s mesmerized exploration of the outdoor Trains! exhibit. There was wonder, infectious laughter as well as defiant crying.

Back at home, while the boys worked in a rare simultaneous nap, Jill & I teamed up to actually clean the floor after weeks of Anderson’s relentless blitzkrieg of tossing food from the high chair. I swept as Jill followed with her prized infomercial loot – the Shark steam mop. I’m still not convinced that it is the most important invention since the home computer but the hardwoods do look nice. We both felt an odd sense of accomplishment at the completion of this menial but all too neglected task. We then packed up our burgeoning family of four into the mini-van and claimed our spots as VIPs for Cupcake-Palooza 2. This sugar slamfest was a tasty fundraiser for Books for Birth which promotes childhood literacy by offering free books to every child in Tennessee. With the three solid food eaters in the full throws of a sugar rush we darted to the playground where Anderson showcased his rapidly improving walking/running skills.

Our arrival back at home invoked the end–of-day routine – a divide and conquer approach with Jill feeding Nathan while I supervised Anderson’s bath and got him into his pajamas. Oh, the joy of splashing. Why do we ever stop splashing? In honor of the day we read “The Little Engine that Could” and “I Dream of Trains.” Then, with a click of the lamp I put Anderson in his crib and sat down in the chair across the room. He was too tired to offer much protest although occasionally he would peer at me through the slats of his crib. He didn’t need to be held –else he would have cried - but just wanted to know that I was still there. As he drifted off the room slowly darkened and I listened to the music that was singing him to sleep. It was JT – the original one – reminding me to “shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.” I could feel myself actually begin to unwind, loosen, and soften from the collective tension of the last few months.

We didn’t do much today but we shared plenty. We were simply together – here - now. I began to more fully appreciate the rare opportunity we have this summer. With Jill on maternity leave and my graduate studies complete until the fall, the four of us will be stumbling our way into this family thing full-time for the next few months. And this day was a great way to get things started. I’m sure there are many big days ahead for us. But today a small day was just fine.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wright Again

“I think we’ve played this out.” With this assessment from Jill’s OB at her weekly visit at 39 weeks and 3 days we entered the home stretch of Baby Dub #2’s arrival. We quickly picked up Anderson and left him at home with super-neighbor Sarah Brown before heading to Vanderbilt Medical Center. Meanwhile, Sassy, Papa & WaWa (the grandparents) jumped in the car & started their 7+ hour race across the mountains to join us in Music City.

By 7pm Nurse Kim had Jill settled into room 11 and Jonathan began the “Dublivery” tunes spinning. After a litany of consults the first dose of Pitocin was administered around 9:15 after which we rested as much as possible to the quiet sounds of a rapid heart beat on the monitor. At 1:30am we entered “active labor” and shortly thereafter Jill was “comfortably numb” although Pink Floyd was not part of the playlist. Our parents made a groggy arrival around 3 a.m. and after a short visit they set up camp and caught some zzzz’s in those oh-so-comfortable (Sleep #0) waiting room chairs.

Just after 5:00am Jill reported that she felt some pressure/movement downward. Dr. Mody’s hasty consult revealed that the baby had dropped and that Jill was a full 10cm dilated at which point things moved very quickly. Before I could even give the grandparents a heads up the “let’s try a test push” turned into a mad scramble of staff & equipment as Jill put her previous delivery skills to work. She was determined to avoid the grueling 2.5 hours of active pushing from Anderson but she exceeded even her own expectations by pushing him out with 4 or 5 pushes in just a handful of minutes. The staff quickly placed the baby on Jill’s chest for the ever-important skin-on-skin time so we both discovered together – at 5:41am on April 20 - that our new little one was another son.

Nathan Carl produced the expected wail and immediately began rooting around. Nathan is a tribute to a paternal great uncle (as well as a nod to Daddy) and Carl gives a nod to great-grandfathers on both sides of the family. After cuddling briefly Jonathan escorted Nathan to the nursery where they hoped to get his slightly low body temperature up a bit. The staff then got Jill patched up and she visited with the surprised grandparents while Nathan had another check-up and first bath. By 8:15 Nathan & I rejoined Jill so that he could get some breakfast. Later in the morning Sharon, Dave & Regina went to our house to take over Anderson duties and get some desperately needed rest. Later that afternoon they returned to the hospital with Anderson in tow where he met his little brother for the first time. Nathan was thoughtful enough to get his big brother two books with lots of pictures of dogs so Anderson was immediately won over. In fact, he seems to be taking his big brother responsibilities quite seriously as he decided to take his first steps for mommy & daddy in the hospital room.

We are touched by and so appreciative of the slew of calls, texts and Facebook well wishes. Indeed, it takes a village to raise a child and we are fortunate to have so many generous and supportive people with whom to share this magical journey.

Nathan Carl Wright
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
5:41am, 7 lbs. 7oz.