Some Initial Thoughts
I have always found value in journaling. I think journaling is important for a number of reasons. You get to think through life as it happens, documenting specific details about events in life, recounting the good, the bad, and the ugly about what it is like to live life in this world. Hopefully through thoughtful journaling you learn from your past mistakes and think of ways to better yourself for future interactions, situations, and decisions. I have also found that the seasons in life in which I have the most time to journal, I really don’t have that much to write about. The times in which I feel I desperately need to be journaling are also the times in which I don’t have a minute to spare. I guess that’s just how it works.
Right now would be one of the times that I think it is really important to be journaling. I’m a new dad. Micah is already five weeks old. I feel like I am running either at a million miles an hour, or I’m sitting down in a chair holding my new son so that he will not cry. It’s really either one or the other. Right now he is sleeping right next to me in his little co-sleeper bed. (And he’s SO cute.)
I seemingly often write about people’s questions and conversations about things like Micah on my blog, so I might as well keep that going. I guess I should stop being amazed by how everyone seems to respond the same way and ask the same questions. But it still happens all the time.
For instance, Sarah and I went to a couple stores a little while ago. Micah wasn’t really going for sitting in his carseat in the cart, so I picked him up and carried him on my chest as we walked around. Every woman who passed by would say something along the lines of, “AWWWW!!! He’s so TINY! How old is he?” And I would respond, “Oh he’s about three weeks.” “Three weeks! He so cute. Enjoy him while he is this little. They grow up so fast.”
Then people proceed to give me some discouraging fact about how once he’s a little older he’ll be a terror and a hassle. One woman even said, “Enjoy him while he’s that little. I have two grandsons around four years old, and they’re just hell.”
“Ok, I’ll try and keep that in mind.” I said, as I kind of awkwardly smiled, yet probably showed my displeasure with her statement.
Then she smiled and said, “Alright, well, have a good day!”
But this is a common thing. People will comment on how cute or small Micah is and then give a warning about how it is only going to get worse. Thanks, everyone.
Traveling with Micah
Sarah and I traveled to the Omaha, Nebraska area to go visit my extended family. We drove there from Chicago. We really did not know what to expect from little Micah. Would he travel well? He still eats about every hour and a half, and we didn’t know if he’d like sitting in his carseat for such an extended time. But thank goodness babies really seem to like riding in cars. As long as we are moving, Micah seems to have no problem riding along in his carseat (assuming he is also not hungry). So traveling the seven and a half hours was really not a problem at all. (Although, once in the middle of nowhere Illinois we had to stop in the median of the interstate to feed Micah.)
Changing Micah in the car is also harder than one might originally think. As Sarah was changing him once, she was needing something from the front seat, and as I was getting it to give to her Micah let his fountain of youth flow while Sarah was holding him.
Grandmas and Storytelling
I was born in Omaha, Nebraska and most of my family still lives in the area. I rarely get to spend time with my extended family because I live in Chicago, and previously in Indianapolis. It really is a shame, because I do love spending time with them every time I have had the chance. Because Micah is the first new family member in quite awhile, Sarah and I decided it would be a good idea to introduce him to the whole family.
On my mother’s side Micah is the first great-grandson for my grandma. This is special for my grandma, because I was the first-born of my mother, who was also her first-born. This grandma lives very nice independent living facility for retired folks. Sarah, Micah, and I stayed in the guest room on the second floor. It is a very nice facility. Although, I was really hoping that it was nice enough to have walls that silenced Micah’s crying throughout the night every time he needed to be fed. I bet newborn cries are not something that those living in an independent living facility really expect to hear at three in the morning.
It was fun to spend some time with my grandma. It has actually been a few years since I had last seen her. She is definitely getting older, but she still loves telling stories. And to her credit, she really is an amazing storyteller. She has spent much of her older life as a volunteer nurse at the VA hospital. She was originally a nurse in the army and met my grandfather, who was a dentist, at Fort Knox before going to Korea for the Korean war. She loves telling stories about day to day life and the people she runs into. Some of her stories are hilarious. For example, she talked about a time she was volunteering at the Union Pacific Museum when the Prince of Monaco visited. She went on and on about how great he smelled. She just couldn’t get over how great he smelled. As she hugged him, she held him close for a longer than probably comfortable amount of time so that she could smell his wonderfully aromatic neck.
That is one example, but this time she seemed more reminiscent of the the past. She is the youngest of 11 children, and she grew up in North Carolina. She still carries some of that classic North Carolina racism throughout her stories. But even though it is quite uncomfortable to hear, it is a part of her story. But this visit she told Sarah and I stories about growing up around a prayer warrior named “Aunt Annie” from her childhood. She was one of those people that when you asked her to pray, you know she would and you know God would listen. She told us two stories about her older brothers who lived and fought during World War II. Stories like these are priceless. It was so wonderful sitting with my grandma, as she held my newborn son, and hearing her tell the story about why my Great Uncle Ernest always whistles. My grandmother tells stories in a meandering, twisting and turning kind of way. She might get sidetracked here and there, but every detail is interesting and descriptively told. And, she always finds her way back to what she was talking about initially.
This is just one of my two Grandmothers. My other Grandmother is still alive as well, and she is definitely still kicking. She’s almost 94 years old and is also still a great storyteller. This is especially true as she recounts stories about her husband, who died about a year before I was born. Although she is in her nineties, my Grandmother is reconciled with her age. She is okay with where she is in life. To listen to her story and how she has made friends at this point in life is quieting. I don’t really know of another way of saying it. When I listen to her, I simply feel that I should be quiet and listen. And she has a good humor still. She joked about the election and said that I don’t have to wonder whether or not she is liberal, I can simply tell by her age.
I love my grandmothers. I am saddened that I don’t get to sit at their feet more often just to listen to their recounting of life experiences. Sometimes their opinions are strong, and I don’t have to agree with everything they say, but I love just sitting and listening to them. They have a lot to say, and I think the stories of their generation aren’t heard very much anymore. Hearing their stories are better than reading a book.
I love visiting my family. It really is a shame that I rarely get to see my family. When I see movies or shows which depict families that get to spend time with each other frequently I am a bit jealous. Granted, these days I can keep up with my family pretty well due to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We all keep up with each other’s public lives and it brings a sense of connectedness, but we really don’t get to be a part of each other’s lives. And I really feel that is kind of a shame.
It was great to visit with the new member of the family, though. And after spending a weekend with my family it really just showed Sarah and I how loved Micah is, and he’ll really never know. Everyone in our family got to hold him and love on him. My grandmothers were so happy just to hold him.
These are just snippets of things that I have been thinking about, and this is basically a journal entry more than anything else.