We’re watching Doctor Strange on our TV tonight, because that’s what we were watching a year ago. It was at Flix Brewhouse, with my dad, for his birthday. The water broke then, but I didn’t know it yet. I heard/felt a pop. Later that night, right around midnight, it began. All day I have been aware of a movie reel playing as if in the back of my mind of this day last year, present-me aware of the countdown that was in place, full of anticipation of November 13th – Augustine’s birthday.
In the car on the way to Target this afternoon, I decided to see how easy it would be to make something in iMovie for his first birthday, a tradition borrowed from a good friend. Just as I was clicking the button to choose photos, I remembered that I had allowed Google Photos to “free up space” after my last back up. (I have taken approximately 6,000 photos and videos since Augustine was born. Fact.) Yet somehow there were a lot of photos to choose from – somewhere between 100-150, going back just over a year. There is probably some iCloud explanation for this (although my phone loves to remind me that it hasn’t been able to update in 4,860,227-ish days). Regardless, I was in action. I basically selected all, saved the project, and we Target-ed. Then after bedtime, Mike and I played around with it a little more and I realized just how much I needed to do that + this. The song “Boys” by Jars of Clay was a no-brainer for this video. The first time I heard it, I knew it was one I will listen to regularly for the next 60-some years. John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy” was another easy choice. That is what I have called my boy since day one. I wanted a 3rd, an instrumental version of Lavender Blue as this has always been one of our few real “our songs,” but my patience with making something on my phone ran out. #reality
The photos told a story beyond a growing boy, too. Grandparents are ever-present, and it reminds me again of how INCREDIBLY blessed we are to have 5 grandparents in town, devoted to helping us raise this boy, any time, day or night. How Grandma Julie and Grandpa Ray-Ray watch him 5 days a week. How Grandda Phil has never, ever said no to babysitting and often covers school days when needed. Grandma Jo has also taken on her fair share of weekdays and babysitting jobs, and brought me lunch + allowed me the time to shower and feel human during maternity leave weekly. Grandpa Dave has a way of making Augustine melt that I haven’t seen with any other.
Aunt Erin and Uncle Tim make an appearance, and it warms my heart for their love for him and their mindfulness of our other baby Edgar pup is something I am so grateful for. Uncle Jordan makes a few appearances, and it makes me so happy that this man who was my best friend for most of my life gets to have a role in how my boy grows up. Aunt Jen wasn’t pictured, though – the mystery available photos didn’t include one of her – and Jen, that’s why you’re getting multiple sentences. You have watched Augustine for entire days more days than I can count, even though you have your hands full with sweet Eva bear. You have ALWAYS been there to listen to my verbal-processing, extremely emotional mom moments. You offer advice when I need it. Your prayers are some of the most powerful I’ve encountered, and I am grateful and jealous for them! I loved you before our closely-timed motherhood journeys, but now I truly think of you as my sister. For real. Forever.
Great grandparents are present in the pictures, too. Nana and PopPop, who took me on as a teenager who thought she was an adult at 18 for that golden summer. I’m so glad Auggie gets to love and laugh with you two, too. Grandma Marcia, Augustine LOVES you. We are grateful for you. And Grandpa Jim, gone for just over a week. I pray that Auggie grows up to be as gently influential and as steadfastly loving as you always were. Abby, Amber, Meredith, and Lindsie – you guys weren’t pictured (and some haven’t met Auggie yet!) but I also am grateful for my cousins who have been there over text or otherwise to answer questions or just send love. You guys were some of my best friends growing up, and I hope our kids know and love each other well.
Some friends snuck in those mystery photos, too! Stephanie – I am SO thankful that we shared our maternity leave school year. Just having someone to figure it all out alongside has meant more than you know. I can’t wait to actually eat lunch together again! 😉
Nicole. You are my sister forever, too. I still smile at the fact that we can’t remember when we transitioned from boss-employee to best friends almost 10 years ago, but now more than ever that detail doesn’t matter. What matters is how through our honest, analytical conversations I have learned how to live better, love better, and certainly mom (not even better – at all!). I firmly believe God brought me to that TV station so that we could become friends. I am so glad that we have held on to that friendship, because it means more to me with each milestone, big or small.
Mandy. You are my person. I am so grateful to have someone I can work with and church with and do life with like you. Someone I don’t always have to agree with, because it is usually in those moments when I get the chance to grow. Someone who let me borrow a pair of flip flops to ride a bike in and glared a hole into my skull, only to have seen a spark that turned into my career calling. Someone who moms so hard and so honestly and authentically, and most importantly, who invited me into that journey with you even though I was just a lady with no kids of my own. You valued my ideas about G, trusted me with her, and ultimately it was that Disney on Ice trip that we took last year that sparked my eyes to my next calling – I *WANTED* to be a mom, too.
Linda Luo – your picture didn’t show up, which doesn’t even make sense since I’m pretty sure you and Auggie have more pictures together than any of my friends! Your constant support and generosity are like the glue that keeps my life together. You feed me, clothe me, keep my hair looking amazing, and you even help keep us healthy and learning with oils!! You make me laugh harder than anyone else, and have taught me that giving to others is one of the most powerful ways to love. Your influence in Auggie’s life is and will continue to be vital. I hope he knows how to give like you do.
Allison. From the first time we hung out (you know, on your honeymoon), I knew we were kindred spirits. I thought we would start motherhood journeys together, but you got a bit of a head start. I’m selfishly grateful for that, too, as your boys have shown me so much about how to be wild and free and loving and sweet all at the same time. Your mothering has shown me how to both provide expectations but allow exploration and curiosity to flourish. Your care for me (like literal nurse stuff) during those first few months was life-giving. Your continued presence, even if it’s not as often as we would ever hope, is a constant that I cherish.
Emily Lunt (when I mention another Emily, I must say her last name). We were acquaintances when you lived here, and when we announced our pregnancies about a week apart, I still didn’t know how close we would come. Though we don’t talk as often now, the solidarity of having our sweet boys so close in time was so sweet. You listened and shared in turn. That is powerful, and I will always treasure it.
Alicia, though you were far away at the time of Auggie’s birth, I knew from your authentic motherhood experience that you would always be there if I needed you – and you were. Thank you for answering my questions, praying fiercely, and loving us long-distance.
Miranda, I am selfishly grateful that Sullivan was born a year earlier so that I could benefit from your experience. Thank you for being available, real, and for knowing the fun things to do with babies. Next summer I’m pretty sure Auggie will enjoy the zoo a lot more 🙂
Shandra! Another mama with a baby boy a year ahead of my own. I can never thank you enough for all of the clothes that you have given us from Mr. Night Boy! Thank you for helping me know what to do to get started on this journey by registering with me, and most of all, thank you for the hours of running and talking. More of that please – I feel like it’s some of the best therapy around!
Sarah, thank you for understanding me so well during pregnancy and motherhood. The clothes and heart-rate monitor you leant me saved my life. Registering with me saved my sanity. Making me laugh and sharing stories about motherhood and just about everything is one of my favorite things to do.
Rachael and Lindsay – thank you for the clothes, gifts, and wisdom you offered at the start and the encouragement and perspective you offer every time I need it. I seriously can’t believe how lucky we are to raise Auggie with such amazing people as DLC around us.
Becca – your gift of a bag of allergy-friendly foods dropped on my porch with a text notification is my favorite evidence that you don’t have to have a kid to know EXACTLY what new moms need. You get me, on a level that makes me want to apologize hahahaha.
Kat, Stacey, Stacey, Jenna, Chelsea, Joelle – my other DLC ladies – again, I’ll say it every day – it is a DREAM to raise a kid in this pack. You are strong women. Smart women. Caring women. Informed and intelligent and world-changing.
Jenna, you are in Thailand now, but thank you for holding my boy even when it scared you. 😉 Thank you for always inviting me to hang out, and coming to me or baby-friendly restaurants when that wouldn’t work. Thank you for keeping me “me” but also embracing “mama me.” Thank you for your patience, positivity, and light – even and especially from around the world.
Alisa, though we mostly communicate through “likes” on social media now, I will always remember and appreciate your solidarity when nursing felt like the least natural way to feed a child that could be. Honesty like we could share was life-giving.
Afton, you have put up with some CRAZY questions from me since this boy was born, and I am SO grateful. Without your support and advice, I probably would still be waking up every 2 hours. Not joking. I feel like I owe you a kidney or something!
Angie, Mary, Amy, Elaine, Renee – you were all so supportive at work in knowing the roller coaster of emotions I was experiencing when I first left and returned, and even now. Mary and Amy especially – there have been moments when I start rambling and your ability to provide perspective is like a breath of much-needed air.
Chris – you get a thank you even though you aren’t a lady because of a message you sent me about 2 months before I realized I had postpartum depression. Thank you for recognizing signs because of your family’s experience and for being a true enough friend (and good enough person) to say something. I might have denied it at first (to myself above all) but that message was one of the main things that gave me courage to admit I was in over my head when the time came.
Mary – another social media mama friend, but it has been so fun watching miss Z grow up online. Becoming moms around the same time creates a bond I didn’t expect 🙂
So here we are, less than 3 hours until midnight, until my baby boy is ONE. And while I could write (and likely will, soon) about every moment with him – while I have written and will write more about the journeys of nursing and working and dealing with physical and mental health hurdles during this past year – it only feels right to reach out and recognize our village today. This year was was as intense, beautiful, magical, real, raw, hilarious, and powerful as it was because baby – but also because you all were there to help along the way. It’s time for me to watch this one-year iMovie we made and also Doctor Strange and laugh and cry and remember some more now, but first, and always – Thank you.