Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lessons Learning...

Among other things, our adoption (and the 14-month wait) has revealed to me that 1. I like to write! and 2. I process better by writing.

So now that the adoption is "over" and life as a family begins, our blog will shift to the story of our family's journey and our reflections on parenting. And, should the Lord lead, adoption #s 2, 3(?), 4(?)... 

We know that we don't have it all figured out, so this is our little way of sharing our story - our successes and failures, our triumphs and tragedies, our laughs and our cries, our prayers and our praises -  so that others may (hopefully) be blessed by it, and as our way of asking you for prayer, help, wisdom, and counsel as we learn how to parent our Bailey in a God-honoring way.

On the first flight home last Sunday/Monday, a red eye from Kinshasa to Brussels, I was reflecting on the previous week and how much life had already changed! I'm not great at sleeping on planes so I had a lot of time to think. What emerged was the beginning of a list of "learnings" - things I'm learning about parenting, about Bailey, about myself. I don't want to call them "lessons learned" but "lessons learning" because I've only barely scratched the surface of understanding and comprehending the depth of many of these new realities. I will never fully have these things "learned"and that's what this journey is all about.

January 29th, 5am
We made it. Well, not yet, but we made it out of DRC. All things considered, it was a pretty uneventful exit. Thank you Lord!

One leg almost in the books. It started out a little hairy, as Bailey had absolutely NO desire to get any sleep. She was a little fussy and generally disinterested in all of our futile attempts to get her to fall asleep. As you'd expect (or WOULDN'T), the flight attendants served a meal on a flight that left at 11:30pm - it took them a least 90 minutes to finally turn the cabin lights off. And they had the AC BLASTING.

What followed was a series of failed sleeping arrangements by me and Jenny until we finally found one that stuck for Bailey, which of course ended up being the scenario where Bailey gets a seat and a half, and I'm left squirming for 8 hours trying to make sure I don't get in her way and wake her up.

I can hear all the parents out there collectively saying "welcome to parenthood". 

So, here I am. Hour 6 of an 8 hour flight. It's 5:15 am and I've got maybe 90 minutes of "sleep" under my belt and 14 hours of flights ahead. 

Enough whining. I'm exactly where I want to be, doing what I've been waiting to do for over a year. I have my amazing wife dozing a few feet from me and our beautiful daughter between us. The most precious gift from God sleeping so peacefully on my lap. 

This week has been a whirlwind. It feels like we've had Bailey with us for much longer than a week. I'm already learning so much about her, about myself, about life. And I've confirmed some that I thought I knew as I memorized the pictures of her over the last 11 months.

I'm learning that...

1. Her eyes are as captivating (if not more) in person as they are in the pictures. 

2. Her nubbin (if you haven't heard the "sixth finger scare" story, let me know) is hardly the size of a teenager's zit, or that wart the scariest teacher in school always seemed to have. 

3. She loves being tickled.

4. She loves sucking her thumb, but only her right one.

5. She loves sticking out her tongue. 

6. She sleeps like a rock and will join Jenny (and Abby) as those sleeping in on the weekends. BUT, only on her schedule and when she darn well feels like sleeping...

7. She (so far) will eat just about anything, and A LOT of it. 

8. For being so tiny, she has some crazy strength. Kung fu grip is an understatement and my glasses have paid the price more than once. This is probably the last pair of nice frames I will ever own. Walmart here I come.

9. She has 4 little teeth growing in, and they don't feel too good clamped down on my finger. But I'll let her do it again, and again.

10. She has the cutest little laugh, the most beautiful sound to a parent.

11. I have no clue what I'm going to do if I ever have to do her hair. That's going to be some amazing video footage. Poor kid.

12. It was confirmed (time and again) that Jenny is an amazing woman, wife, and mother. I know that this week has been far from real life, but she is already a pro, and Bailey is so privileged to have Jenny as a mother. And I'm so privileged to be able to partner with her and hopefully not screw it up too much. God was/is smiling down on me to consider me worthy of such a woman.  I'd be a hot mess without Jenny. She ran this whole process, ran this trip, and I just tried to keep up. THANK YOU, my love, for all that you continue to do for me and our family. I love you more and more each day.

13. Bailey's not yet sure what to make of water - specifically the pool and the bath. Their Facebook relationship status would currently be "It's complicated". 

14. I LOVE the feeling when I walk back in the room and Bailey recognizes me with a smile.

15. Bailey can stand up on her own, and she shines when she does it - I love the confidence she already has!!

16. She likes to cuddle, when she's in the mood.

17. When she's tired she'll rub her ear and do this weird thing where she'll be sucking her thumb (always the right one) and she'll hold her left elbow with the arm extended upward. I'll try to get a picture...

18. She's a very active sleeper. Going from a king bed to a crib should be an interesting adjustment!

19. Parenting is going to stretch me more than anything I've faced in a long time. 

20. This little girl puts a lot of other "things" and "priorities" in my life into perspective. Lord please keep me focused on the right priorities. Please help me appropriately steward my time and this little girl you've entrusted to me as Jenny. Friends, family - I expect you to hold me accountable to this. I've been known to work a little too much, always. That needs to stop.

21. Parenting requires creativity, wisdom, and not giving a rip what others think of you.

22. I learned or experienced a taste of what life is like being a tiny minority. It's a different feeling when the stares are at me. I'm grateful for that experience and the perspective it has given me. 

23. We have the best family and friends (and dog!) any family could ever hope for. Thank you for your encouraging words, kind comments, and all of the prayers. These have sustained us not just this week but through this process. It has been such a blessing to receive unending support from family and friends around the world. Thank you, each and every one of you. You all have been used to unite us with our daughter.

24. I'm learning (and regularly being reminded) that I don't have a clue what I'm doing, but I'm giving it all I've got.

So, I've got a week of parenting experience. I know there is so much more to learn, and I'll continue to post those new things I learn, about Bailey, about us, about parenting, etc.  

I know that a week in a hotel room is far from reality. The fun will really begin as we get home and into our own rhythm. The memories that await us!


25. Airplane lavatories will never look the same to me.

26. "Me time"comes in much smaller, bite-size chunks now, and I best make the most of them.

27. I can replace "baby" with "Bailey" in just about any song and sing to Bailey.  Could get REALLY interesting as I dive into the music honest, how many of you went straight to "Baby Got Back"??

28. Birthday cupcake on 1st birthday = Heaviest. Diaper. Ever. the next morning...

29. Bailey eats like my brother in law - Put on loose fitting clothes (preferably those you can part with, or just a bib will do), proceed to fill your mouth with more food than could possibly fit, not giving a second thought to the fall out!

30. Cupcake frosting and her hair are a lethal combination.

31. Abby's finally starting to pull her weight around here as a garbage disposal. It's hilarious watching her circle the high chair at meal time, waiting for the fall out mentioned in #29.

32. She already has an "oh my gosh, my dad is such a goober" face.

1 comment:

  1. You...Travis....are amazing...and melt my heart with your writing! I love it! and love your little family. Jenny...I am so incredibly happy for you I can't even stand it! I will be sending something very soon for Baby Bailey...Question...What are your biggest needs and what size is she in?? <3 Love your little family and thank you for keeping us in the loop of such an amazing adventure!