When your father and I found out that we were pregnant with you, we were overjoyed. We were doing our dream jobs, Naomi was happy and healthy, and we were eager for her to have a sibling close to her age. On the other hand, we did have some worries. We had just gone on half salary, and money was really tight. We wondered if there would be enough money to return us to full salary in the near future. Older adults in our lives worried over us, and whether your dad’s job could sustain a young family of four.
During your pregnancy, things went from bad to worse. Instead of returning to full salary as hoped, your dad was laid off from his job. We reluctantly packed up our apartment, and moved back to Maryland, into your grandparents’ basement. Our pride hit an all-time low. We applied for WIC (for groceries) and Medicaid (for health care). Even with four advanced degrees between the two of us, your father and I found ourselves depending on others for food and shelter. I often forgot that I was pregnant in the madness of moving, looking for work, and raising a toddler.
On top of these other things, predictions about you abounded. The second child (a boy) in my family was a handful…an active child with poor napping habits and a penchant for mischief. The second child in your father’s family (himself) was also famous for his shenanigans. Despite Naomi’s good sleeping habits, healthy appetite, and pleasant nature, everyone seemed convinced that you would be her complete and total opposite. On a warm afternoon in July we saw a little boy swimming inside of me, and we wondered what adventures parenting you would bring.
Yet on a cold and snowy December morning, you entered our lives. It was love at first sight. Of course, who wouldn’t love a baby who came so quickly and easily! When I heard your lusty cry, and held you in my arms for the first time, all my worries evaporated. Like your name Oliver, you brought peace to our lives. You nursed firmly without instruction, and (aside from some nighttime diapering issues) you were sleeping through the night by 2 months.
Today you are 5 months and 5 days old. As I type you are sitting up on the floor next to me, without assistance. You laugh when I make noises, and startle when I say “Boo!” You smack your lips as you suck on your first tooth. Your hair has a distinctive cowlick across the right side of your forehead, and you have a birthmark on the front of your left shoulder. You remind me of a chubby little cherub with your sturdy legs and round blonde head. You kick your feet when you sit up, and stare at everything around you. You don’t chatter as much as Naomi, but you seem to absorb everything that happens.
Despite your obvious affection for me and for Daddy, Naomi is your favorite person. When we go in her room in the morning, your face lights up as you see her. When she eats, you want to sit on my lap, waving your arms and grinning at her. When she cries or screams, you cry or scream too. When she is too rowdy, you shoot us a worried look. She plays “peekaboo” with you and fakes a sneeze to make you laugh. She picks up your toys and hands them to you, and begs to hold you. You’re the first person she asks for every morning, and she is always concerned for your well-being. She always insists that we hold your hand too when we pray before eating.
You are constantly smiling. In fact, it’s already hard to remember a time when you weren’t smiling! Even in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, you grin at me. You have an adorable chuckle, and you are very ticklish. You’ll sleep anywhere, in the middle of all kinds of noise. Now that you can reach for things, you’ll sit on my lap and reach for my food or my keyboard. When I hold you, you gnaw on my fingers or shoulder or jawbone, and when I kiss you, you open your mouth wide. When I lay you down, you roll over immediately, reaching for whatever you can see.
I think that God knew which baby I needed when each of you was born. When we moved to Minnesota, Naomi’s joyful chatter kept me company and her outgoing nature helped me to make new friends. When we moved back to Maryland and our whole world seemed to be crumbling, your peaceful and content personality reminded me to slow down and be thankful for our blessings.
Oliver, thank you for coming into our lives. Although some might say it was bad timing, we have not regretted you for a moment. May you bless others as richly as you have already blessed us.