A few days ago, we celebrated your one month birthday! It’s hard to believe that you’ve already been with us for almost 5 weeks. All of time seems to have a different quality since you’ve been born. Hours and days of the week no longer organize our lives. Instead, it’s your little sounds, your naps, your delightful periods of wakefulness, and your basic needs that give structure to our days. Really, “structure” is not the right word. It implies a kind of rigidity and order that don’t really fit here. No, our days are not really structured by you—but, they are given their flow and their pace by you. And so, we happily meander along, soaking up precious times of nursing, shared naps, and gazing with deep joy and love and your waking or sleeping face.
In this time, you’ve been growing and developing at an amazing pace. From your original weight and length of 7 pounds and 19 inches, you’ve gained 3 pounds and 4 inches. You look around much more intentionally than you had in the early days—your favorite things to gaze at are our faces, the jingly orange bird toy, and the sharp contrast between the white walls and dark frames, curtains and wall hangings. And your neck is much stronger and more stable—you don’t feel nearly as fragile as you did as a newborn. Most delightfully, you’ve started to give us little smiles from time to time, especially as you drift off into sleep in our arms. And even with all these changes, you’re still our same wonderful little Grace.
Just in the last week or so, we’ve started venturing out into the vast and expansive realm of “public.” Now that your little body is a little stronger and more resilient, we’ve taken you along on dates, hikes, friends’ houses, and even to the store. As long as we’re close by and you can eat and sleep whenever you want, you don’t seem to mind or notice the change. Of course, everyone around certainly notices you! You have many admirers, my love. The sweetest ones, I think, are the little children. Though they themselves are small and adorable, they gaze and gawk at your tiny hands and feet, exclaiming what a cute baby you are.
I have been so grateful for the kindness that you have brought out of many strangers that we have encountered. My favorite story of this kind is from our first date since you were born. All three of us drove down to quaint riverside town of Occoquan for lunch, and then went to the Workhouse Art Center for the afternoon. You slept most of the way there, but woke up very hungry just as we pulled in to the little town. Your dad rushed to park, and I then raced around the side of the car to unbuckle you and find a place to breastfeed. Thankfully, there was a shady bench not far from our parking space, where I plopped down to feed you. Just as we were getting going, a woman rounded the corner of a shop and started walking towards us with a smile. “We were just admiring your beautiful baby, and then I saw that you were nursing her out here. Would you like to come into our boutique to nurse in a quieter place?” she asked warmly, as though we were old friends. She welcomed us into the bridal shop next door, and ushered us to a sofa in the large dressing room, lined with hundreds of beautiful wedding dresses. There, you nursed quietly and peacefully, while I also drank the cold bottle of water that the woman brought for me. Both shop keepers were moms, too, they explained, and loved being with and nursing their kids when they were little. Ah, I thought, they know the love and joy that I know, too. Maybe it’s no surprise that caring and nurture is still flowing abundantly from them, now to me and my little one.
And so, Grace, it has been quite a month. May God continue to bless you, to draw out the best in others through you, and to grow and strengthen you each and every day.