I am writing this letter on your last day as an only child. I doubt you will ever remember a time when you were our one and only little girl. Tomorrow we are going to the hospital to meet your little sister Karis. I pray you will both be best friends and love each other dearly.
Don’t forget you are still my little girl. I know tonight you can sense something is about to change because you didn’t want to go to bed. You’re sleeping in a toddler bed of your own. We call it your ‘big girl bed.’ You are such a big girl and so very smart. You figured out how to get in and out of it so quickly. Tonight you wanted daddy to hold you for a while.
Your favorite night-night ritual is our finger kiss. It is, quite possibly, the sweetest thing you do. After we put you in bed and say our prayers you hold out your little finger and point up at me…waiting for me to do the same. When our fingertips touch, you giggle and then go to sleep. Your little laugh warms my heart in a way I never thought possible.
Tonight we played and played…I don’t know if you know you are about to have to share your parents. I am praying God gives me the wisdom to be a good daddy to both you and Karis. I am planning to try to give you as much attention as possible. Your mommy and I both don’t want you to feel left out. I don’t think you will be. I think you will want to help take care of your baby sister. You already do such a great job taking care of your dolls, making sure they are all tucked in before they go ‘night-night.’
Here’s hoping and praying we all have a great day tomorrow and are able to welcome your little sister…into our family.
I am so blessed to have family. Not just my family, but a new family that became mine when I met my wife. I was also blessed to have time to spend with not just one family this Christmas, but both sides. It meant a lot of traveling and since I am paranoid about crime after doing a story about social media and crime I did not tweet for most of the week before and week of Christmas. Don’t worry I saved my more poignant thoughts.
- “Traveling with the baby for the first time ever. This should be easy” (before leaving the house)
- “Traveling with the baby is insane” (after packing the car with the entire nursery)
- “Dallas would be more fun if traffic during the day was as smooth as traffic at night.
- “Never staying anywhere but Comfort Suites again.”
- “Coke + MiniFridge Freezer = Morning Mess”
- “Best Christmas present ever: Father-in-law just told me he would stay up with the baby”
- “Hmmm…everyone wants to hold the baby, but no one wants to change her.”
- “New Rule: If you’re holding the baby, you’re changing the baby. No free cuteness”
- “Had to re-learn how to play the piano…thank goodness for the metronome app.”
- (In car) “Baby and dog both just farted”
- “Baby is only talking to my Grandma and for some reason Grandma can hear the baby and not me when I talk”
- “Price for my mom babysitting a week…letting her show off baby Selah to her entire church. #totallyworthit”
- “Old ladies who think they’re whispering in church aren’t really whispering.”
- “Home again. Already miss family, but glad to be back in my own bed.”
Among the more troubling revelations I learned at home this Christmas…apparently the woman who my parents let babysit me on occasion kept a snake in her house to eat the mice. And apparently there was more than one snake. Very disturbed. Random thought, but I can’t let it go.
Back to the real purpose of this post. As I listen to the song, it asks how do you measure time? Perhaps its the song, or the slight chill in the air that reminds me it’s fall and I’m literally transitioning to a new season or perhaps it’s the little girl sleeping in front of me that makes me realize I am entering a new season of love myself.
We all go through seasons of love and would imagine, most of them are very similar. Sure the circumstances are different, but like every Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter our seasons of love are essentially the same.
Life begins as we are totally dependant on others for our survival. The love of a child for their parents is so simple, yet so deep. It’s this dependence on others that helps with the bond between parents and children. This season of love is so subtle that I don’t think any of us realize when we leave it to transition into a new season.
As we grow older, love becomes focused on self. It may take different forms, but let’s face it, as we grow more independent in our teen and young adult years we grow to love ourselves. There’s nothing inherently wrong with self love. I think it’s vital to our growth as individuals. Even at times when I’ve hated myself or my life I still was exhibiting self love. It was about me and I did little to care, really care, about anyone else.
I think the first time I really noticed a season change in my life was when I met my wife. I thought I was doing just fine on my own. Though I will be the first to admit there was something missing. I filled that hole with work and friends and just assumed that was how my life would progress. Then I met Keiana and my world changed. It was as noticeable as the first snowflakes of winter. A beautiful blanket covering up the gloom that comes in late fall. The gloom that no one wants to talk about because we only want to talk about the beauty of the leaves changing and the crisp, cool air. However when the air changes from crisp to just cold, and the leaves have all fallen and the trees are bare there is a need for something to change. That’s when God sends in winter.
I think Winter gets a bad rap. It’s cold, but that just means we need a fire to move close to and hot cocoa to drink. It is a time when we need others more than ever. In my mind, this is the next season of love. I remember the first time I made a major career decision on the basis of ‘we’ instead of ‘me.’ The realization that there is someone else instead of of just self can be shocking. Instead of running from the unknown, I embraced the new season. That embrace was the warmth that protected me from the cold I didn’t know existed. I was walking through a season of life that was growing cold and lonely, but I had ignored the signs that Fall had lost it’s beauty. That’s when I found a world of new beauty in my wife. It was now us against the world…standing together. Two independent people who found strength leaning in, ever so slightly, growing together.
Now the seasons are changing again. This season, is an awakening. Love. Pure love springing from me like the green grass appears from the frost-bitten earth. This little girl brought in the spring of our lives. Children are the rebirth of love. It’s not that love ever left, it’s just God decided we did not have enough love in our lives. We don’t need flowers either. The landscape looks perfect and complete, but when the first daffodils bloom or the spring tulips spread their petals we realize what was missing from the picture.
I don’t know what the next season of love is. At this point I don’t really care. I’m still trying to figure out this new life change. It’s scary, exciting and puzzling all at the same time. Bring it on.
Someday I hope you’ll read this. I’m sure we’ll have told you most of the stories about your early days, even those before you were born, so many times you will be tired of hearing them. Just in case I wanted to let you know from long before you were born, you were so loved by your mommy and me.
I hope you like your name…we put a lot of thought into choosing it. Your mother wanted a far different name, but that’s because she didn’t grow up in a place where people named cows and didn’t realize it would have been inappropriate. Don’t tell her I told you that.
We went back and forth on names. We knew we wanted something from the Bible and something that had a good meaning. I didn’t want you looking up your name someday and being disappointed. I remember the night we were going through names and I was just reading through a list of names and each of us said ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or just remained indifferent. Then I read “Selah,” and we both paused. A quite appropriate pause because the word means ‘to pause and reflect.’ It was the first name that we both agreed on that wasn’t too popular and sounded as beautiful as we knew you were going to be.
I hope no one is giving you a hard time about how to pronounce the name. We did our research before settling on pronouncing Selah as, SAY-luh. We actually found a website that had native speakers, (your name is Hebrew) and the pronunciation there was very close to SAY-luh, the only different is the accent. We weren’t going to make you go around having to change your accent every time you said your name, so we went with the Americanized version of the pronunciation. I hope you are the only Selah in your class.
As I write this, you are still weeks away from arrival, or you are supposed to be weeks away, and we are still getting ready for your appearance. The room is painted and the crib is put together. I hope you like your ceiling…it took me forever to refinish it. Just know that everything we do is because we love you.
See you soon.
We are less than 24 hours from finding out the sex of our baby. I am nervous, excited and some other emotions I am not really sure what you would call them.
Finally this will no longer be the baby…this child will be our son or daughter. It makes it all much more real. Not that it is not real, but the kid isn’t growing inside me…it is so hard to fully comprehend what is happening.
I know the science, the reality of it all, I just don’t understand the feelings that are rushing around. I spent much of my life supressing or ignoring feelings and now I am experiencing so many at once. I can only imagine what my beautiful wife is experiencing. All I know is I can’t wait to be able to welcome this new life into the world.
P.S. If anyone is taking bets on the sex of the baby…I get a cut, this kid is going to cost a fortune.
Today was our second doctor’s appointment for the baby. It is still a little surreal for me. I know I am a guy and it is OK to not feel the same level of attachment as Keiana does, but still part of me feels worried that I am not baby crazy.
I have always been a bit of a worrier and tend to keep things bottled up inside. So this visit was so important because it meant we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat. I have known so many people who have had miscarriages and I don’t know why I think those situations will happen to us because it is more likely everything will be just fine.
It has always been my motto to plan and prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. Somewhere along the line I stopped focusing on hope. I have seen so much tragedy, so much pain that hoping for the best is often a luxury I don’t see a lot of people enjoy. I love my job, but meeting people on the worst day of their lives and talking them into sharing in a very public manner sometimes gets to me. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen some very postive things come out of people sharing their pain, but being there…face-to-face with the pain can wear you out.
With all the thoughts of what could go wrong rushing through my mind, I walked into the doctor’s office holding Keiana’s hand. I know she’s been nervous and only wanted to hear the baby’s heart, but all along I have been saying everything was OK and there was nothing to worry about. But there I was, on the edge of the chair, waiting. Waiting to hear sounds of a little life. At first there was nothing…my heart was racing. The nurse was telling us when the baby is this small it can be hard to find them. It only took a minute, but it felt like forever. It felt like my heart skipped a beat when finally….thump, thump, thump. The rapid beat of a baby’s heart.
It was there and, for now, everything is OK. I said a prayer right there in the doctor’s office. A prayer of thanks. A prayer of thanksgiving. A prayer of relief. Don’t tell Keiana, but I teared up a little. While I can not be as connected as mommy is to the life growing inside her, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride and joy. That is my child. That is our baby.
I am sure I am going through the same emotions as every other soon-to-be father, but it is all so overwhelming. Such an incredible experience. It is like nine months of going up the hill of the roller coaster of parenthood.
In other news…if anyone is reading this and wants to get us a baby gift, the baby told me today it would like a new bar-b-que grill. I know weird kid, but it is our first so we should probably get it what it wants.
Well…a couple of firsts with this post: 1) my first baby post and 2) my first post written using the WordPress app for my Droid phone. I am not sure how I feel about composing a long post on my phone’s keyboard, but I can post from bed, so I guess it is a win.
So, according to another app on my phone, today is the first day of Keiana’s second trimester. It doesn’t feel like any time has gone by. Really it seems like just the other day we found out and then told everyone. There have been some changes, but for the most part many of them have not happened to me. As a consequence I am still a little disconnected from everything. As I have read, it is not uncommon for dads to not feel truly attached until they can hold a newborn baby. I read in one book that at this point the baby is just another item on a checklist. While it is more than that to me, I am focused on getting things ready.
To that end the most important thing I have done these past three months is pray. I have prayed for my beautiful wife’s health and safety. Little things that I never paid much attention to before are demanding my full attention. I have started paying attention to every recall announcement.
My other prayer is for myself. I pray that God prepares me to be a father. However, I don’t want to just be a father, I want to be a dad. I want to be daddy. to be honest, the thought kind of freaks me out. To date, there have been many times when I’ve been presented with two choices and chose the wrong one. To date, those choices have only affected me. Soon those choices will affect a little one’s life. More than ever my prayer is that I listen for and follow the direction God is leading me.
I have started reading books that prepare men for pregnancy. My favorite, (and the only one I’ve purchased so far), is “Dad’s Pregnant Too.” It is full of helpful information, but I don’t think any book can prepare you to be a parent. I did an interview recently with a sociologist who pointed out that “there are a lot of people who have children, but not a lot of parents.” That is so true and I just hope and pray I am ready for what is coming our way.
Of course, perhaps my prayers for the wisdom of Solomon have already been answered. While I have made many mistakes in my life, each one has shaped me into the man I am today. Each turn brought me to Keiana, the absolute love of my life. I am certain I will continue to make mistakes, but with Keiana by my side I know I can accomplish anything. I am so thankful to have a wife who loves me more than any wife has ever loved her husband. I know I don’t deserve her, but I suppose that is the perfect example of God’s grace and mercy. He has given me so much that I don’t deserve. Now I just pray I will be able to be the husband and father God wants me to be.
More to come…this baby is just beginning, and apparently I don’t mind typing long posts on this phone.
The Haley family are quite possibly the most amazing people I have ever met. They have an unshakable faith and have survived an unthinkable tragedy. I would say almost anyone who watches news anywhere around the country heard about what happened to their son. The story of two police officers in Noble accidentally shooting and killing Austin Haley made headlines around the country. Yes it was an accident, but a judge agreed that there was gross negligence involved when they chose to pull a gun and shoot at a snake stuck in a birdhouse. I can’t imagine the horror they live with knowing that stray bullet hit and killed a little boy.
From the time we first met the Haley’s they were very open and honest about their emotions and what they were going through. Sometimes I hate the part of my job that requires us to seek out grieving families and ask them to talk about the worst day of their lives. But every time I talked with Jack or Renee Haley I left feeling emotionally uplifted. It’s something about the grace they carried themselves with that was absolutely inspiring. During the trial, plea hearings and sentencing I admired how they were able to sit in a courtroom face-to-face with the men who killed their son. Accident or not, I don’t know if I could have done that. Yet even with their grief, they were able to forgive the men who took their son away from them.
Nine months after Austin’s death, it was my honor to report on the next chapter in their lives…the birth of a new baby boy. While no new child could ever replace Austin, the circumstance around the new child’s birth are extraordinary. How the night before Austin died he prayed for his mother to have another child, and he prayed that he would be the one to pick out that child. Add to that the memories of Austin’s brother who saw him get shot and can describe in detail what happened next. I am a man of faith, but I don’t know how anyone can hear him describe seeing Austin go up to Heaven without getting goosebumps. The faith of a child is a remarkable thing.
The Haley family reminds me there is still good in the world.