Dear Baby [second edition]

I’ve been thinking about you.

We get to meet you in just a few weeks now. We are so excited. It’s certainly an interesting time for you to come into this world. But before I get into that…

Your Dad and I prayed and prayed for you but we were, once again, caught off guard and surprised when you actually came to be.

We first got to see you when you were smaller than a grain of rice. Then again when you were 7 weeks old, the size of a blueberry:

We were completely delighted but cautiously optimistic. With each fragile week, we thanked God for you and prayed we’d be meeting you come June.

Fast-forward to March and there you were on a screen, yawning:

You’re so cute already!

Now for a few things about life here in our corner of the earth…

First things first: You have a brother! Your brother is Everest Judah and he’s one of the most interesting three-year-olds I know. He doesn’t stop talking, at least when he’s with your Dad and I. He’s certainly an extrovert as of now. He really likes people. He makes sure to say “HI NEIGHBOUR!!” at an unparalleled volume when he sees one of our neighbours out in their yard. He doesn’t stop there. He proceeds to tell them what he’s doing or what he’s about to do or asks them what it is they are doing. On one hand, your Bro makes your Dad and I laugh continuously and I genuinely miss him when I’m not around him. On the other, he makes us give each other the wide-eyed, silent look of “…is it bedtime yet?” He’s a joy to us and a good challenge as I’m sure you will be as well, in your own way.

Your brother’s current ambitions in life are to have a pet porcupine, climb as high as he can in the trees in our yard, and be a “builder guy” when he gets big. I imagined you’d be closer in age to him but as time goes on, I’m sure this little gap is going to be just perfect. I’ve been praying for Everest as I pray for you, knowing it’ll be quite an adjustment for him. He’s had your Dad and I to himself for some time now and he thoroughly enjoys his “Mommy-Dad days.” He asked the other day, “Will baby love me?” I told him most certainly. He definitely loves the thought of you right now. On a daily basis, he says “I can’t wait see Baby.” I’m looking forward to you meeting him.

Your Dad and I have found being parents both beautiful and difficult. But dear Baby, you have a phenomenal Dad who I love partnering with in this parenting thing. In Everest’s Dear Baby letter, I wrote about your Dad and those things still stand true. But back then, I was just assuming when it came to his abilities as a Dad. What’s cool about your arrival is that you get a more experienced Dad now.

Your Dad really loves you already. But what’s beautiful about his love is that it’s not just shown in words. You’ll know that he loves you because of his intentional ways to get to know you. Your Dad will know you – know what you like, what you don’t like, know when your nap-times are, know your routines, what consequences work best for your personality, and what songs you enjoy most at bedtime. Your Dad also pays the high price of presence. He makes sure to be home as much as he possibly can and, if he’s working late, even asks me to keep your brother up a little longer so he can see Everest before he goes to bed. You won’t realize how deeply precious this is until you’re older. But Baby this is not common and you simply have a piece of heaven on earth when it comes to your Dad. I respect, love and think so highly of your Father. I can.not.wait. for you to be loved by him on the outside. You’ll be loved well and you will absolutely adore him just like your Brother and I do. And he will adore you.

And your Mom? Well, it’s been a peculiar year for me. Leading up to and for most of your pregnancy I did some intricate work on the inside. When I think of this past year, I think of this verse:

…take on an entirely new way of life – a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

Ephesians 4:24

I mention this part of my journey because, Dear Baby, I want you and your brother and those around me to feel the freedom that comes with the reality that we all have things to work through, work on, heal from, process and be free of. There are things in life that just take a little more time and tending to. When I talk about taking some time to work on the inside stuff, I’m talking about counselling and it’s oh, so beautiful. I’m so thankful you will grow up in a family (and a church) that does not see intentionally working on the inside stuff as taboo, embarrassing or as something one does because they are messed up or broken in some worse way than someone else. The thing is, we’re all a little broken in some way and it’s Jesus who will heal and realign all of those places in your heart that need realigning. So for me? Ending a year of counselling and intentionally giving myself to a process of letting Jesus show himself more to me, I closed the year out with one major take away: for the first time in my life…I feel comfortable in my own skin. You have a Mama who is far more comfortable in her own skin. And it feels really, really good. So, from the things that I learned about myself and about Jesus this past year and the tools that I now have, I look forward to parenting you with this new freedom and ease I have inside.

Now, wiggly Baby inside of me, I mentioned him above but I wanted to spend a little more time…

Jesus.

Your Dad and I will try and do our best at introducing him to you the most real, healthy way we know. But for now–some things about him I really like? Jesus is a Comforter who is comfortable with our pain. He’s is a healer who doesn’t just wave a wand and heal us. Rather, he’s someone who holds us while we heal. He’s in the process, in the waiting around, in the everyday, in the boring and in the fun. He is fun and funny and not in the least a kill-joy. With Jesus, there’s room for error and questions. So go ahead and ask your questions. There’s room to fumble and figure things out. So go step out and try things. It’s kind of like watching your big bro make orange juice. Slightly painful and funny to watch, as I’m sure it is for Jesus when he watches me do things. But when Everest is finished and has a pitcher of OJ, although somewhat diluted from forgetting how many cans of water to put in, he’s proud. And I’m proud too. Jesus is a bit like that with us. And yet so much more. “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” is certainly true, John. [John 21:25]

Dear Baby, you will be arriving during an uncanny time in the history of the world. How can I write to you without writing about this pandemic? If you want to read about the heavy and light we all feel, to some extent, you should read your Aunt Cheryl’s post. It’s a beautiful look into of the dichotomy we all are experiencing during this crazy time.

Because I stay home with your Brother right now and because I am generally pretty content to be at home, being “quarantined” didn’t bother me too much…at first. It’s gotten much harder for your Mama as time passes. We’re getting into some warmer weather and I would love to go to a park and meet up with other people and take your Brother to the children’s museum in Potsdam, NY before you come, like I had planned. But lo and behold, we’re home a lot more and, let’s just say, I’ve had to get creative.

And there are real unknowns around what it will be like when you arrive. These unknowns have brought me to tears a few times. I hear we have to wear masks and your Daddy can’t leave the room once he’s there. That’s not too big of a deal to us. But as of now, the hospitals say no visitors and that’s really sad to your Dad and I. We would love to have the classic “older sibling comes to the hospital to meet new sibling” moment. Your Nana may not be able to come and be with your brother when you’re born because of the border shutdown. That’s hard to swallow. And we loved having the room flooded each day with family and friends to meet your Brother and we’d love the same for you. I guess it’ll just be a quieter welcome into the world for you. That’s not all bad, I suppose. There are certainly losses and disappointments people are facing during this pandemic that are devastating. It’s really quite a moment in our history.

But I’ve realized something interesting during all of this. Most of the inconveniences that your Dad and I are facing during this pandemic only show privilege. We can’t go swimming at our local indoor pool with our 6-month swim pass we purchased with disposable money. The multiple parks we enjoy are all closed. The library where I take your brother to once a week is also closed. We can’t go to church right now, as much as your brother asks to go. The church where your Dad works and we go to every week with no fear for our lives because of what we believe. We’re missing family and birthday celebrations and skipping Sunday dinners because it’s just safer to do our part and stay home, as much as possible. We’re privileged to have so much family we adore and want to be with, on both sides.

Yes, you will be born into utter privilege. Privileged and wealthy in so many more ways than one is what we are as the Brink family and we want to raise you up humbly knowing that and continuously using it for others.

Dear Baby, you don’t know this but you’re sandwiched in between two other babies that will be born soon. Two baby boys of friends we have loved sharing this process with. You’ll have instant buddies! You’re the mystery baby, with parents who like to keep all things a surprise. Maybe you’ll be part of the boy club this year or maybe you’ll be the little gal in the middle. Regardless, we’re ready with a boy name and a girl name and we can hardly wait to see which one we’ll make use of.

I got to see you this week for one last time before you come. Your face was all squished and chubby looking and you didn’t seem impressed with being poked by the ultrasound tech, moving and twisting in the opposite direction of where she was aiming. Although just an estimate, you are looking big like your brother. I just laughed when she told me you’re already estimating in at 8lbs. I had to laugh or else I would have cried. Because you see, I would really prefer you to come the normal way. I know there’s no medal and no one cares either way but it would be surgery #7 since moving to Canada and Baby, your Mama just doesn’t want to have yet another one. It makes me scared and slightly sick to my stomach to think about being in the OR again. To be able to walk around after, sit on the toilet on my own and pick you up on my own that first week would be glorious. To have an easier, quicker recovery would be amazing. Who wouldn’t want that? But while processing the implications of your beautiful chubbiness and how a natural birth could very well not be a possibility as much as we will try, I come back to the basics: healthy baby, healthy mom. Those are the two most important things. And even more than that?

We get to have another.

I get to have two.

I get to have YOU.

I had a feeling it would eventually happen–having another baby– at some point. But your Dad and I did have the very real conversation of “even if it doesn’t happen…life is very GOOD.” This conversation only happens when it hasn’t been an easy road. But thinking about you and your brother I am taken back at how blessed we are. We get to have two children. We get to have you.

With all that said, regardless of how you come, God’s been so generous to us. Beyond anything I could have asked for. And in such perfect timing. You coming during a pandemic makes me feel like we’re some of the lucky ones. We get something so joyful during all of this. We get you. And while almost everything is being cancelled, your arrival won’t be delayed.

So as we wait these next few weeks, stay cozy. We’re almost ready for you out here. Just a few bags to back and things to get now. With each week, we can’t believe we’ve gotten this far. We can’t believe we’ve been this blessed. We can’t believe we get to be a family of four. We can’t believe we get you.

We’ll see you soon, little Baby.

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