Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Another August 4th

I remember August 4, 2011 in amazing detail. I have other vivid memories from last summer, but they are moments... not entire days. August 4th is different. I know exactly what I was wearing (my favorite pair of old blue jeans, a gray v-neck t-shirt, my teal Toms, and my silver cross around my neck). I can picture myself sitting on the sofa in my living room, saying goodbye to Maggie, and then laying on the table during the first of several sonograms knowing what the numbers meant but not wanting to believe that my nightmare could really be happening.

From that point on, the day will run through my mind like it's all happening again if I give myself the time to think about it. Exact words I spoke and others spoke to me. Little details like the weight of the blanket on my legs as I rode in a wheelchair to my room. Overarching themes, primarily the depth of the fear, really terror, running through my mind as I came to terms with the situation. I was only 25 weeks pregnant. My baby was so small that my belly was essentially flat (as I would hear more times that I can count in the following days), and he could be born any time. It should have been a day like any other, but in a moment it became one of the most memorable days of my life.

August 4, 2012 will never hold that sort of place in my memories. As days go, it was rather unremarkable. Kevin had to work, so I spent most of the day alone with Tate. We cuddled. He did some of his best daredevil moves while smiling so big his eyes were barely open. We both stayed in our pajamas until lunchtime. All the small stuff I remember from that day last year? Most of it has already faded, and for that I am extremely thankful.

I'd be lying if I said that last August 4th was anything less than life-changing. In the time it took a doctor to speak one sentence, the life I lived before that day ended. The job I'd been planning to return to would be filled by someone else. All the things I'd hoped to do before Tate was here would be cancelled. Relationships I'd built over a period of years would languish during my almost three months of bed rest, and as much as I'd like to say that things went right back to normal once I was free, they didn't. It sounds so overly dramatic, but those two months in room 771 changed everything... and not completely for good.

But you know what? It was all worth it. Everything I missed. Everything I lost. Everything I will never get back. When I look back on those two months, they are filled with bittersweet memories, but I have no regrets. Tate is here. He's happy and healthy, and this August 4th, when all the scary memories came flooding back, I wasn't sad at all.

All I thought was I wouldn't change a thing.

the little guy, August 4, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Year Later

It was a year ago that I sat in that room that would become so familiar at Medical City and started this blog.  That day was full of fear, confusion, the holding back of a lot of tears, and a lot of them coming out anyway.  None of the things I was worried about on August 5th of 2011 are a part of our story on August 5th 2012.  Lots of help, lots of prayers, two months of amazing care, and that worry was gone.  I feel like I tell this story over and over again, but I can’t ever quite tell it right.  I was correct in that everything changed that day, but we are blessed to be able to say that they didn’t change like they seemed they might. 

One year later, I’ve gotten to spend just about every minute the two of us have been awake with Tate.   The relevant statistics now as more like 99 (the percentile of length he’s in).  5 (the number of teeth he’s got). 3 (the number of adventures we took today).  He’ll pull up on anyone or anything that stays in place long enough to let him.  One of his favorite tricks is making faces at people when we are out.  The little guy is more social than A or I have ever been.  He’s sitting here watching these words go onto this page.  He’s amazed for a minute or so, and then he starts back with one of his new favorite games; steal dad’s hat.  He thinks it’s pretty hilarious.  I keep taking breaks from typing to keep him from climbing off the couch, to toss him in the air, to blow on his tummy, and to watch him laugh.  He won’t remember today as anything special, but I definitely will. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Hey guys.  Tate here.  Dad wouldn't get me an account, so I have to use his.  I wanted to tell you guys about my mommy.

From the start, when I was tiny, she was giving me hugs and kisses.... 


Whenever I was sad, she was there to hold my hand...

When I was cold, she kept me warm....

When I was sleepy, she was my bed...

She is pretty impressive. 

Now that I'm getting big, she feeds me these awesome foods she makes.  I think she said this one was called nanas.  I love them. 

I love it when she smiles.  I have a magical power that makes her do it.  I make a cute face and BOOM...she's smiling.  

She takes me fun places....

...and we go in style....

...and she'll even hold my stuff if someone else has me.

She sings my favorite songs.  This one is called the "Itsy Bitsy Spider....." 

pssst....don't tell her, but I love it when she tickles me.  

I don't know where she learned to cuddle, but she's a pro.

She's awesome at playing.  She knows how to stack my blocks and keeps my round guys close and makes the cars spin and can keep my pesky snail singing.  

In case you haven't figure it out yet, my mommy is pretty awesome.  Tomorrow, I'll be six months old.  It's gone by pretty fast.  She'd probably say the same.  I'm always an easy little boy.  You see, we've been on the same sleep schedule for all this time, and I think it's working out pretty well for her.  Whenever I wake up, she's already awake.  I don't know how she does it.  I think she's magic.  

She's never tired.  She's always here to sing to me.  She's plays with me all the time.  She reads me books.  I've had more hugs and kisses than any little guy should be allowed.      

 I'm one lucky fella.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

4 Months

One year ago today, we had just arrived in Paris. We were at the start of our two week trip. We knew Tate was coming, but according to the internet, he was about the size of a poppy seed. He was a week or so away from really starting to make his presence known. By the time we hit London, a week later, A’s stomach definitely started knowing he was there. Today, that poppy seed is a 4 month old, 27 ¼ inch, 15ish pound bucket of drool. Sometimes he’s happy, sometimes he’s screamy, but he ultimately always wins us over with a smile.

Looking back at all that has changed is crazy. We definitely slept more, and it was almost always uninterrupted and in the same room. We went out to eat more, and a quick, nearby exit for an easy escape with an angry baby wasn’t a necessity. The only stains on our clothes were self-induced (which by virtue of my klutziness meant most of the stained clothes were mine), not the result of spit up. Aggie football season tickets weren’t in the cards when renewals came up last week; however we did just purchased a year’s membership to the arboretum. Aside from one quick jaunt down to Houston to hang out with a buddy and see one of my favorite bands, I still haven’t made it further than 20 miles or so from the house. At two weeks short of a year, I’m still extending the longest stretch of time since I’ve been working that I haven’t been on a plane.

Today wasn’t one of the better days of the last 4 months. Tate didn’t sleep much last night, which led to him being pretty fussy today and in the end, an early trip to bed. I got stuck late a work which led to my not getting to hang out with the little guy. He was asleep for the first time by the time I got home. A, the rock star mom, was completely worn out from no sleep and a fussy baby all day. We missed out on our monthly ritual of taking pictures of Tate in the big chair in his room. It will have to wait until tomorrow. I missed out on bath time, which regardless of his mood ends up being lots of laughs and splashes. On a night like this, it’s easy for me to get frustrated. I wanted a better day. This time last night, in my head, today was scheduled to be a better day.

Sitting here on the couch that will be my bed again tonight (as it tends to be on nights when I need to get uninterrupted sleep so I can focus at work…did I mention A is a rock star mom?), given some time to reflect, I’m glad that tomorrow is another day. It’ll be another long day at work, but after that with some luck, we’ll get to take some pictures a day late. I’ll get to sit down next to Tate’s play mat and drag a silly snail across the floor. I’ll get to fill up a plastic fish up with bath water, pour it over Tate’s head and watch him laugh. On the surface, it may sound less fun than a trip to Versailles and Roland Garros as was the plan on March 15th of last year, but I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to it more.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Year in Review

In a normal year, it would be time for me to write a year in review post. I’d look back on the mundane. The post would be about finally getting to see the great Randy Newman in concert and a particularly spectacular night in April seeing the Arcade Fire. I’d no doubt mention my enjoyment of All Eternal’s Deck by the Mountain Goats, the new Tom Waits album, and how much time I’ve spent listening to WU LYF and Cloud Cult. A long part would be about two amazing weeks spent traveling around Europe with my wife. Seeing Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Walking out on Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros. Stonehenge and a mad dash to Jane Austen’s house before some surly English docents closed it up for the night. Les Miserables in London’s west end. Chocolate in Belgium. The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. I’d then move into a particularly fun run of basketball in May and June leading up to seeing my beloved Mavs win their first title. 2011 is sounding like a pretty great year, but that stuff seems like distant memories.

In late February, I knew we had a kid on the way. I didn't know he'd be a little boy we'd call Tate. I knew that the first few months of A’s pregnancy would include some morning sickness. I didn't know that for 8 months and 28 days, we’d be experiencing more than a handful of the most difficult days we ever have, not to mention some of the scariest ones. I didn't know that life would be put on hold for nearly 11 weeks of bedrest split out across the hospital and home. I didn't know that on November 14th, I’d get to see A’s face light up as she held our healthy little boy in her arms after a lot of pain and some final scares from a scary pregnancy. That is the 2011 I'll remember.

In years past, I’ve tended to end up lamenting the lack of good change in these sorts of posts. I’m usually still talking about a lack of discipline and a lack of effort on my part in getting out of my shell. Typically, I’m in no better shape physically, mentally, or spiritually. I might even pull in a Bill Mallonee lyric or two to try explain things more poetically than I can myself. It’s been a pretty solid pattern these last several years. This year has been quite different. Sure it’s had its highs and lows, but this little guy sitting next to me has turned my world around.

I figured that a lot of things about being a dad would be just as I had been told, and these past 7 weeks have proved everyone right. The annoyance of the screaming and crying and diaper changes and lack of sleep would melt away by with a simple look from Tate. Priorities would change. My tendencies towards always being on the go and need for the new would be overtaken by a desire to be there for my son. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’m excited for what this next year holds.