In an effort to stick to my posting schedule after finishing up some work tonight, I peeked at my drafts folder to see if there was anything that was close to ready. I have 12 posts sitting there, ranging from a list of my favorite Catholic books that doesn’t feel long enough to be worth publishing yet, to a list of spring activities to do in Raleigh (LOL), to an essay I wrote two weeks into quarantine that made Dave say “umm, it’s a little intense…” when I asked for his honest opinion.
So instead, let’s just chat. My favorite way to catch up with friends is grabbing two iced coffees to go and heading out for a walk. Kids strapped into strollers if needed, at home with our husbands preferred. The last time I did exactly this was in January, which feels about a lifetime ago.
If someone had told me back then that this is what our spring/my maternity leave/Charlie’s second semester of school was going to look like, I think I would’ve been sick. Heck, we’re doing it, and if I think about it too much instead of just buckling down and doing it, it makes me a little queasy.
Charlie had his last preschool Zoom circle time this morning and I sat just outside the frame with tears streaming down my face. He loves school. There was not ONE single day when drop-off was difficult for him–on the good days, I burst with pride for his independent and joyful spirit; on the bad days, I wondered if he liked his teachers and friends more than me. Either way, I was…I am…so proud of him. I hate that he missed out on two months of something that made him so happy. I hate that it happened right after Azelie was born and confused him about what was baby sister-related and what was germ-related. I hate that he burst into tears one day because “coronavirus is taking too long.” He asked me about summer camp the other day and I seriously contemplated buying a moonbounce for the backyard, in case it might be the next best thing. I don’t want to wish away the precious gift of summer with him. I also want to get to the part when we all applaud ourselves for making it through this really hard season and trade memories and say “can you believe we did that?”
I call Azelie my sunshine girl. I certainly didn’t expect that her newborn days would look the way they did, but God knew, and He was exceedingly merciful to me. I actually hesitate to admit how wonderful she is because I know how unusual it is. I remember–vividly–what it feels like to have a “hard” baby. I remember the fog, the tears, the frustration, the guilt, the defeat, and the slivers of joy and relief that made it all worth it. But Azelie is just a dream. A REM sleep-induced dream, actually, because baby girl has been sleeping ten-hour stretches for weeks. She rarely cries, frequently smiles, and is just all things glorious about babyhood in one sweet little blue-eyed package. She has been the brightest thing about the Kirk family quarantine and we are all completely head over heels for her.
We’ve spent the last two Saturdays at our favorite park. It’s right down the road from our house and I love the way you can see the Raleigh skyline when you look one way and the dome of our cathedral when you look the other way. The park holds the tree where we did our first look and the field where we took some of our maternity photos when I was pregnant with Charlie. And now, it’s the place where our world is finally beginning to look a little more normal, even though I don’t want to get my hopes up by saying that. A good Saturday to us always consists of packing a picnic and heading to the park, no matter what else is going on in the world. With the sun on my face and my legs stretched out over the grass, I almost forget that there are masks for the whole family in the glove compartment.
I have an SEO plug-in installed that I can see just below where I’m typing. It’s giving me a red sad face for this post’s readability. Apparently, 39.5% of the sentences I’ve typed so far contain more than 20 words, which Google does not approve of. Too bad I love long sentences and I don’t write for Google’s sake anyway.
If we were on a walk, I’d probably be feeling a little exhausted by now, especially if it was a stroller walk day and we had picked a route with hills. But I’d also be feeling refreshed…a little due to the iced coffee I’d be taking the last sips of, but mostly due to the chance to chat. To catch up. To listen. Since writing/reading a blog is about as socially distant as we can get, I hope you’ll share too.
Masks off, guards down.
What’s on your heart lately?
Google doesn’t know what it’s talking about, that was very readable ;) And refreshing! I’m an elopement photographer and while most of my couples will likely still be able to have their wedding in 2020 (because they’re already small and usually in remote outdoor spaces like National Parks!), I still hate the uncertainty of it all. I feel so bad for them that they have to keep adding the caveat “IF we get to do the wedding…” instead of just planning like they dreamed of :( I know people are suffering much more, but it definitely hurts my heart to see this take some of the joy out of this season for them.
Thank you so much, Abbi!
Brides have been on the forefront of my mind these last few months…I can’t imagine how I would be reacting in their shoes, but I think that I honestly would probably be really bitter about it. Extra prayers for your sweet couples! xo
Thank you for sharing!
This whole thing is hard and challenging and yet God is so merciful.
I am a youth group leader and I have two girls who are graduating high school this year. They are not going to get to have prom, a graduation ceremony, they didn’t even know their last day of high school was their last day. It breaks my heart.
May God have mercy on us all and bring us through this to him.
I have been thinking so much about seniors! I remember how big and significant those milestones were for me, and hate that so many teenagers have missed out on them. Prayers for your youth group girls!
Thank you for sharing your heart, Lisa! I know that plug-in well and am all in favor of not putting a limit to the words on my heart, especially for such a post as this. Cheering you on! You’re doing a great job, mama! :)
Thank you so much for your encouragement, Kyla! Heart sharing > SEO :)
I loved your post and thought it was very readable. : )
COVID has taken Match Day, medical school graduation, confirmation in the Catholic Church, and a wedding/honeymoon (and all associated celebrations – showers, bachelorette, etc.) away. The past 12 weeks were supposed to be THE BEST 12 weeks; I’ve been in graduate/medical school for 9 years, and my fiance and I have been together for 10 years. I’ve mostly been okay but, like you, I feel like I might not be if I think about it too much.
Oh Brooke! That is so, so much. I’m so sorry. You deserve to celebrate each and every one of those occasions and milestones in the biggest and best way. I hope and pray that you have the chance to do so VERY soon <3
I loved this post and was inspired to write my own unfiltered “catch up” on my private blog. Thank you for your honesty! I can relate to so much of what you wrote about parenting toddlers during this unique season.
Oh, I love hearing that! Thank you for sharing!
That is SO great about Azelie! I hope your transition back to work is going smoothly! <3
God certainly knew what He was doing when He gave her to us! She makes everything so much sweeter :)
I’ll be there soon enough for lots of baby snuggles and running the bases with Charlie! I was a camp counselor for 4 years…sooo we might have to have Aunt Dana Camp! Love you!
Aunt Dana camp sounds amazing!! Let’s do it! Can’t wait to also snuggle you, teehee :)
Thank you for sharing your heart with us, Lisa! While this pandemic has certainly been hard in many ways (cancelled trips, 10 weeks of working from home (and counting!), mental and emotional challenges etc) it also gave me the gift of sheltering in place with my parents for four weeks. That was a gift I will always be grateful for :-)
What a special time for you and your parents! I am so glad you’re able to be with them. I’m sure they’re so grateful for the time with you too!
This was a beautiful, refreshing read – thank you! I am sitting here with my morning coffee, counting the minutes (about 7 more…) until it’s time to wake up my 2 week old baby girl to eat again. I’ve had many ups and downs the past 2 weeks, and the past 2 months of quarantine anticipating baby’s arrival and the transition to parenthood, but your sweet words about Azelie reminded me what a gift it is that we, too, have been blessed with a sunshine-y, sleepy baby in the midst of this crazy time. Not to mention, throughout my pregnancy and new mom-hood I have turned to your blog posts on motherhood many times, and I am so grateful for everything you have chosen to share about your sweet life and family over the years!
Hope you have another beautiful weekend, picnic and all :)
Katie, thank you so much for taking your precious minutes of naptime to share these kind and encouraging words–they mean so much to me! It certainly is a wild time to have a new baby, but there is also something so special about it. Praying for you! <3