Friday, May 10, 2013

How Mom Became a Nurse

This sunrise is from our 2012 cruise. Momma was pregnant.

Dear Spencer,

I’m writing this at 5:30am on a Friday morning.  I’m at the kitchen table drinking coffee and eating Greek Yogurt.  I’m watching the sun trying to come up.  It’s cloudy but not a whisper of wind.  The birds are making a ruckus outside the window.  Everyone in the house is still sleeping.  I’ve always loved the sounds and feel of being up at this time of the morning, when most of the world around you still sleeps.  There is a small timeless sliver of space just before sunrise that is neither past nor future, a space that exists without baggage or expectations, purely present and ephemeral.  I remember once on vacation at the beach, when I’d slept in well past this time, your uncle Danny said something that has stuck with me over the years.  He said “you only get so many sunrises on this earth.  A man ought to get up and see a few of them.”  And so I pass this advice on to you son.  Get up and watch the sunrise whenever you get the chance.  This time was made for drinking coffee and watching the clouds.

I taught you to stick your tongue out.
You had a big day yesterday.  It’s not out of the ordinary for you to be awake by 6:00am.  Last night we attended Momma’s Pinning Ceremony at Fairmont State University where she officially became a Nursing School Graduate.  This isn’t her first degree from Fairmont State, but I wasn’t around for the last one.  The nursing school journey began several years before you were born. Last night was the culmination of years of hard work, sacrifice and no small amount of tears.  Through all the ups and downs, the stops and starts, your mother has persevered.  She has put in countless hours of study time, worked through the exhaustion of pregnancy and made class schedules work around being a new mother.  She has accepted failures and setbacks with a stoic dignity that has made her family so very proud. 

When you are old enough to truly know your mother she will be a nurse, and it will seem to you that she has always been a nurse.  Pause then to remember there was a time when she wasn’t, a time when she could have easily given up and changed directions, but she did not.  As I write to you this Friday morning I’m surrounded by several vases of flowers.  Orange roses, pink tinted daisies, purple flowers, yellow flowers, I don’t know all their names.   Soon enough their petals will wilt and their color will fade.  But the pride… the pride never fades.  The awesome sense of achievement that comes from struggling to reach a goal is something nobody can ever take from you.  There will be times in your life when it seems like the enormity of the task you’ve taken on will overwhelm you and you will want to quit.   At these times son, pause to remember that your mother was not always a nurse.

P.S. Look for your mother's nursing school pin in your collection case

Love - Dad

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Life, Love and an Evening at the Layne House

Dear Spencer,
  In the evenings we have a pretty good routine working for us these days.  After dinner you and I play.   We juggle wooden blocks and we’re learning to put shapes in the box.  We've worked on this for a few months.  Momma was the first to get you to put a shape in the right hole.  Your favorite is the blue circle and you can get it in the hole about half the time.  We also read books, lots of books.  Your favorite books right now are The Wiggle Waggle Lion (we always make his ears go wiggle waggle, then touch his nose before reading the book), Snuggle Puppy and Am I a Cow?  You also love the Mickey Mouse books.  You’ve recognized the Hot Digity Dog song since you were a few months old and it always makes you smile.  After play time it’s bath time.  Momma has been studying for her nursing finals so I’ve been doing bath time these past few weeks, though sometimes if you’re too tired you need momma with us for bath time too.  Your bath toys are the classic little yellow rubber ducky, and two Thomas the Train squeeze toys, but you prefer to try to stand up and get the big people shampoo.  After bath time we divide and conquer.  I dry your hair and put lotion on you while momma gets a bottle ready and gets you dressed in your PJs.  You have a favorite green blanket that was homemade by one of your mom’s friends in nursing school.  You let us know when you’re sleepy by pulling the blanket out on the floor and laying your head down on it.  Then it’s into daddy’s lap, one or two more books and it’s sleepy nite nite time.  

  Rocking you to sleep is the most peaceful and wonderful times of my day.  It’s then that I put everything else out of my mind and spend a few minutes thanking God for my family and all the blessings in my life.  I watch your little eyes grow heavy, then flutter shut.  I watch your chest rise and fall as your breath evens out and I know you’re settling into sleep.  I ponder the miracle of life and love and am constantly in awe of the power children have to fill us with joy, fear, excitement, anxiety and hope all in the same instant, the same little breath.  Someday son, when you read this, I want you to remember that every moment, every second, every little breath in life is a gift.  Be a man who takes nothing for granted.  Be a man who strives always to see the good in things and in people.  Be a man who cherishes those who cherish you and, most of all son, be a man who loves unconditionally.  Give of yourself, ask nothing in return and you will be rewarded a thousand times over. 

Sleep good son – Daddy.