jude is feeling better. though she is still a little fussier than normal, the stretches of squealy, happy baby are growing longer and longer. hallelujah. we spent most of our day snuggled up nursing, or giggling together. her belly laughs are few and far between so far. we’ve decided that it’s not because she hasn’t developmentally arrived at laughter; she simply doesn’t find us all that funny. i hit the motherlode yesterday, however, with a cunning 1-2 tickle of raspberries on the belly while simultaneously tickling her armpits. out came the belly laugh, a huh-huh-huh that sounds not unlike the cowardly lion.
making my daughter laugh is the ultimate self-esteem builder.
as the warm autumn sun lazily dipped for the day, h & i took the baby out for a walk in the stroller. she hadn’t been out in the fresh air for nearly a week, and neither had we, honestly. we brought a few dried out carrots from the crisper, and headed down the long country road toward the goat at the end of the street. his name is joey. he lives in a fenced in family cemetery on the property of a huge old plantation house. he wears a john deere collar. we feed him carrots.
only, he wasn’t in his “pen” last night. we gave the carrots instead to a man named junior, who was feeding his cows.
i blinked back a lot of tears during our walk. h & i strode slowly down the road, with jude immediately asleep in her stroller. we talked to each other in a decompressing way. hard words came from both our mouths, but with respect and a whole lot of love. we talked of how fragile everything is, that without proper care, even the strongest of relationships can come apart at the seams. it was a reality check for us: we are the couple that usually coasts easily along in confidence that we will continue to be okay. things are a different kind of difficult now, and maintaining the health of our family is taking emotional resources we’ve never had to use before. it’s a steep learning curve, and we’re both so tired.
but we plodded along, moving forward down the road and through the ache of hard conversation. and we arrived home a little wrung out, but with a bolstered sense of commitment to each other.
the rest of the evening felt like clouds to me. jude was remarkably happy, jumping and squawking and flapping her arms. she and h took a long, happy bath together, before we all tumbled into bed for the final chapter of the first harry potter book. (we began reading the whole series after finishing narnia.) j slept in her own bed all night, only waking up once for a meal. this fact is a vast improvement over the past week of hourly wakings and her demand to sleep attached to a person.
a hopeful perspective is hardwon for our family right now, but we’re doing the best we can, and this morning, i am proud of us. and my hope is spilling over to tomorrow, when i hope that barack obama will win the election.
and so i leave you with the campaign sign that should have been: