B-B-B-Bird Bird Bird, Bird is the Word

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We just got back from a walk through the neighborhood. We took Izzy out to see the Christmas lights strung up all over houses, yards and trees throughout this part of town… as well as lit up nativity scenes, santas, snowmen and the like. Any lights and decorations that are high enough, he can usually see from his vantage point while we are driving. But a lot of the fun-for-kids stuff tends to be at ground level, and with our high doors in the back seat, it’s difficult for Izzy to see a lot of those decorations, especially because he is so tightly strapped in. So we took advantage of the “balmy” day we had and braved the cold-but-warmer-than-usual temperatures {before they drop to bitter levels again} to walk along all the surrounding streets and witness this kind of Christmas magic up-close-and-personal.

We had a lot of fun. Actually, it was Izzy who had fun. And when he is having fun, we are delighted. So it was a good move, this excursion we took. I thought I would post some of the brighter spots of our lives right now. Our Izzy is definitely one of them… perhaps the brightest. He’s been a blessing and a balm to our pain… a source of laughter and joy. It can be painful too, sometimes, to observe him these days. At times, all I can think is “man, he would have made such a great big brother… to any sibling really, but especially to Anysia. If she had not been as sick as she was and was able to come home and thrive {even with many problems}, he would have been such an awesome, caring brother to her. I can’t think of a better little guy to protect and take care of a special-needs little sister.

Besides that, I just get sad sometimes when I think of him growing up like an only child… even though I know he’ll turn out just fine as such. He was the number one reason we decided to have another. My own desire to have another was a very close second behind that reason.

Anyway, though she is gone and we are all deeply sad, we’re still very much enjoying our little guy. We’re not just enjoying him… he’s also helping us to heal. So many conversations that take place around here have us smiling or beaming… even sniffling a little. And rarely a day goes by that he does not give us something to laugh about. If I remember to, I’ll share a few of those convos here, because I try to make a point of writing them down so that I will always have them.
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But first, back to the house and our neighborhood… We really like our neighborhood. It’s funny to think how little I’ve actually seen of it throughout this last year. The past terribly-nauseous and often-heart-wrenching nine months had me indoors a lot more than I normally would have been otherwise. And during the few months that preceded those, the cold had us cooped up, as did a fair amount of unpacking and settling in. With no second car to get out and about, Izzy and I could be found inside pretty much all the time. Good thing we really like our house too!!

Thinking about the house and neighborhood today, I realized that this day makes exactly one year since we closed on this property. Then three days later {on New Years Eve}, we would officially move in… well, sort of. It was a bit of a disaster, actually… one I wrote about it in this post on my old blog. So, today being the one-year anniversary of officially owning our house, I thought it would be a good reason to write again here… even though I hadn’t planned on it.

Remembering that today is the anniversary made me realize that I picked a good day to start writing my Christmas/New Years letter that will be sent along with our holiday cards. Having closed on December 28th in 2012, it was a good way to start out the newsletter, which will be a recap of 2013. I’ve shared the opening paragraphs of that letter here…

It was on this day, one year ago, that we closed on our new house. We so looked forward to a new life in a new place, raising our one son with no expectations or plans of having anymore kiddos. In fact, the first time we pulled up to the house {in November of 2012} for a viewing with our realtor, I saw four painted cardinals made out of wood attached to the garage door, and I excitedly teased Brac and said that this house was meant to be and that the cardinals meant we’d be having another child if we were to buy it… or at least that we would be getting a puppy to complete our family. {side note: Cardinals have always been a special bird, in the way that they have come to be sort of a symbol to me of God’s goodness as well as sort of a promise that He is watching over us.} So… one cardinal for each of us. Dad, Mom, Isaac and one more… a baby-to-come {or a new dog}. We got out of the car and approached the walkway that led to the front door. Upon a closer look at those cardinals, I could see that one was missing a leg as if it had broken off. So then, in jest, I said something silly and even a bit eery in retrospect. I said something to the effect of, ‘If we have another kid or get a dog, though, there will be something wrong… like a leg missing or something,’ while pointing to the cardinal whose leg was missing.

We then entered the house and toured it, and I realized {in addition to how much I immediately fell in love with the house and how much potential it had} that it would, in fact, be the perfect size home for a small family of four. But of course, I was still in content-with-one mode, and the subject of another child would not come up until the following Spring.”

I won’t share any more of the letter beyond that… because this post is already a long one. But I will write about something here that won’t even be in the letter.

I knew almost instantly that I had become pregnant when we tried that day in April… like the very next day. I could just feel a major change going on in me, and I was certain that by the time I would be far enough along to take a pregnancy test, it would show a positive reading. Maybe when you get to be my age, it’s just more obvious early on and you are more acutely aware of changes in hormones and such??? I don’t know. But I remember not being able to wait until I could finally take a test to confirm what I knew in my heart was true.

When that day finally came, I dug deep into our bathroom closet to see if there was a test hiding at the back of one of the shelves. After finding one, I waited to take it until both my boys were in bed asleep. Earlier that evening, during Izzy’s bath-time, Mr. B. had been doing his usual after-dinner entertainment for him. I have no idea where it even came from, but he broke out into some sort of weird chicken dance {picture arms flapping like a chicken and the kookiest strut you ever did see}, and he started singing this crazy song…

B-B-B-Bird bird bird, bird is the word.
B-B-B-Bird bird bird, bird is the word.

I still, to this day, have no idea if he got that little ditty somewhere else or if he made it up right there on the spot. But I wish I had video of it, because he was using the silliest voice that was sure to make any child of any age laugh, and Izzy was no exception. He just kept repeating it over and over, as he impersonated {or is it imchickenated?} a chicken, leaving Izzy in stitches… laughing harder, I think, than I had ever seen him laugh, and for longer than I had ever witnessed. He wasn’t the only one laughing. I was pretty much doubled over, too. You kind of had to be there. But trust me, it was hilarious.

Right then, I knew that if my pregnancy test would happen to show a plus sign, I’d definitely include something about his little gig when I announced the news to him… I thought including it would be a perfect way to tell him we were pregnant as, then and there, I saw him as the perfect father to little ones… too gifted at that kind of thing {creating laughter} to shower it on just one child. I thought, “Surely, we need more than one kiddo enjoying such a fun and funny dad!”

I knew I’d never want to forget that precious story… part of why I’m writing it here, too. But I also didn’t want him to forget. I wanted him to remember exactly what he did so that he could re-enact it some day for the next little one who I just knew was already growing in me… to make him or her laugh some day, too… the same way he had just made Izzy laugh that night.

So that is how I announced the pregnancy to Mr. B. the next day… by telling him how much I adored watching him entertain Izzy the night before… also, how I wanted him to remember his Bird-is-the Word number so he could perform it again for our next little one on the way. I wrote it out on a card and folded the card in half, placing it like a tent over the pregnancy test that showed “+” so as to hide it. I had the card and test sitting on the coffee table in the living room, waiting there by the couch for him the next morning, knowing he would sit there as he does every day… drinking coffee and watching the news before work while Izzy and I are still asleep.

I saved that little card, because I thought it would be a special keepsake to have. Now, it just makes me cry. But I’m still glad I kept it.

Anyway, back to the cardinals on our garage. I’m not one to put too much stock into things like what I mentioned about them above. But isn’t it a little bit eery and almost ominous? It might have even influenced me enough to the point that, when I first found out I was pregnant, I honestly had this faint sinking feeling that something was wrong or would be wrong with our baby. Even with such feeling as that, though, never in a million years would I have guessed it could be as devastating of a something-wrong as it turned out to be. Maybe {??} it was God’s own way of slightly preparing my heart for what was to come. I don’t know.

I try not to think about those things, and instead focus on what a gift her life was… and thus, what a gift the pregnancy turned out to be as well. Mr. B. and I used to say {in those most horrible months after receiving a diagnosis and during the most despairing points of our initial grief over what was to come} that we would have changed our answer when we asked ourselves the question, should we have another?, if only we had had a “crystal-ball view” into the future and could see what would be coming. We were just so unprepared and feeling like the rug of life was swept out from under our feet in those days. But after having met her, loved her and cherished her short life, now I’d keep my answer the same and wouldn’t dream of changing it.

These are year-old photos of Izzy from last winter… the winter that would be his last season as an only child. Though not current, I found them fitting to use for what I wanted to write in my “diary” today. There were several more photos from our little outdoors snow day last winter, which I had posted on the old blog back when they were taken… shortly before pregnancy took me away from the blogging scene. I treasure all those pictures and am so glad that, among them, I captured our family of cardinals in a photograph too. I’m not 100% sure, but I’m almost certain this one photo {above} is the only image I have of our garage while the cardinals were still attached. How glad I am to have it.

Anysia may not be with us anymore. But she is still one fourth of this family of four. She is what makes this family four. And so I cherish the image and memory of the day that I half-jokingly and half-seriously envisioned growing our family by one more as we started a new life in a new house that is just the right size for a family of four.
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