JackieI can't tell you what a whirlwind of a week this is turning out to be. The most surreal gift...

I can't tell you what a whirlwind of a week this is turning out to be. The most surreal gift has been given to me by my husband. This is typical of the way he works, so you'd think I'd be used to it, but with me being a planner by nature I was kind of thrown for a loop. Granted, I'm not complaining. Let me explain.

Monday he mentions, "I'm thinking about going back to Maryland for a few days to visit my family and I think I'll take Jackson with me and give you a break." My first reaction was, "No, you can't pull him out of school and mess up his routine and you'll forget to brush his teeth and put sunscreen on him and blah blah blah." Then my more practical husband reminded me, "It's preschool Jackie and he'll be fine." It's what he said next that made me realize I must be crazy arguing with him. "Think of all the things you can do while we're gone and all the sleep you'll get." Ahhhhh, the fantasies that ran through my head in that moment were endless.

I was still wrestling with the whole idea because honestly I love my son so much and am so "addicted" in this strange way to waking up and getting to hang out with him, having him snuggle in my lap and hold my hand and take it and rub his cheek and kiss it and say, "I love you mommy" out of nowhere. He's my buddy and not only did I realize that he is "My" routine, he's also the source of much of my social life. Who wants to have a playdate with just the mom?

But my more rational side pushed the sentimentality aside and I made a list of all the things that have been sort of hanging over me that I'd like to get done. I thought of being able to work on those things for hours on end without interruption. The thought is so foreign to me now that it actually made me jump for joy inside. I honestly haven't had that feeling since the week before Jackson was born. I guess as a mom we learn to put those days behind us. That's why I say this is the most surreal gift I could have ever been given. Especially for it to happen while pregnant. Honestly I feel like my husband is a saint right now.

Ok, so moving on to Tuesday. I've now processed this idea, but it isn't a 'reality' yet. Until the afternoon when he calls me and says, "Ok, it's done I booked the tickets, we're leaving tomorrow at 8:45." I felt like crying. All afternoon I was thinking about how sad I'd be to not get to hug him and hold him. Also, those 'few' days turned into a week. A WEEK. I tried to talk him down, but he calculated with two travel days that are wiped out and at least a day of jet lag (although I honestly don't think toddlers get jet lag, at least mine doesn't) that he wanted enough time to make it worth it and to visit his parents, brother and sister who all live about an hour from each other.

I think maybe it's best that my husband works the way he does because I didn't have time to 'stew' over the what if's I just needed to move forward and get him packed and buy all the snacks and little soy milk cartons with straws for the trip. I packed that boy so well with every bit of amunition Neal could need for the plane ride. I put together a zip lock bag full of medicines for every occasion, vitamins, neosporin, toothbrush, toothpaste, bandaids..you name it, I tried to think of what he might need. I know most of it won't be touched. But it's so weird to think I won't be there to handle things.

That's when I realized, this is as much about letting them have a very special bonding 'Dad and son' time as it is a baby step for me in learning to let go. As we drove to the airport my mind actually went to that place where I was looking at him and I could see him at 10 at 16 at 18 and I could imagine driving him to college. I know that sounds so weird, but I honestly realized in that moment that life with children is truly a bunch of baby steps for parents in learning to let them go. Wow. I know, slow down. It makes me so sentimental thinking about it.

Around 1:45 yesterday I got a call that started out, "Hi Mommy." So I knew they had arrived safely. Ironically, my husband said he never touched the snacks or toys I packed. But the laptop he brought with the three DVD's were used to the point that the batteries wore out. Neal said the movies saved him. Jackson sounded so excited and told me, "I'm having fun. I'm going to Poppy and G'ma's house." What's kind of hard for me to get over is the fact that he's having these major life experiences right now and I'm not sharing them with him. Up until this point, except for the few hours that he has been in preschool and the occasional babysitting time, I've shared most everything with him. My husband's response to that was, "Go make your own life experiences." I know, I know and I am.

Last night I went to a prenatal yoga class. The first structured class that wasn't a video I've done this entire pregnancy. Since Neal's work schedule is so unpredictable and he often is home too late I can't rely on doing anything on a weekly basis. Friday night a group of friends had planned a scrapbooking night from five until 11pm. Normally I'd not go or I'd have to get there between seven and eight. But this week I'll be there the entire time...and I'm going to love it.

Big on my list of things I can do is to sleep in. However, dear husband forgot about the time change and actually called me this morning at 6:45. Man. You know how it is when you're a mom, once you're up you're up. At least that's how it is for me. I have a very hard time going back to sleep once I've been woken. Ironically the first thought in my head when the phone woke me was to grab it quick so it wouldn't wake Jackson. Again, I think a lot of habits are going to be hard to break.

On to my 'to do list'. Here's what it looks like...

  • Clean out gift
  • wrapping/holiday closet.
  • Organize kitchen cabinets and pantry.
  • Clean out closet and give old clothes to Goodwill.
  • Paint Jackson's table and chairs.
  • Paint his growth chart.
  • Draw and paint the mural in the baby's room.
  • Print out pictures for scrapbooking.
  • Order years worth of pictures from shutterfly. (I'm still behind. I had made a lot of progress up until the massive morning sickness hit and it came to a screeching halt).
  • Sew curtains for bathroom, pillows for babies room and toille fabric onto towels for my bathroom.

I realize that in a normal week I'd never get all of this done. I probably won't this week, but the fact that this time is so rare I'm tempted to give it my best shot. At my mom's bible study group yesterday a mom kindly reminded me to take time to relax too. I know I should just go to Barnes and Noble and read one day, just because I can. The options feel so endless it's quite a nice feeling which is why I decided to title this jumping for joy!

The other realization I've made this week I'm going to do my best to explain. It's one of those things that is more of a feeling so it's hard for me to put it in words. But I've realized that as a mom I have this constant sense of fullness as though my arms are a permanent hug for my little one. I think because we hold them, hug them, carry them so much that this sense of fullness has just become a part of me. I feel that feeling still, even when he's not with me. I feel that urge to protect and to provide. It has made me realize that once we're moms we truly are forever changed. I'm going to enjoy this break to no end, but I'm also still so connected to my little man even though we're on opposite coasts. I guess this must be what it feels like when they're grown and gone from your home.

Again, I know my mind is wondering way past where it should. But for the first time I'm getting a glimpse at just how strong this bond of motherhood really is. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to have this feeling and to know this kind of love that is so deep it's beyond being able to explain it. To think that those feelings are going to double is hard to imagine, but I know they will and I'm sure I'll feel doubly blessed for having these two little angels in my life.

Before they left I took pictures of Jackson. He so proudly stood there at 6:30 in the morning holding his milk and his blankie, but as soon as that picture was snapped he said, "Ok mommy, it's time to go now, we're going to Maryland." The plane ride itself is the best adventure to him. Add on top of that that he'll be riding on the boat my inlaws just got. My brother in law lives on a real farm with animals and a tractor. For us 'city folks' the country is a real adventure for him. Plus his cousins adore him and the last time he saw them was Christmas. He's so much more mature and able to communicate, I know they'll have a blast.

Ok, I'm going to move onto pregnancy details. This week I finally get to see the new OB. I'm so excited for that and must sit down to write out my long list of questions for her. The other funny thing that I've noticed has happened this pregnancy is my belly button is such an extreme outie that it looks like a giant boob. I knew that it wasn't like this last time, but then my sister mentioned that it wasn't like that last time and when the guy checking me out at the grocery store said, "Wow your belly button sure is out there. Will it go back in?" I knew it must be pretty bad. Honestly I can see is protruding through any of my clothes it's so out of control. My guess is that since it did pop out at the very end of my pregnancy last time, this time it must have a memory and it was like, "boing, here we go." I know from my past experience that it will go back to normal so I'm not freaking out about it, but it's kind of funny to look at.

My friend Stacy and I are planning on painting our bellies like pumpkins for Halloween. I wasn't big enough to do it last time around so I'm kind of excited to have some fun with this. I'm sure she'll use that belly button as a good opportunity for a nose or perhaps a wart or something. :) I'll be sure to take lots of pictures. :)

I'm still feeling lots of movement oh and finally last week Neal got to feel the baby too. Every time I'd have him feel she'd quiet down, but one morning I felt her moving so strongly I could see it through my shirt so I had him put his hand on my tummy. It made him happy to feel her and he immediately started talking to her. I'm not sure if I mentioned this already, but when Jackson was born he was crying as most newborns do. But when Neal started talking to him he stopped instantly and his eyes moved back and forth between me and Neal. I said, "he recognizes your voice" and in that moment my big strong husband totally started crying. I know he remembers how bonding that was for him and I know he believes that baby Ava truly can hear him. It's so amazing and neat to think about how we're familiar to them when they're born, even the Dads.

Also this week, at my mom's bible study meeting there were lots of new moms there with really new babies from under a month old to just a few months old. I feel like I had forgotten so much of what they look like and how adorably sweet they are when they're sleeping and making little dream noises and gurgles. It got me really excited about having a newborn again and all the stages I'll be experiencing through this baby a second time around.

I could go on and on right now, but honestly I think it's time for me to go sit, relax, drink a cup of tea and watch some kind of 'mommy show' like Good Morning America, which NEVER happens anymore. Man, oh man am I going to savor this week. I know it'll be a long time coming before it happens again..if it ever happens again. ;)

I hope everyone is enjoying their pregnancy so far.

Until next time,

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