I’m winding down my work schedule for the year, and amidst a flurry of last-minute deadlines and scheduled projects, a reminder arose from the very unlikely place of an at-home photo shoot:
You’re starting to teach other children bad habits. Sunday, I took you to church for our annual Hanging of the Greens and dropped you off in the nursery to play with fabric food while I stacked Christmas trees and stringed (strung?) ornaments and sipped cocoa. It was a magically delightful night of community and labor, and a few hours later all of the parents picked up their children to witness the most intense squealing baby band we have ever heard. Your father and I like to joke that you don’t laugh, you squeal, because that is the only word to properly capture the sound that spills forth from your lips. It is treacherously delightful, very swine-like and mildly annoying, especially for other parents that don’t love noise, or other people’s children, or other people’s childrens’ noises.
Still, in just two hours, you had singlehandedly convinced each and every tiny soul that squealing was the new laughing, of which I had to apologize on your behalf to each and every tiny soul’s parent. Bee, you are turning us into social outcasts, even among the church-folk who have to like us because Jesus said so.
You wake up before the sun now and your father nudges me in bed a few times before I realize what’s going on. For a moment, I struggle to remember that you exist, because in my mind, I’ll forever be an eleven year old sleeping on floral sheets surrounded by a few stuffed animals of my own. As I pad into your room, you reach for me, asking for Bump (your bumblebee) or Cack (your stuffed cactus) and I remember my own Paddington and Beauregard and suddenly, the wave of emotion comes over me. When did the days string a garland long enough to create the years that have passed?
Ken, Bee and I are off to Disneyland this week for a media appearance as part of their #DisneySide project (did you know I write for Disney? I do.). I’m so, so thrilled to soak up some sunshine-filled family time at the Happiest Place on Earth. Feel free to follow our adventures on Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram via hashtag #disneyside, and if you’re local, perhaps I’ll see you there? I’ll be the gal with the avocado stained tee for sure.
See you next week!
We’ve been spending a lot of time together, you and me. Last weekend we took our first solo road trip to visit my parents so your dad could have some uninterrupted time to work on home projects. Want to know something cute about your father, Bee? He’s a doer. I’m a sitter/thinker/dreamer, but my gracious does your dad have some serious wind in his sails. We celebrated our eight year wedding anniversary a few weeks ago and I asked him over dinner what he’d do with an entire weekend to himself. “Renovate the basement!” he answered with utter and complete seriousness, so of course, Bee, we totally had to make it happen for him. (It’s also worth noting here that my answer to that same question was to take a getaway to a tropical island for a massage/facial by the ocean and to order room service and eat late-night dinners on white sheets with a line-up of all of my favorite TV shows, but alas, Ken’s dream wins first. Someday it’ll be our turn, Bee, and I’ll bring you along if you’re nice.)
Do you remember the night of your birthday party a few month ago? The night with the roasted corn and homemade guacamole, unusually cool temperatures and a quilted-together guest list of family and friends and loved ones? As the party ended and you grew tired, your grandmother suggested we roast marshmallows and tell stories around the fire pit. And Bee, the part of me that is responsible and a touch overprotective started to respond that it was already past your bedtime. But it was your birthday, and something within me wanted to celebrate with you a bit longer. So we stayed. It turned out to be the most magical evening I’ve experienced as your mother.
It’s sometimes easier to write these letters when I need a break from you. And let me be clear: I don’t need a break from “you” you – the you that is Bee Loechner, a force of fun and charm and sensitivity and surprise. I need a break from the parts that come with you – the chasing and the second-guessing and the decision-making and the constant finding of that container of Puffs that Bernie stole and hid under his surface of choice. The parts that aren’t really about you at all – they’re about me and my own doubts or insecurities or gosh-darn inability to remember to keep the snacks out of the dog’s reach.
We’re in a bit of a busy season. I’m launching a new project - one that was directly inspired by you and my desire to create a space you’d be proud of. Doesn’t that sound silly and kind of irrational? Seeking a blessing from an infant? It totally is, Bee. But I think you might understand someday.
I’m new at this, so I’m having trouble deciphering which of my feelings are about parenting, and which feelings are about parenting you. Your father and I had a long-overdue late night dinner last night – complete with candles and wine and Dean Martin serenading us over Chinese takeout – and we slowed down enough to process this past year. It was bizarre, really, having a conversation that wasn’t interrupted by you, and we both found it difficult to string together a completely grown-up sentence that involved total and utter focus, rather than the darting eyes and multi-tasking hands that come with parenting a baby. But soon enough, we found our groove and lost ourselves into a fully interruption-less conversation. And as wonderful as it was, you still found your way into our conversation, as babies often do.
Because Ken and I are both freelance creatives, weekends sometimes look a bit differently for our family. We hit the ground running early, prepping photo shoots and scheduling content and brainstorming ideas – all while taking turns feeding Bee avocados and changing diapers and kissing bruised knees. It’s kind of a frenzy, really, but we love it. On most days.