Thursday, December 3, 2009

rites of passage

On our last day in California, with hours before our airplane was to depart and stomachs still stretched from the previous day's feast, we headed to the obligatory In-N-Out lunch. At first I toyed with the idea of feeding Gemma and putting her down for a nap, to both give her more time to sleep and me an easier time at the establishment. Joel immediately vetoed that idea. "It's In-N-Out, Sarah. We take her with us." I shrugged. Fine. Oh Gemma, I'm sorry I ever wondered otherwise. She ate almost an entire order of fries. It was only after she had been chowing for a while that I offered her some of my chocolate shake. She leaned forward a little skeptically and put her lips to the straw. I watched as the lovely liquid moved up and into her mouth. I saw Gemma's eyes widen and her cheeks indent harder to match the stronger sucking. I laughed as she pulled back, a dribble of chocolate deliciousness dribbling down her lower lip and, eyes alight, squealed, "Mmmmm!" while clapping and signing "more." She loved it. And I loved watching her love it.

More please

It made me all the more excited for my sister Allison who is just weeks away from more mobility, less sleep and a tiny baby to cuddle and sniff and love. That is if Emaline (click on that link if you like to laugh. or if you have name suggestions for her) will permit her. I was thinking about how, after the births of each of my children, there's a wonderful moment. A moment where you are no longer the center of attention. Where you've just pushed this human being out of your body and everyone is focused on what that little person is doing. And you lie there, no more pain, no more stress, no thinking, really. Just peace. And wonder. There's a whole lifetime of emotions under the warming lamps just beyond your reach, but in that moment, there's just peace.

The kids love playing with (on?) Uncle Jeff!

In a similar vein (anatomy joke! for a nurse!), my sister Becca has started her Labor & Delivery (rotation?unit?section?) part of her second-to-last semester of nursing school. And, as I have long suspected, she loved it. It almost seems cliche to say that birth is such a profound experience. But it is. It isn't something you can adequately describe to someone (or, rather, have them understand) who hasn't done it. But once you have, you suddenly view the whole world differently. There's a new level of awe and respect for the mothers around you. The news is always about the negative things going on, but I am humbled to consider the amount of love in the world. Because a parent's love? Is frighteningly intense. And it's something that trickles down as you lay there, full of peace and wonder, and you yourself are reborn. And Allison gets to do it again. And Becca gets to help people do this.

Dono and Jess waiting for food

I am also thrilled that my brother Jeff is getting married. In his own rebirth, he has found someone who loves him because (and in spite?) of his many gifts. With her love of tv and family games, keen fashion sense, and sense of humor, she will fit in well with our family. I wonder if she's a little freaked out to go from having no siblings to having a lot - we're not exactly the quiet type (you may have surmised). The important thing is that she makes my brother smile and he seems relaxed in a way I haven't seen for a while. Also, he's not allergic to her cat (does this cat possess magical powers? I guess it was meant to be). Although a date hasn't been set, I wish them good times through the planning stages, great times into married life, peaceful times as they establish their family, and always an abundance of french fries and milkshakes.

And she'll marry him even WITH that creepy face!


Anonymous said...

There's so many exciting things going on in the Ostler family! And although it's a little overwhelming given my background, I've always wanted a big family and feel really lucky to have your wonderful family in my life.

As for the wedding, we're visiting a million locations (seriously, I've made a sweet Excel spreadsheet to track them) and hope to set a date by the end of the month.


PS. Love that picture of Jeff, Dono, and Ainsleigh.