I know for those of you who don't have children...sometimes reading my blog can be boring because a lot of the entries that I've made recently have been about Natalie in some way.
As my friend Emily would say...that's just the season I'm in right now.
Especially because we're at home with her all day now that it's summer...my little world revolves around her a lot more. Come fall when volleyball starts up I'm sure I'll have a wider range of topics to cover.
But for now...a list. It was a year ago yesterday that Craig and I found out we were going to have a baby. Even though we had only been "trying" for one month, I had a sneaking suspicion that I might be pregnant because I was exhausted and crabby. On the way home from my parent's 4th of July party I convinced him to stop at Walgreen's and pick up a few tests. I went cheap and bought the plus/minus tests and we took them home and tested one immediately. It was BARELY a plus so I did what any normal human being would do. I took a picture of it and texted it to my friend Amy for confirmation. Her conclusion? It COULD be a positive, but to be sure I should send Craig BACK to Walgreens for a digital test that would definitively say either "pregnant" or "not pregnant." Like a good husband he obliged while I stayed home pacing the upstairs babbling incoherently to Amy on the phone. His trip to the store took longer than I expected and I only recently found out why - on the way home he was really nervous about the test (he was hoping for a positive) so he pulled off the road into a parking lot and watched fireworks for a little while to calm his nerves. When he returned, I took the digital test and I didn't have to wait very long - the word PREGNANT showed up very quickly and again, I called Amy to ask her if the word "NOT" is ever going to show up. It didn't...and now we have a beautiful baby girl.
And then the fun part started - we got to begin planning for our little girl. Of course designing the nursery was fun and I couldn't enter a Target without cooing over the cute dresses and shoes, but more importantly Craig and I began imagining all the fun things we would do with her...here are a few.
1. I love The Nutcracker ballet and I want to start a tradition of having a ladies date ever winter with her, my mother and myself to go out to a fancy lunch or brunch followed by seeing the ballet.
2. Craig took her to her first basketball camp last week and I have a feeling that this will become a yearly event.
3. Of course...Disneyland.
4. Craig already has plans for Daddy-daughter dates to the Stars games. And I have plans for pigtails with green and black bows and a teeny tiny Stars jersey.
5. I want to play dolls with her. Barbies, Cabbage Patch, dollhouse...I don't care. I just want to get on the floor and do all the fun and imaginative things with her that my mom did with me.
6. Of course Christmases are about to get a whole lot more fun - she'll be 9.5 months old at Christmas this year so she'll probably be scooting around the house, trying to get into things and a good age to get excited about presents - or the wrapping at least. And of course...there is that first visit to Santa Clause which is going to be super fun.
7. I have began playing volleyball up at the gym with a few other ladies every Friday afternoon. A mom of one of the girls that I coach invited me - we used to play in a different league together. In this Friday afternoon group there are two sets of moms and daughters - one with a middle schooler and the other with a college vball player. I love how they root for each other but also enjoy a little competition - the moms always "complain" when their daughters beat them on the net or with a serve, but I think they are secretly proud of the athletes they are raising. I can't wait to share my love of volleyball (and Craig's love of basketball) with Natalie.
8. Craig and I were talking about maybe taking her to the state basketball tournament in Austin next year which is usually right around the time of Spring Break. It would be a great first family trip and maybe something fun for us to look forward to every year.
Those are just a few of the millions of things that Craig and I have envisioned over the course of the year. And those are just things to DO with her...there are even more things that I want to teach her and instill in her as she grows up. I once (okay...maybe several times) asked Craig if he could choose ONE attribute or characteristic that he really wanted to teach Natalie and have her embody, what would it be? He answered "confidence." My choice was a bit more involved "I want her to understand that she is just a small part of the world and her duty is to put other people first and lead with a kind heart." Or something to that effect. I don't want her to be self-centered and live in a bubble. I want her to know that there are people out there with drastically different lifestyles and that as someone who has been given an awful lot in life, it is her duty and her privelage to spread her blessings around to those people who might not have as much.
I guess you could say I want her to live with a certain amount of humbleness and humility and to be grateful for and content with the blessings that she has in her life.
I know that it is a natural part of growing up - the desire to "be cool" and have all the neat stuff that everyone else has, but when you're raised as a Christian, you should be striving to live an extraordinary life and sometimes your life and the life of the people around you might not be the same. Craig and I were both raised in fairly strict households which both held us to high standards academically, socially and personally. And we will have the same for Natalie. There will be times that she will not like us. She won't have a television in her room unless she would like to buy it herself and pay for the extra cable box to be installed and the montly charges. All cell phones will be charged in Mom and Dad's room overnight to control the late night texting and phone calls and all that stuff. Facebook and the internet in general is absolutely terrifying...so obviously no computers in her room. We have a room downstairs that is right now a trophy room and it will be converted to a play room sometime in the next year. After we don't need a baby play room anymore I think that I'd like it to be a study - put a home computer with a desk in it for homework with a cozy chair and lamp for reading. BUT...even with all these measures in place there has to be a deeper understanding of WHY we are choosing to live this way. I want Natalie to understand that there aren't rules just to have rules, but there is a larger reason behind the rules and expectations. You don't make the right decision because you're afraid of getting in trouble, you make the right decision because it's the right thing to do. A friend of mine put it very well - you don't parent to get through the day, you parent to get through the next 18 years. You have to begin with the end in mind - what kind of kiddo do we want Natalie to be when she is 18 and what parenting techniques do we need to install NOW so that we can produce that kind of person?! That's the kind of parent that I want to be because that's the kind of kid I want to raise.
Well...I didn't mean to get off on a parenting tangent - but as much as we enjoy imagining all the fun things we'll do with Natalie, I also know that there will be times when she is going to push back against us and she will make poor choices and I will feel like an utter failure as a parent. But Craig and I will stand our ground because we do have the life experience to know the effects of good choices and bad choices and hopefully someday she will thank us for helping her to become a really awesome and successful young lady.