October is here and oof-ta, is it making my head spin that we're deep into Fall now.
The black walnut tree that hangs over the front of our house has already shed all of its nuts; the foothills surrounding our tiny town are aflame with deep russets, bright yellows, and spicy oranges; colorful mums and pumpkins sit on nearly every stoop; nights are cool- no, cold, and I've brought out my favorite pair of sheepskin slippers to wear (the ones Brendan bought for me to wear in the hospital when I had Margot); I can currently hear the faint echoes of the high school Friday night lights. I'm typing this out with a mug of hot cocoa at the ready.
Yeah, Fall is here. And Margot is 20 months old now. I can't really say the usual mom-platitudes of "oh my goodness, time has FLOWN. she was just a newborn!!" Because, really, this kid has been all sorts of trouble from the minute she left the womb. And her first year of life d-r-a-g-g-e-d on, if I'm being totally honest. Which I am. Because it's my blog. I love the girl, but she's trouble. And now, at 20 months old, it turns out, that what made her so difficult as a baby (the constant crying and wailing, the never sleeping, the food allergies, etc) is what makes her a really awesome and fun person.
Margot is so much fun. No, she still doesn't sleep. Like, ever. Yes, she's still.... how shall we say? Emotional. Sensitive. Feeling. :) But she's also equal parts kind, clever, funny, and creative.
I've been wanting to blog more again because I'm realizing it's a great way to just keep track of the time. And what seems like meaningless/silly stuff to write about will actually mean the most to me one day, when I'm looking back. I want these memories recorded! So, here we go. All of this is probably of no interest to anyone not related to us. Sorry-not-sorry, as they say.
Margot, at 20 months:
*can identify half of the alphabet
*can count to three
*can identify most colors (white, blue, pink, purple, yellow, and green). Her favorite is blue :)
*would read book after book after book if she could. Her favorites right now are: Are You My Mother and Put Me In the Zoo. (Which were actually my and my brother's favorite as children. I'm irrationally excited by that) . She also can anticipate her favorite parts of stories and will eagerly recite the lines she remembers.
*is saying 2-3 word sentences; her first "sentence" was ball! kick!
*loves nothing better than to be outside exploring. She heads to the back door as soon as we wake up and asks to go "OOT?!" (out)
*loves watering the garden
*is still a total mama's girl and will often specifically ask for me at bedtime, even though we've been trying to let her have more quality time with Brendan at bedtime since he otherwise doesn't get to see her during the week
*calls Brendan "baba", "dada", or "papa" depending
*calls my mom Noni
*calls Brendan's dad "Pop Pop"
*doesn't call Brendan's mom anything yet- I think because she can't say "grandma". We're working on it!
*adores dogs, especially our next door neighbor's dog named "WU-WU!!!!" ("Lulu"- always said with the utmost excitement)
*is very into drawing, coloring, painting, etc.
*with the help of my mom, has named every one of her MANY stuffed animals and constructs elaborate situations for them and gets extremely upset if I don't understand what part she wants me to play in those scenarios.
*really, really loves Jesus, Mary, and the Cross. And here's where I admit to my shame that we have not been to Mass in a very long time (that's a story for another day, I suppose), and make no special effort to catechize our little lady. She just naturally gravitates towards Bible stories and my Rosary and pictures of Jesus. She's taken to demanding that we visit Jesus (the statue at our local parish) while we're out on our daily walk. Brendan and I joke that we may have a future nun on our hands....
*doesn't eat much real food and still has allergies and tummy problems. She does love apples, bacon, tofu, and dark chocolate though. A girl after my own heart. :)
I really can't wait to see what the future holds for her and every single day am coming into a deeper understanding of just how big of a blessing she is to our family. Firstly, because she is a human in her own right, and a child of God. Also because we love her so!
But here's the thing: so, Brendan's in medical school. We had Margot midway through his second year of medical school, not because it was the logical/smart thing to do, but just because we felt like we should start a family. We discerned it, if you want to say that. Anyway, we had her and almost immediately, Brendan began worrying about doing his third and fourth years (which are clinical years) in Philly, because at his school the clinical sites are spread throughout the Tri-State (New Jersey/Pennsylvania/Delaware) area, and he didn't want to be working crazy hours (typically 6 am to 7 pm) AND deal with an hour commute each way. So, for Margot's sake, wanting to spend as much time as he could with her, he applied to do his clinical years at his school's campus in Central PA. This option made/makes it so that the bulk of his clinical rotations are done at the same hospital. We moved within a ten minute walk to said hospital, so Brendan's commute time is nil.
We've been blessed to avoid the fray of commuting to a different hospital every 4-6 weeks, some as far as three hours away (!!!), which is what a lot of our Philly friends are doing. We also have been able to easily remain a one-car family, and save a ton on gas/car insurance, as well as rent because it's way cheaper here in the boonies than in Philly.
It also just so happens that this hospital is also a nationally acclaimed health system, and offers any kind of residency/fellowship program a budding doctor could want. In applying for residency, Brendan is basically a shoo-in at this hospital, which sets our minds at ease because our "fall back" is a great option for our family and for Brendan's career. This would NOT have been the case if we had stayed in Philly. Our "fall back" would have been the local community hospital, which is basically (for lack of more imaginative phrasing) a craphole. This interview season, Brendan received an unexpected (to us!) interview invite from a residency program that we would have never even dreamed of before. But the door is certainly open to us now, because we took the risk of moving where no one else in Brendan's class wanted to move. All because of Margot.
So, in essence, Margot has done nothing but bless Brendan's career -- since we did all of this for her sake-- and yet, being here has opened up a million and one opportunities for Brendan to grow as a student physician.
It's really funny, because no one ever says "have a baby! it will be awesome for your career!" because, of course, we've been surviving on less sleep and less money than we ever thought possible- and "normal" people don't have babies when they have effectively zero income, $1 million in student loan debt, no family in the area, and all the stress of medical school. But no one can say what a new human being will bring to the table, or what effect they will have on their family and on the world. That's why we're really grateful that God opened our hearts to being open to life at such an unreasonably young age, in the middle of such a crazy time in our lives.
There was no better time to have a baby.
And, even though I'm kind of panicking that the next baby will probably arrive at a terribly inconvenient time (Intern year- so, next year- of residency is widely known to be abyssal as far as schedules go and stress levels go) and I wonder how the heck I'll survive in a new city with no help and Brendan gone at all hours- I know that that sentence is true for any other babies we may ever have: there is no better time for us to have a new baby. This is what we are here for.
I look at Margot and she is just a miracle of epic proportions to me. One of the smartest, kindest, funniest, most beautiful kids I've ever met. I'm exceptionally blessed to be the one she wants in the middle of the night when she wakes for the thousandth time. Can you even fathom what a privilege it is to bring a new human to this earth and help them grow? I'm only beginning to fathom it. And I shudder to think of a world without her in it, if we had been more "logical".
So, all this is just a reminder to myself that even if we do welcome another mini human into the world next year, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well" ~St. Julian of Norwich.