Monday, October 27, 2008

36 Months and Counting.

A deep-seeded despair rooted in the far corners of my heart just over three years ago. Afraid to admit this fear, I kept it tucked firmly away in a location I would only visit for brief intervals of time. I believed if I neglected the frightening thoughts they'd just go away, or at least fail to surface regularly. Truly though, I was a walking charade...and that scam scared me more than concealing a dark heart.

Looking at Libbey, then a few months shy of her fourth birthday, I'd inwardly cringe knowing that her position in my life was about to be usurped. My most beautiful daughter, who was the world to me after my God and my husband, had allowed me to live my dream of becoming a mother, while working at that job full-time. I mean...come on...look at how precious she is in her Georgia Bulldogs shirt:

Three years ago today I checked into the hospital for the birth of my second child, a little girl we'd decided to name Caroline Raley. "Caroline," because we just loved it, and "Raley," after my maternal grandparents...it was their surname. At 2:39 pm our Sweet Caroline made her debut in the world. At 2:40 pm I began to prepare for the inevitable...what I'd been dreading for months. The first thing out of my mouth was, "She looks nothing like Libbey!" And I knew the despair was going to take over.
Carys, my friendly nurse with the fabulous name, wheeled me into the OR recovery room so that I could meet Caroline properly, and hopefully nurse for the first time. When Carys handled this bundle of new life to me I looked into my baby's eyes and felt a shame I never imagined possible. For I knew, in that very instant, that I loved this second child as much as my first. I was unaware that my heart could double in size in less than a millisecond. Any lingering grief I felt at doubting my adoration for another child was replaced by a Peace that continues to pass all understanding.

For not only did I become a new mother again on that day, but my eldest daughter became a big sister. Mama became the "Mamaw Pinky" of one grandson and two granddaughters. All of us--Littons, Roths, Smiths, Sanderses, Poes, Martins, Rasnics, Raleys--grew new, bigger, and brighter corners of our hearts as we welcomed Caroline into our family.

And my gift from God, Scott, was now the proud father of the two most beautiful children ever to walk the face of this earth. He never doubted his ability to love these two girls profoundly and with exactly the same measure. Scott's my hero for many reasons, just so you know.
And here we are three years later...

Honestly, I cannot remember how it felt to be afraid of not loving this gift as much as her big sister. The thought is truly incredulous to me now. I've had three years, as well as my entire lifetime, to be in this moment. And it's so precious to me that I cling to it tightly, guarding it each day.

Happy Third Birthday, Caroline Raley! I thank God for making me your mother, and I thank you for showing me I'll never fully realize just how enormous my heart is. Because I'm quite certain this heart of mine is no longer contained in my chest...it has grown to envelop every fiber of my being.

Thank you for completing our family, Caroline. Daddy, Sissy, and I love you far beyond what my limited words can express.

Now...wanna watch Scooby and eat something completely unhealthy for breakfast? Good. Me, too. We'll probably get chicken nuggets, fries, and a Coke later on in the day...and then we'll both take a nap. In honor of your birthday, of course.

55 comments:

TattooedMinivanMom said...

FIRST! Do we do that here?

TattooedMinivanMom said...

now that I read your post...Happy Birthday Caroline!

I like to do that with my boy too. Though he rarely naps anymore. But we still snuggle!

JourneytoFamily said...

Happy Birthday Caroline!

I'll come over and join you for that unhealthy breakfast and Scooby marathon!

Swirl Girl said...

You should feel no guilt for doubting your love capacity. I think it happens to all of us.

What a lovely birthday tribute to your daughter and her big sister and your husband - and you!

Julie said...

Happy Birthday Caroline... and I want some Chicken Nuggest French Fries and Lemonade from Chick Fila... yum, we used to do that. I miss Chick fila...

And I felt the same way about my second, isn't God great...

Trish said...

Ohh so bautiful!

Happy birthday sweet Caroline.

Many more blessings to you!

Gossiping Gals, Jyl and Carissa said...

Ah!!!! Look at her. So big. I love this pic of her reading. Seriously precious.

Hope you start feeling better.

Can't wait to have you as our guest tweeter at GNO this Tuesday. BTW: You can RSVP at http://mommygossip-gno.blogspot.com. And, a Tues post will be terrific w/giveaway and all :).

Should've e-mailed all this, but since I was here... :)

jyl

Good N Crazy said...

AM SOooooo excited to have you on board for GNO Twitter Tuesday night!

TWILIGHT!

So? Do we love Edward or Jacob?


And...Geez! Your baby! (Not so baby tho.) I love how easy it is (yet impossible to believe) to bring another child in and have plenty of room in your heart..time?? Not so much!?

Mrs. X said...

Happy Birthday Caroline!

Brenda Jean said...

We moms have GIGANTIC hearts to love all of our kids. What amazes me is how unique each one is, and that I can appreciate that too!

heathersister said...

Happy Birthday Caroline!! Enjoy your day with your mama.

I felt the same way before my second was born, motherhood is amazing!!! I love it.

Heather said...

Happy Birthday, Sweet Caroline!! Your shirt in that picture is super sassy.

Vicki said...

That is such syrupy sweetness. I want to copy this, only changing the names, for my birthday letter to Ashlyn. K?

Vicki said...

Btw, syrupy sweetness is a good thing.

Brandy said...

Happy birthday Caroline! She is so cute in her last picture...and so grown up looking.

Or maybe I'm just saying that because I would totally rock her outfit if I could.

Jen said...

The plans that you have for the day sound great, we are totally going to do that too. Oh and Happy Birthday.

Heather said...

Okay, I can see a glimpse of the teen she's gonna become in that last picture. Beeyouteefull!

Where's the punch line, hmmm? 'Cause last time you wrote a sappy post, you didn't mean to be sappy.

Wait, this one is supposed to be...oh, well, in that case: Great post!

CaraBee said...

That was beautiful! I worry all the time about having another baby because I just can't imagine loving another child as much as I do Sophie. Your words comfort me more than you now.

Happy Birthday Caroline! Enjoy the Scoobie and nuggets!

sassy stephanie said...

Happy Birthday Caroline Raley I so love your name!

Britt said...

Aw .. Happy Birthday, Miss Caroline!

With my almost three year old a whole three hours away, I've realized something .. as soon as I gave birth to both my girls, my heart no longer resided inside me, but had split in two and I was holding a small piece of it in my arms. Enjoy your snuggle time, mama :o)

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

A little ditty for the birthday girl....

Where it began,
I can't begin to knowin'
But then I know it's growing strong
Was in the spring
And spring became the summer
Who'd have believed you'd come along.

Hands, touchin' hands
Reachin' out, touchin' me touchin' you
Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I've been inclined
To believe they never would
But now I, look at the night
And it don't seem so lonely
We fill it up with only two.

And when I hurt,
Hurtin' runs off my shoulders
How can I hurt when I'm with you
Warm, touchin' warm
Reachin' out, touchin' me touchin' you
Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I've been inclined,
To believe they never would
Oh, no, no

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
Sweet Caroline,
I believe they never could
Sweet Caroline.........

Amy said...

Happy Birthday!!!
That was so sweet and well written.
Your daughter is beautiful and so are you. I hope you both have the best birthday ever!

Blissful Babe said...

Happy Birthday, Caroline!

Lula, darling, you need to go check out my blog. Seriously. There is something for you there!! Woo woo!

Melissa said...

Caroline, you look so grown up in that outfit! I hope you have an awesome third birthday--You sassy thang you!

Kristina P. said...

They are both beautiful!

Happy birthday, Caroline!

angela | the painted house said...

Happy birthday, Miss Caroline!

I was so sad when we learned that baby #3 was a boy for the fact that I didn't think Ashton could handle having to share the limelight as "momma's boy" with another boy. God gives us lots of love--just wish He would give us a little more patience! :) Hope you all have fun celebrating!

Oh, yes, the Vegas of the South. Great people watching and dining and chuckling...good times! Our little cottage in the mts is only 45 minutes away...maybe it is close to you, too? Once it is finished we should have a blog par-tay there!

ParentingPink said...

What a beautiful and eloquent tribute to your daughters! I love the name Caroline...our third daughter has the same name. Happy Birthday CAROLINE!

Live.Love.Eat said...

That was a honest & beautiful post!!! I can imagine many women have experienced those feelings you have eloquently described. Happy Bday to your gorgeous little lady!!!!!!!!!!!

Amy said...

Happy Birthday cutie pie! She is so precious :D

Rhea said...

What a great post! Happy Birthday to your Caroline Raley! She's adorable. I love her outfit in that last photo...way too cute.

You are so blessed with a handsome husband and two beautiful girls. Love it!

scargosun said...

What a terrific name! She is destined for great things. :) Happy Birthday Caro! (Sorry, big fan of the Ya-ya's)

Marrdy said...

What a sweet post. Happy Birthday Caroline.

Kat said...

I am here humming to myself...

And that last picture...oh, my does she look grown up! I think I might like to have that outfit.

What a sweet post. You are just so amazing at digging deep when you write. My brain does not function that way...

manic mariah said...

Happy Birthday! Lovin her little outfit with the shoes and everything. Eat nuggets, nap and enjoy your day together.

manic mariah said...

I'm out of hding now, you can update your blogroll if you want

manic mariah said...

Hello, I am a moron, nice to meet you. I see that you have updated your blogroll.
Such a good Southern girl...

Becky said...

Happy Birthday Caroline! God blessed you with exactly the right mama for you!

Jori-O said...

Sweet baby girls, both of them. Isn't it bittersweet how time flies SOOOO fast when you are a mom? Happy MAMA birthday to you, Luladear!

georgie said...

Happy Birthday Caroline...

and WE LOVE EDWARD!!!!

cant wait till Teusday oh waits thats like tomorrow

Mamasphere said...

Happy Birthday to Caroline! You were blessed with one heck of a family, little one.

HiHoOhio said...

Sweet Post, sweet girl, happy day!

Elena said...

My sweet baby girl's birthday is today too. Only she's 10. I can hardly believe the years have flown by so fast. Beautiful post today. Made me tear up a bit, probably b/c I'm a bit emotional about my own beautiful daughter.

Mrs. S said...

Happy birthday, Caroline. And thank you Lula because that is sort of a fear of mine. I sometimes feel guilty for wanting another baby because well, isn't Moose enough? will I love him less? thanks for telling me, he is enough but I can give him the gift of a sibling that we can all love just the same!

PS Started Twilight today. Haven't gotten much done. Very tired from the trip and don't want to not be able to remember what I read.

Darcy @ LWM3B said...

Goodness gracious. Is she ever cute. You gave your girls great names. Really cute when they're are little and respectable when they grow kind of names.

I had to name 3 boys. In rapid succession. But not a one of them is named McCartney. They sooo owe me.

Happy 3rd birthday, little beauty.

Kim said...

Happy Birthday to my sweet girl!
And Lula, you love those girls more every day! Believe me I know! My girls are soooo precious to me! I only wish I had them little again, because there sure are things I would do differently! But I can just make up for it with my grandchildren!!

Love you Caroline!

J'Ollie Primitives said...

Happy Birthday Caroline!

Caroline said...

Happy Birthday my little namesake! You were named after me, your mama just didn't know it then.

Eudea-Mamia said...

I may just be talking for myself, but knowing that I was having another son really made it hard to believe I could love another creature as I did my first.

How silly I was - they may share the traits of the Y chromosome, but they're as different as night and day. Except how they BOTH can light my world.

Congrats Mama Lula.

Em

P.S. my handsome boys are 6 and 2 1/2 - you into arranged marriages? Those girls are living dolls!

Tiffany said...

Eudea-Mamia is obviously not aware that Libbey is spoken for...

Girl, this post had me all choked up.

And, look at delicious chocolate brown on that beautiful girl.

Mama's Losin' It said...

Awww and they're all so pretty. This was really sweet. Did you have Darth Vader at the house?? no? How about a scavenger hunt? No? A houseful of girls in Jedi costumes?

Hmph.

You're still a good mom.

I guess.

Mama Dawg said...

Happy Birthday Caroline!

angie said...

Was this supposed to be a tear jerker? Because it was. Happy Birthday Caroline!

"The Queen in Residence" said...

So nice to hear that someone else wondered about love for a second child. I too had that fear but it all disappeared after that first look.... What a joy it is to be mothers!!!
Enjoy a great day with your sweet girl(s). You have a lovely family.

Angie's Spot said...

Happy Belated Birthday Sweet Caroline! So glad that your sweet mommy shared your special day with us. My girls would love to have a playdate with you & your big sister if you're ever in our neck of the woods. :-)

Carrie said...

Ah, so sweet! My husband has that same fear! I think we'd be good if #2 (when we decide to start trying) was another girl, but I think he's afraid of having a boy and not loving him the same way. I know I'll be fine loving more than one!

Happy late bday Caroline!