Category Archives: My Godchildren

The Over-Achieving Godmother Strikes Again

There are a few things you need to know about the video I’m going to post below before you actually watch it. Some of these things you may already be aware of, others may be new information for you. Either way, it requires some set up.

One: I am godmother to two of the most beautiful youngsters in existence. Their names are Jacob and Ellie, and their mother happens to be my equally beautiful best friend, Jenna.

kids 13

Two: While Jacob has been in our lives, and our hearts, for almost four years now, it wasn’t until Ellie was born in 2012 that we were granted the gift of godparent-dom by their Mommy and Daddy. I sent Jenna a baby gift in the form of a princess dress, a gorgeous stuffed unicorn lovie, and some princess ‘slippers.’ She sent me a note formally asking if we would be Jacob and Ellie’s ‘fairy godparents.’ So when it comes to princesses and fairy tales, we sort of have a theme going here. (We even went to the renaissance festival dressed as “The Fairy Godparents,” a couple of years ago. Wings and all. Yes, Brian, too.)

Three: I really, really, really love being a godmother. Like, a lot. Like, I talk about these kids like they’re my own. I spend weeks counting down between our visits. I live for planning their birthday parties and putting together little care packages and figuring out just what will make them happy. I send them videos and pictures all the time. Let’s just say that if I lived closer to Jenna she’d be SO sick of me because I’d be at her house every single day, doting on those precious babies. (And spending time with her, of course.)

Four: I’m an overachiever with too much free time on my hands (who happens to adore creating or sending things that I know will make my godchildren smile.)

Ok, I think that’s enough set up. And now, without further ado, here is Ellie’s Annual Happy Birthday Video, in the form of an AbbyGabs video blog.

 

Did I mention that I’m an overachiever?

Magical Godmother Moments

We celebrated my godson’s third birthday this past weekend. And we celebrated in style, with the whole Sesame Street gang. It was a day filled with laughter, presents, Elmo, and all the cuteness that comes with a child’s party. 

 


As usual, there were plenty of moments that I tucked away into my heart for safekeeping: Ellie napping on my chest, Jacob’s delight with his giant balloon bouquet, quiet conversation with Jenna over a cup of coffee. 

But there was one moment in particular that was so special, I’d like to share it with you today.

As usual, Brian and I arrived hours before the party so we could help Jenna set up. There were decorations to be hung, fruit and veggie trays to prepare, and games to organize. Naturally, all of those things were sprinkled with pauses for the tickle monster, singing songs, and kissing babies.

Jenna’s mom (affectionately known as Gran) arrived shortly after we did to help with “kid wrangling.” She bundled them up, tied their little shoes, and whisked them outside for playtime. The rest of us got busy setting up for the party.

At some point in the morning, Brian and Jenna were busy at work, moving furniture to make way for guests. I took my cup of coffee and joined Gran and the kids in the backyard, where my godchildren were happily swinging in the hammock. 

I stood with Gran, admiring their adorableness, commenting on the warm spring day. Suddenly, Jacob decided he wanted to get down. He reached out his arms to us, and together, we hauled him up and out of the hammock. Ellie was retrieved by Gran, and it looked like it might be time to find a new game to keep them occupied.

Just as I was about to head back into the house to make myself useful, Jacob walked over to me, put his arms around my leg and said, “Aunt Abby, I swing with you?”

He looked up at me with those big, beautiful, chocolate-brown eyes. And I simply melted. 

“You want me to swing you in the hammock?” I asked.

“NO, swing WITH me, Aunt Abby!” he said enthusiastically, and pointed at the hammock.

I had a brief panicked feeling. Will I be too big for the hammock? Will it break? But I didn’t have time for my insecurities to keep me from enjoying the moment. I followed my godson as he tugged me toward his goal, his feet crunching in the leaves on the ground.

I steadied the hammock, sat back carefully, and helped him climb in beside me. “Are you ready?” I asked.

“Ready!” he said.

And so I lifted my feet, allowing the momentum to swing us forward.

I looked down at the child laying beside me, and my heart swelled at the sight of the smile on his face. He scooted over as close to me as he could get, snuggling up so that his head was on my arm. 

We got comfy and enjoyed the gentle swaying of the tree branches overhead. Sunlight warmed our faces, and the birds chirped us a sweet spring lullaby. 



I sighed with contentment, and caught Jacob peeking up at me from beneath his cap. “I could do this all day,” I said to him quietly.

“I could do this all day,” he parroted. 

And when his hand curled up over my heart, I pushed off with my feet again, and we laughed as the hammock lurched forward, higher than ever before.

Pixie Dust–An Abby Gabs Fairytale

It was a chilly autumn Sunday. The leaves rustled in the wind, flashing their golds and coppers and reds like so many sparrow wings. The trumpets and drums called to them on the breeze, and the troupe of fairies followed their music to the fair. 

Townspeople waved as the fairies entered the gates. Children dashed through the dusty streets, shouting and playing tag. The air was permeated with the smells of baking bread, roasting meat, and the yeasty tinge of mead. The slight nip in the air caused passersby to close their cloaks, or wrap their scarves more tightly about their heads. Even the Littlest Fairy was bundled up against the chill.


There were so many things to see. Shops bustled with activity, their wares proudly displayed in windows and on trestle tables set out near the road. Ladies strolled by, donned in rich fabrics of aubergine, emerald, and burgundy. A man with more hair on his chin than on his head milled through the crowd, carrying a basket of flowers he was selling for a shilling. The sun peeked out from beneath the clouds, and the merry troupe continued on their way.

Suddenly the horns blared, and a scrappy young man leaped onto a hay bale near the center of town. “The King is coming! The King is coming!” he shouted. And the crowd parted to allow the royal family to pass.

The Queen was regal in her midnight blue gown, her crown gilded and topped with rubies. The King was fit and robust, his fur-lined cape just barely dragging in the dust of the street. They were followed by ladies-in-waiting, court jesters, and men carrying swords. The King’s Bravest Little Knight stood nearby, keeping his eye on the crowd pressing in for the King’s favor.


The troupe continued their way through town, stopping only for piping hot chocolate to warm their hands and their bellies. As the day grew warmer, the Littlest Fairy was able to take off her sweater and cap, and stretch her wings into the sunshine. Her fairy godparents was proud to show her off to the world.


 

As morning turned to afternoon, a certain Brave Little Knight decided it was high time for an adventure. And so, he led the troupe to the training structure, deep into the woods, where he climbed to the very tip-top and dazzled them all with his braverism.

 



Giggles wafted away into the autumn breeze. 


Meanwhile, the Littlest Fairy grew sleepy. After all, it is hard work to flutter your wings all day, especially when they are so tiny. And so, her lovely eyelids grew heavy, and with a tiny sigh, she fell fast asleep in her godmother’s arms.


She slept, and she snoozed, and her fairy godmother snuggled her close, as was her job.

The day grew balmy, and the troupe continued their journey through the town. The Brave Little Knight, weary from carrying the weight of his armor, shed it in lieu of more comfortable clothing. He whispered in the Littlest Fairy’s ear, and off they went, to share yet another adventure. There was painting, and bubbles, and games, and story telling to keep them all enthralled. 

 


Before they knew it, the sun began to sink behind the trees. Shopkeepers swept the dust from their stores and drew the shutters. The King and Queen headed back to their castle. And the troupe left, their wings only slightly droopy, exhausted from their day of fun.


It was a day of laughter. Of good food and great friends. Of knights and horses and princes and fairies. 

And this fairy godmother can’t wait to do it all again next year.

Special thanks to Jenna–best friend, beautiful fairy,
and Mother to the Brave Little Knight and the Littlest Fairy, 
for inviting us to be a part of such a special day. ♥

The Gift of Godchildren–Summer Series with My Pal Laverne, Part II

This blog came to me in fits and bursts over the past month, and I’ve been itching to publish it. But it was never quite complete. I’d poured my heart onto the empty white space, and yet I felt like something was missing. When Laverne and I decided to do a 3-part series this summer, this idea resurfaced while we were brainstorming blog ideas. There was never a moment of hesitation as I pitched my idea: I had the words, could she provide the artwork? There are few people in the world I would trust with such a precious subject matter, and Laverne is at the top of the list. And so, with a full heart, here is part two of our summer series.

♥   ♥   ♥


Excitement jitters just beneath my skin as we turn onto the curvy country road. The sun peeks through the tree limbs, and the horses in the pastures graze in the summer heat. Brian guides our car past farm houses and patches of forest, instantly knowing when to turn into the driveway. As many times as we’ve been here, I still don’t know which house is Jenna’s until we arrive.

Anxious for our day to begin, I leave bags and presents in the back seat and drag my husband to the back door. As soon as I step up onto the stoop, I see that she’s been waiting, and is as eager for our arrival as we are.


She wraps me into a one-armed hug, and it’s like no time has passed at all.

Bub peeks shyly from behind Jenna’s leg, and I know he’ll need a few minutes to adjust to new visitors. I crouch down to his level, keeping my distance, and reach out to ruffle his dark hair. “Hey, buddy,” I say quietly. Noting the graphic on his t-shirt and hoping to draw him out, I say, “Is that a puppy dog on your shirt?” He glances down, long lashes brushing round cheeks, then looks back up, a big grin on his face. “NO!” he says with authority. “Flower!” And he bounds into the kitchen with the excitement only a 2 year old can possess. 

Brian and Jenna are sharing small talk about the weather, the drive, his schooling. I stand by quietly for a moment, fingers itching to hold Baby Girl. Jenna, sensing I’m there, hands me the baby without breaking the conversation. I welcome her weight with surprise. “Who’s a big girl?” I croon. I look at Jenna, eyebrows raised. “It’s only been 4 months! How can she already be this big??”

We settle in at Jenna’s big dining room table, making plans for the day, talking about all we’ve missed in the last few months. 



In what feels like minutes, Bub gallops into the room and announces that he’s hungry. Jenna checks the clock and, just like that, it’s lunch time.

PBJ’s, fresh fruit, and strawberry daiquiri pie are served with a quiet efficiency. Bub eats enthusiastically, occasionally breaking into baby babble, and even serenading his grapes with a rousing rendition of “Old MacDonald.” 



After lunch time comes nap time, and we decide to load the kiddies into the car and let them sleep while we take a quick road trip a few towns over to visit with another family member. No sooner are we out of the driveway than Bub and Baby Girl are snoozing away. Conversation turns to more adult topics: work and life, future plans, bills, mortgages. 

And Buffy. Of course.

We arrive at our play date destination. 



I disappear to grab my camera and as I walk back into the laughter-filled room, my eyes land on Brian. He’s holding Baby Girl, whispering something into her ear. 



Inside, I weep from the pain of being unable to provide him with this in his own life. I push it down, swallow the lump in my throat, and paste a smile on my face. There is time for tears later.

Our two hour play date comes quickly to a close, and it’s time to load back into the car and head to dinner with Jenna’s mom and step-dad. Bub is talkative this time, and so we sing, and we count, and we make animal noises. I glance up into my visor mirror to see Jenna plant a kiss on a squirming, giggling Bub. I laugh.

Dinner feels like a party. We drink margaritas, we share salsa and stories. 



I am simultaneously in the moment, and distracted by the beautiful baby sleeping in her car seat next to me. Bub sits across from me, eating his beans and rice with gusto. Jenna’s husband, Reid, is finally able to join in the fun after a long day at work. 

Conversation turns to Brian, and questions are flying about his upcoming graduation, job prospects, what his future holds. I let their words fall away and turn my focus onto Baby Girl. Thinking no one is watching, I run my finger lightly over her little foot. I straighten her hair bow, and tuck a stray corner of blanket back into it’s rightful place. Just a moment. I wanted just a moment with her. And when it’s over, I rejoin the conversation. 



And the evening rolls on.

As we emerge from the restaurant, the sun and moon are struggling for possession of the sky. It’s a three hour drive back to our house,



We drive Jenna and the kids back home. Gifts are exchanged, a few more pictures are taken, and it’s time to take our leave. I hug and kiss each child soundly, knowing they’ll have grown even more by the next time I get to visit. Brian and I fight over who hugs Jenna last. More waving, hugging, promises of future visits. And then it’s just the two of us again, heading back toward home.

Our headlights pierce the darkness and the tears I’ve fought all day finally come. I cry because my best friend lives so far away. I cry because I’m so happy that we got this time together, however brief. 





It is nearing midnight when we get home. And still, I pull out the memory card from my camera, loading the pictures onto my computer screen. And Brian and I relive our day–all smiles and giggles and songs and love–before heading to bed.

 

Be Enough Me: It’s That Time. Again.

We’ve been down this road before, more than once. Ovulation charts, fertility monitors, basal thermometers. The overwhelming sadness and defeat that comes with negative pregnancy tests. The wave of hope that comes with a new pill. The nights laying awake, imagining the moment when I can finally announce to the world that I am with child.


When Brian got sick in 2010, all those plans went on the back burner.  Birthing plans turned into survival plans. Daydreams about a tow-headed toddler were replaced with nightmares of losing my partner. The constant chirp-chirp-chirp of the monitors were for my husband, battling cancer, not for me, a new baby in my arms. Priorities were rearranged. The bottle of Clomid was shoved into the corner of the medicine cabinet, replaced with pain pills, stool softeners, vitamins and Scarguard. When your husband is fighting for his life, the last thing on your mind is where you are in your menstrual cycle.


Here we are, almost a year and a half after Brian’s surgery, and that familiar yearning, that tug on my heart, that desperate desire to be a mother, has returned.


It never really went away. I’ve always wanted children, for as long as I can remember. We were distracted for awhile, by an ugly monster named Cancer, but that distraction is over. And now, the time to start over, to try again, has arrived.


As the end of the year approaches, and with it, Brian’s graduation from nursing school, my anxiety increases. I point my browser to all those familiar websites, rereading articles on infertility treatments that I could already recite in my sleep. I find myself flipping through the pages of the numerous pregnancy books already on my shelf. My list of baby names has already started growing again. 


Every day, as I jog around our property, iTunes in my ear, my mantra has changed. No longer do I hear “breathe in, breathe out” as my feet pound the ground. Now it’s “baby, baby.” With every inch I lose, every pound I drop, I feel like I’m closer to my goal. Not to fit into a pair of jeans. But to get my body healthy. So I can carry a baby.


At least once a day I find myself standing in front of a mirror, hands on my stomach, lost in a daydream of “what if” and “when.”


For now, the timing still isn’t right. There are tests to be taken, finals to study for, and projects to complete. It gives me time to get myself ready–mentally, physically, emotionally–for the road we are about to travel again. To prepare myself for the roller coaster that goes with trying to get pregnant when you’ve failed so many times before.


For now, we proceed without the aid of doctors. No drugs, no treatments, no hormones. Just us. 


For now, I pour myself into the other children in my life. I am actively spoiling my godchildren…



…and I will continue to champion little Everett, until he is well and home with his family again.


For now, I am simply in the planning stages. Thinking over my strategies. Hoping beyond hope that we won’t need medical intervention. Trying to stamp out my fear of failure and, ultimately, the inability to get pregnant at all. 



I will face my fears and start over. Again. Because I must. Because destiny tells me I must. And because this time, just maybe, we will be successful.



 

I ♥ My Godchildren

Yesterday was one of those days that was so special, it requires few words. A road trip through the countryside, time spent with the best kind of friends, baby snuggles and a birthday to celebrate…fewer things are more precious.

My goddaughter, Ellie.
Swing time with my godson, Jacob.
Bub, aka the cake monster.
Fussy Baby Girl.
“Cheeeeeeeese!”

These pictures truly are worth more than a thousand words.

Thank you to Jenna and Reid for letting us share in the fun yesterday! And thank you for giving us the gift of godchildren. We love them both, down to the very last hair on top of each of their adorable heads.