Thursday, September 13, 2012

Letter to Pearl

Baby Pearl...
You and my Caedmon are so close to the same age. Days apart, actually.
The same week I found out Caedmon was breech, I read your sweet Mama's letter about you. My worry and fear about delivering a breech baby seemed so small and frivolous after that.

Your Mama reminded me in a time of my life that, in so many areas, I was focused on the here and now, that there is so much more than these momentary worries and stresses.
When Caedmon was coming, and when he was born, I kept thinking about you and your family: how different things might be for y'all, underneath all the sameness of labor and welcoming a child.
I've struggled with feeling guilty for the predictability, the "normality", the non-crisis-ness of our lives.
I've also fallen in love with you, Baby Pearl. That's what we call you here.
Never just "Pearl", but "Baby Pearl". We do it with our babies too.
"Baby Pearl" and "Baby Caedmon".
It's sort of a transition between "the baby" (we've only had ultrasound on 2 of our 8, and never found out the gender), and the new name.
You and Caedmon are both outgrowing the "Baby" part of your names now.
But in my mama-brain, you and Caedmon are so tied together...
Born so close together.
As I labored, I prayed for your mama's labor. For peace, and comfort, and trust in the God of beautiful creation who knit you so beautifully.
When I held him for the first time, and heard him cry, and felt those twitches and wiggles that I'd been feeling so long from the inside, I prayed for your mama... I didn't even know *what* I prayed, not knowing if her heart would be thrilled and soothed with the beautiful sound of a baby's first cry, or if she would be listening to the silence of a soul already in the presence of it's Creator.
When I woke in the night to feed Caedmon again, or change his diaper, I always checked your dad's tweets
 to see how things are going for your family.
In the mornings, when I had my quiet times, I always checked your website, to see if you were here yet.
Once you were here, defying the odds, our family all looked at your pictures and your story together. I think the "our new baby" feelings were still running high in our children too, and they took you right in.
Your picture soon after you were born is one of my favorite pictures of all time. It captures such opposites for me:
the vulnerability, helplessness, and tiny-ness of a newborn;
and the exhausted yet triumphant look of a champ.
I always hear a sweet coo, a tiny cry, and, faintly in the background, a "Yo Adrieeeeeeennnnne!" when I look at it.

Now, you and Caedmon have both seen the calendar page change. I still "check on Pearl" when I'm up at night feeding Caedmon.
Once in a while, I get tired and a little frustrated if he doesn't sleep when I think he ought to, or when I think I need to. Just then, I'll remember that your brave strong parents are working on much less sleep than me; and that they're probably not all that upset if you're not quite sleeping on their schedule just yet. Their goals and hopes are much more grounded in the things that really matter: Is Pearl breathing? Is Pearl seizing?
I check in on you, as much as I can, and I find that Pearl is still fighting, still winning. And my silly schedule looks,


I remember gratefulness.
I am grateful for all that I've been given.
and I am grateful for a beautiful Pearl who has taught me:
to be grateful.
to keep fighting.
that the odds really don't matter.
that the tiny and seemingly helpless can show us all what is really big and important,
if we will stop our pushing and bustling and listen.
I remember awe.
You remind me, you precious Pearl.
and I don't think I'll ever forget.
Since you've been born, since you've looked into your Dad's camera with those beautiful eyes,

my whole world has changed.

My children have noticed. They are grateful.

I've learned (some, it's a process, I have lots of growing to do), that the to-do list doesn't matter, the school checkoff list doesn't matter, the dust bunnies don't matter...
What matters is that we take this minute and we grab it, tight, with both hands, and we squeeze every bit of life out of it that we can, and we LOVE each other- hard - and we show it.
Because it's all we have.
We have no promise, no reason to expect anything beyond right now.
I've been too focused on performance, on getting it done.
Pearl, you have helped me learn more what matters.
What matters is loving each other while we can. Making each other feel loved while we can.
Thank you Pearl.
Thank you Eric and Ruth.
Thank you Brennan and Abbey.
Thank you for your courage to share this intensely personal journey with us.
If I could only let you know... our lives are changed by you.
By all of you.
We've never met you, and we may not meet you until time is no more, but we love you.
We think of you every day.
Every thing our Caedmon does, we think of Pearl.
Almost every kiss we give our Caedmon, we send one to Pearl.
Each time our children are "big brother" or "big sister" we think of Brennan and Abbey.
Each time I wake with Caedmon, I check on Pearl.
And I love you all.

This post is linked to Letters to Pearl.


  1. Staring at this blank box not sure what to say.

    This letter is stunningly beautiful, beautifully personal, so honest and so sweet. Thank you for loving Pearl and her family as you are loving your own. The way you've intertwined their lives with yours is so lovely. And thank you for sharing it here for us to see.

    With a heart full of thanksgiving for your part in this grand story,

  2. That was a two-tissue read. Thanks for writing, and for sharing. {{{{hug}}}}

  3. beautiful post. Pearl is such a blessing to all of us :)