Second Baby Boy = Second Chances

Joshua Edward Cole has arrived on March 24th! He is the EXACT opposite of Big Brother Jacob so far. At this stage with Jacob, I was asking my husband if the hospital would let me return my colicky son to them. I know, it sounds horrible for a mother to say that. But I was a first-time mom with a newborn who screamed and nursed. There were no two hour lulls like with Joshua.

At Joshua’s 48 hour appointment, I asked the doctor if he was ill. She asked me why I thought that and I told her that all he does is eat and sleep; maybe he had jaundice if he was so lethargic. She giggled at me and mentioned that Joshua was doing exactly what newborns are supposed to do.

I had it in my head my entire pregnancy that I was heading into a storm – a newborn (which I assumed would nurse and scream like Jacob did) and an active 2 year old. I have a vivid imagination so instead of getting excited about our new addition on the way, this is more along the lines of what I pictured:

Image by Heath Robbins
Image by Heath Robbins

It feels like God has sent me a little miracle. Maybe with a note that says:

“I owe ya one, Kid. Here’s a little baby boy who will be a sweet newborn. Now go on, fall in love with being a Mommy. I know the first time around those moments passed you by in the chaos.”

They did. I can’t recall moments with Jacob when I was able to sit down quietly with my chin on his soft little head and breath in his beautiful scent. I’m not saying they didn’t happen, I just can’t bring those memories to the surface. I was so busy being anxious about what would happen next and when the screaming would start that I couldn’t live in the moment.

Joshua is my second chance at falling in love. And I’m taking all the little moments in… because they’re already almost gone. He’ll be one month soon, then before I know it he’ll be a toddler, running away from me giggling, and after that, closing his bedroom door in my face so he can have privacy.

I sit here and try so hard to etch these sweet moments in my mind, I hope they never fade. I hope I can bring them to the surface when I need to and relive them. Until I need to do that though, I’m going to live in these moments right now and be thankful that God has blessed me with another little boy to raise.

Taking It All In

taking it all in photo

Driving home from a visit to Granny’s yesterday I was singing to Jacob. He was sitting in the backseat watching the scenery go by. Content and sweet. As I looked in the rear-view mirror and watched him gaze outside the window with wonder, it hit me, I love him so much.

I’ve had those moments more than a few times since he’s been born. A rush of emotion, a rush of love, flooding my senses and completely overwhelming me.

I whisper his name and watch his head turn towards me. He arches his back to get a look at mummy in the front seat. Then I say “Hi!” and giggle. And he giggles with delight, like I’m the funniest person in the world. We continue this game for the rest of the drive. By the time we’re turning on our street he has the hiccups from laughing so much. And I have tears in my eyes from the joy I get from his simple little laugh.

Some days I find myself wishing the minutes away to his next nap so I can have some rest or get things done. But in the moments that I’m filled with love for him, I suddenly regret all the minutes I wished time away. I realize I’m being selfish in those moments. I can’t help it. I’m human. I enjoy me time.

So when I find myself overwhelmed with love for him during car rides or rocking him to sleep, I take every second in. I remind myself how quickly this will pass. How I’ll look back on these days when he’s a teenager who no longer lets me stroke his hair or lick my finger and wipe a crumb from his face. One day, he’ll no longer cry for me in the night. He’ll no longer crave to lay his little head in the crook of my neck. He’ll no longer think I’m the funniest person in the world, instead he’ll think I’m the most embarrassing.

So today and every day, I’m going to take it all in. Try and etch every expression on his face into my memory, especially the ones when his face lights up as I walk into the room.

Thinking of Nonna


Nonna means Grandma in Italian. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately. Maybe because Easter is approaching and that’s when she’d make enough Easter bread to feed a village. I loved baking with her.

Growing up, I had the pleasure of her company all to myself for a few years when she lived with us. I remember those years with fondness. I was her helper when it came to baking, cleaning, and cooking.

She offered free hugs and cuddles all the time. And a good lecture too when I misbehaved. The only time I remember her relaxing was for an hour in the evening when she would watch her Italian soap opera, which the whole house could hear as she’d put the volume on full blast. She was partly deaf in her later years. And instead of turning her hearing aid up a notch, it was the TV volume instead. I used to giggle when she’d turn to me and ask in Italian “Is the TV too loud?” I’d tell her it was just fine.

I was amazed at her fearlessness. One sunny summer afternoon there was a garden snake in our yard. My mother shrieked, I ran. My Nonna? She casually picked up the snake and whipped it in the air like a cowboy about to lasso a bull. When it wouldn’t just die after its little head was slammed into the cement a few times. She hollered at me to grab a pot of hot water.

When I returned, she threw the half-dead snake in a bucket, and the hot water along with it, drowning the snake. I guess the hot water did the trick.

“There, it’s dead. Now let’s get back to picking those tomatoes.” And that was that. My mother and I were left a little shaken by the critter in our yard, but Nonna just got on with her day – there were things to be done after all.

Every night she’d read this small compact bible she had. I could hear her whispering away as she read the passages. Once she was done reading, she would hold the rosary in her hand while praying. Then she’d lean over turn off the lamp and go to sleep.

I’ll never forget one day she was going into our cantina to get some flour as we were baking homemade pasta. There is a big step to climb over to get into my parent’s cantina, and she lost her footing a bit and fell. I was so scared. Nonna wasn’t a fragile woman, she was big boned and tough. She got up, dusted herself off, turned around and said to me:

“Don’t tell your mother about this. She’s only going to worry and lecture me on how I should rest. I’ll rest when I’m dead.”

“So you want me to lie to mommy?” I asked her in my broken Italian, knowing that it really wouldn’t be a lie. I just wanted to hear what she had to say in response. She said the greatest things.

“If mommy comes home from work and asks you if I fell today, then tell her the truth. But if she doesn’t ask you, then there is no need to tell her, is there?” She said to me with a wink.

One night, my parent’s went to a wedding. Nonna asked me what I wanted for dinner. There was a pack of Macaroni and Cheese in the pantry that my mother bought about a year ago and never made for me. I really wanted that. And it would still be good since those things don’t expire for a few decades. When I showed Nonna the box she wrinkled her nose at it and mumbled how disgusting it was. I begged her to make it for me. So she did.

She placed the dish of fluorescent orange macaroni and cheese in front of me at the table. She watched as my eyes lit up. Then she shook her head and took the plate off the table, throwing the food in the garbage.

“That isn’t food. It’s too bright! Not natural for food to be so bright. You want cheesy pasta? I’ll make you some.” About twenty minutes later I was eating fettuccini Alfredo.

Sometimes I wish I could still talk to her, ask her for advice when it comes to Jacob. She used to cure us kids of anything when we were younger. Whether it was a bad cough, sore tummy, headache or stuffy nose, she’d whip up a concoction that was offering us relief in minutes.

I can feel her sometimes too. There was this one time I was watching Jacob sleep in my arms after rocking him. I felt a nudge at my elbow. It was so forceful that my arm jerked a little. I looked up quickly expecting someone to be there, but it was just Jacob and I. And then I felt her. It was as though she were alive and in the room with me. I stayed there for an extra fifteen minutes that night. Just rocking Jacob, feeling Nonna and enjoying the moment.

When I’m having a bad day, when I’m feeling blue, defeated and tired, I think of her. I think of the tough, hardworking, never-complaining woman she was. I think of how long she lived, how she watched the world change before her eyes and always adapted without a single complaint. I also think about her when I find myself complaining about little things and feel guilty. She was a simple woman. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren are what brought her joy. She didn’t need anything else but to be there for her family. I want to be more like her.

What do you love about your Grandmother? What are your favorite memories about her?