After only blogging once in the past year and half, I have so much to share. But none of it matters if I didn’t first introduce our sweetest little boy! Born on July 31, the morning of a full blue moon after 33 hours of labor, Benjamin River Garahan is the most delicious babe I ever have met.
heart outside of my body.
We thought his blonde hair, receding hairline and wrinkly little face made him look like an old little businessman. Mr Neidermier. From ze bank.
10 days old! All professional pics of us in this post by my favorite Jen Simon
Both PJ and I are brown-haired and hazel-eyed and while PJ was a tow-headed child, we were so surprised to meet a blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby! I even dreamt him to be almost Egyptian-looking, so for him to arrive looking more Scandinavian instead took a moment of adjustment. I get how genetics work but I just kept thinking- who is this blonde baby and where did he come from? I thought that when I met him I would look into his eyes and feel like I was seeing an old familiar friend, but that was not at all the case. Staring back at me was a completely unfamiliar new person to get to know. Needless to say I fell in love the second his heavy, wet wriggling body was placed on mine– but my first in many lessons of what it means to be “expecting”. I like to think his big blue eyes are a symbol of his being born on a full blue moon but even more special is that the only people in our family with light eyes are my dad who had swimming-pool blue eyes (he died when I was 19) and PJ’s dad who has gray-blue eyes. So Ben’s, which are a bright, deep blue, are a combination of both his grandfathers.
One thing that did not surprise me was that Ben is a boy. Since we both felt strongly that a baby’s gender is one of those surprises worth waiting for, we didn’t find out beforehand what we were having. The wait was excruciating, but less so because I was so sure of his boy-ness.
But we’d been calling him “baby” for so long that once we were actually gazing at his cute little face, it was so hard to call him anything other than that. I just kept singing “baby, baby, baby” … calling him any other name felt so strange.
Ultimately we chose ‘Benjamin River’ because we wanted a name that was both strong and gentle, and in the past nine months we’ve been getting to know him, he has been just that. Strong, gentle, driven, alert, and completely enamored with his senses. If I snuffle or say something into his ear, he smiles so big and leans back for more. He loves to pat and squeeze the arm or chest of whoever is feeding him. He is silly, and with an “impish sense of humor,” his Nana says. He eats most everything with gusto, and studies everything intensely. In baby music classes he likes to sit in the middle of the circle and watch what everyone is doing- god forbid I try to hold him in my lap and puppet his arms to the group song! His independence breaks my heart a little, although the irony is that I bet he gets it from me. The fact that he likes crawl far away from us in the grass (FAST!), then turn around and smile, or scoot all over the house and tap doors until they click shut (at which point he will play happily) totally cracks me up now but I don’t even want to know what this will mean for when he’s older.
Generally content, easy to please, and happy in the arms of many, I couldn’t have asked for a better baby. At 9 months old, he’s now standing without holding onto anything and I’d say just about a week or two from walking. I can’t believe he’s so big already, and watching him reveal elements of his personality is the very best. While being a Mom is for sure the most challenging thing I’ve ever been called to do, nothing has ever felt so natural and I just burst with pride to call him my son.
And while I very much have missed this space and wish I’d been documenting this phase of my journey, the effort I made to be present during it is one of the choices I’m most proud of- even picking up our family and moving to Nicaragua for two months simply to enjoy each other and nothing else. I intend to share more about that trip, our new life as a parents, my work transition, and what the future holds for us as a family– but because this post is all about Benito, I’ll save that for other posts and leave you with a gratuitous amount of pics: