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Thursday, July 26, 2012

a book for sweet ella jean...

This is Ella Jean.  She is perfect.  Really perfect.  And really beautiful!  And has been since she the minute she was born.  
Ella is the daughter of one of my girlfriends, Sarah.  Sarah is on my list of my most favorite people.  She is smart and pretty and witty.  And she’s a good listener and a great friend who’s always willing to let me vent frustrations, talk me through my sorrows and/or celebrate my joys.  Now, she is a mother. And all those things that make her a wonderful friend will also make her an amazing mommy!
I love seeing my friends become parents to human babies (I do consider myself a mommy to Miss Penelope the wonder dog!).  When, on a whim, I asked Sar if she was pregnant in a late afternoon phone conversation last fall, I was trying to be provocative and funny, I guess.  But she said, “YES!”  I wasn’t exactly expecting her to say she was in fact expecting.  I hollered with joy.  And then, I cried.  
Sarah and her hubby Phrai are approaching their 5 year anniversary this fall.  They’ve been together since our freshman year of college.  Eleven years.  I appreciate their relationship because it is real. They don’t put on airs as individuals, or as a couple.  And they really, really, really love each other and work hard for their continually evolving relationship.  They are a beacon!
They’ve only been parents to Ella for just over two months.  Already I can’t remember what it was like before she was in their world.  I haven’t met Ella yet.   I ask a lot of questions. They send a lot of pictures. Sometimes I can hear her little noises in the background of phone calls.  It never feels like enough.  I want to be Aunt Lindsay... but Ella doesn’t know me yet.
When thinking about ways I can be present in her life from one point five hours by plane and twelve hours by car, I thought about my interests/talents. 
I love cute baby clothes.  I mailed that in a care package early in Sar’s pregnancy.
I love the "baby smell." I sent all my favorite Burt’s Bees baby products in that care package. 
I love children’s books.  I mailed a few of those for her shower, with elephants, of course!
And after she was born (and I sobbed uncontrollably reading the brand new Poppa’s proud text announcing his sweet baby girl), I was aching to meet her...  So I went to what I know best, making something crafty to express my joy.  I made them a scrapbook of their pregnancy, the recent purchase of their home and the birth of sweet Ella Jean.  I was bursting at the seams to tell Sar all about what I was working on.  I did pretty good keeping that secret until I sent her a sneak peek picture of one of the pages.  And finally 23 days after Ella came into this world, I finished the book. What a feeling of accomplishment!
It was either $15 to mail the book with delivery in 5-7 days or $23 for 2-3 day delivery.  I chose the 5-7 option, although it was a painful wait... but I knew it was on it’s way!!!  It was a week before I heard anything from Sar.  And on July 9, I got an amazing text from her:
“Ahhhhhh!!!!  YOU!!!  There are no words! I’m crying – it’s beautiful!  Thank you doesn’t begin to cut it! I love you! Thank you!!!”
My heart overflowed. I had found a special, personal way to tell them how much I love them and how excited I was for their newest adventure.  And how much I love Ella already!  And they enthusiastically consented to me sharing the pages of their scrapbook on my blog, so here were go!

The first page & "E" is for Ella!

A pocket for the sonogram and a pocket of journaling
tags for them to fill out together!

She looked so great her whole pregnancy!

Amazingly, they bought their house in her last trimester... and
had to move.  I don't know how she did it.  She is amazing!

I left spots for them to fill in their memories!

BUMP!  Sar said she felt huge, but she was all baby & so cute!

Shopping for baby essentials two
weeks before her due date.
I picked untraditional colors, but had to include pops of pink too!  Love how this turned out with all the trinkets and flowers.  Busy, but so fun! And of course left a place for the shower invite and a list of the guests.

The big day!

Ella's first breath & meeting her parents.

Sar & Phrai love elephants, and so do I!
Made sure elephants made it into the book!

More elephants, more pink & bows!  Isn't Ella precious!??

Some pages were per-done and just needed embellishing.
I kept it simple here.

Family is everything!

Proud Poppa & Ella laughing!

Look at those sweet cheeks!

To Ella Jean; With Love, Aunt Lindsay
It is hard to be so far from someone I love so much in such a time of change.   I know that Ella Jean will know me and I will know her!  And I’m not really worried about it.  I do wish I could stop by after work to say hi or meet them at the park for a walk.  Or better yet, bring cupcakes and Starbucks over for an afternoon visit with Sar.  But what this distance has given me is something even more precious: gratitude.  I am grateful beyond words for the closeness of this friendship, Sar’s candidness about the ins and outs of pregnancy and breast feeding, and the initial feelings of being overwelmed when becoming a mother.  I appreciate her willingness to pick up the phone to chat for even just five minutes because it’s almost time to feed Ella, but she wants to say hi.  I’m grateful that she shares little stories about Ella, and pictures too. And ultimately, I am the most grateful that she is so humbly wonderful at being a friend!


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