Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving, Part 1

I create all of my "My Life" logos
The Thanksgiving holiday weekend has always been an important one for the Wencl family, and since Hannah has joined us, I get to celebrate with the Walts as well.

Hannah and I weren't sure what to expect from this year's trip up to Michigan since we had an extra package in the back seat—Miss Abigail Renee Wencl! Just a few days shy of eight weeks, she'd never been on such a long car trip and Hannah and I weren't sure if she'd sleep the whole time, scream the whole time, or pull off a combination of the two during the six hour car ride. Add to that all of the baby items (necessary, my wife assures me), and the car was cramped with stuff. I feared that Abigail’s things would take first priority, followed by Hannah’s. Somewhere near the end of the priority list my things would find their place, or not find there place, as the case would be.

Hannah picked up a new windshield wiper at my behest since a good portion of the trip would be traversed in wet weather. The wiper was in the back seat and I had to put it on. My lovely wife, no doubt in an effort to conserve space, threw out the packaging for the new wiper and left me clueless as to how to attach it to the car. The old one came off easy enough, but the new one was slightly different and took multiple attempts to secure to my satisfaction.

Center of Attention: Adored by
her grandparents and auntie.
I-69 is terribly dull. It’s mostly just straight driving the whole way and the scenery hardly changes. Add in some rain and a little bit of driving in the dark and you have a recipe for heavy eyelids and light snoring. I was glad Hannah was taking that part of the drive. Abigail slept most of the way, but feeding time came early and I transitioned to the driver’s seat a half hour before hitting the Michigan state line. The halfway point of the trip is about fifteen to twenty minutes inside Michigan.
During the rest stop Hannah learned how to change a baby’s diaper in a gas station without one of those drop-down changing tables. I’m not sure how she did it, but she insists it was sanitary and also insists we only stop at gas stations with restaurants attached—they always have changing tables.

Unfortunately, that meant I would be driving completely in the dark and in a constant drizzle that didn’t end in Lansing like the morning weather report had suggested. My companion in conversation took a brief nap so I listened to an audiobook to keep myself somewhat coherent during the drive as I took in the hypnotizing windshield wipers as they swayed back and forth, beckoning me to drift out of consciousness and onto the rumble strips.

Caught in the Middle: She can't avoid it!
The closer we got to Big Rapids the more excited we got. When we saw the first exits for Morley our anticipation grew. It’s always been hard for me to accept just how far Morley is from the Big Rapids exit. We crossed the Muskegon River where I went fishing with my dad and sisters as a kid and we found seashell and lizard fossils and I would ride my bicycle in the summer.

As the big Menards loomed into sight and I flipped my right blinker while tapping the break, we let out a little cheer. We’re here! We’re home. Our Thanksgiving break had hardly begun.

Monday, November 14, 2011

From Hannah's Perspective

From Hannah:

It’s 9 pm and Abigail is crying almost inconsolably. She’s been changed, fed, burped, swaddled, and rocked, but still the crying persists. This evening is no different than nearly every evening from about 6 to 11 pm. The doctors called it colic, but the medicine they gave her for colic didn’t help much the first night we tried it. Sometimes I’m tempted to feel resentful towards my adorable bundle of joy when we spend most of our evening trying to soothe her every day. I remember when we used to be able to go shopping on a whim or watch AND hear a 2-hour movie in 2 hours.

I think that’s one of the reasons why God gives us children. They force us to grow up and become less selfish. I thought I had reached the pinnacle of unselfishness after getting married (don’t try to confirm that with my husband), but God still has more work to do. My life is a vapor of a few decades. But the legacy that I pass on to Abigail, she to her children, and they to their children… has eternal implications. That truth carries me through the screaming evenings right now.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yes, Hon, we’re going to need that

I may be stepping beyond the bounds of propriety here, but my wife feeds Abigail “the natural way.” Although at first she didn’t think it seemed so natural, she’s since gotten the hang of it (no pun intended). Hannah’s got it figured out too.

She’s not the all-natural au natural kind of person who wants to share this experience with mall passersby or the people sitting with us in church, either. That’s why we’re thankful to have a nursing cover. It’s like half an apron, only wider and doesn’t tie in the back.

Tongue-tied? I think it means she's concentrating.
Like any nifty tool designed to make our lives easier, it is only useful insofar as we have it with us when Abigail decides she’s hungry. This Sunday it proved to be as useless as a green binky at 4 a.m. (which is pretty useless if you’ve ever had need of one at 4 a.m.).

We got together with some friends to celebrate a birthday at a local restaurant. On our way in I asked Hannah if she had grabbed the diaper bag. That is a misnomer. To Hannah, a diaper bag serves one primary purpose—storing diapers. Since she wasn’t planning on changing Abigail’s diaper at the Olive Garden, she left it in the car. A few minutes later Abby started crying.

Fortunately we had Abigail’s green blanket with us, so we could engage in the natural feeding method. But I felt like a doofus for holding up a green blanket over my wife, who also felt very much like a doofus. At least we were both feeling silly together.

You’d think we’d learn. But no, we’re not into that kind of thing. So we went to a missions expo at a local church. Yet again we left the diaper bag behind. And yet again my dear child became hungry. Hannah and I sat at a table in the cafeteria area (how appropriate) while I held a green blanket over the two Wencl girls and tried to console myself with the fact that at least she didn’t have a diaper blowout.