Tuesday evening, I was attempting to eat a quick dinner while Arabelle was bouncing around in her exersaucer. She started with her "da da," and I said "ma." My hope was she would be saying "ma ma" by the time Courtney returned home from class. Arabelle had other plans. We went back and forth, me saying "ma," and her responding "da." It came to the point where my food had to rest on the coffee table, as this little eight-month-old human and I were both laughing. We attempted to replicate this banter with "ma ma" in the room last night, but it just did not quite take off.
Those private Tuesday evening moments have been a blessing, but they are somewhat coming to an end. In two weeks, Courtney will complete her graduate studies and be awarded a master's degree in instructional design and technology. Hopefully she understands just how amazed and proud I am of her tackling pregnancy, a full-time job and being a first-time mom all while completing this degree program the past two years. It is safe to say we are all thrilled to have this portion of our life coming to a close, but secretly I hope Arabelle and I can still have our own little moments.
Courtney returned to class only a couple of weeks after Arabelle's birth. Neither of us had hesitation about what needed to be done. I came home and took care of our little baby while she drove to the UGA Gwinnett campus. These were my first few moments alone with Arabelle. At only a few weeks old, I have to admit ... it was really easy. She slept a lot, ate and pooped. Dad was able to catch up on the DVR while basically being lazy with a baby. It was great.
Those Tuesday evenings have changed quite a bit since September. As she has grown, she has required more attention. Recently we've been spending a good bit of time outside on those evenings; playing in the grass, waving to neighbors passing by, letting the dogs entertain us, bird watching. In eight short months she has become so much more aware of her surroundings.
I'm sure Arabelle and I will continue to have daddy/daughter time, but these last couple of Tuesday evenings will be very special to me. They will always be a cherished part of my life. Moving forward though, it is equally as important we celebrate "ma ma's" accomplishment.
This past fall our athletic director brought in Dr. Earl Suttle to speak to the entire athletic association. There are tons of motivational speakers out there making the rounds, and I've heard several in my life. When listening to one I find it important to take away not the entire discussion but bits and pieces. One thing Dr. Suttle discussed was celebrating our successes. Now, I've never been one to turn down a good party, but this really clicked with me. I had just witnessed my wife give birth and we had just become aunt & uncle a second time to lovely Ms. Alice. These are major life events, and it is important to recognize and celebrate them.
Courtney is someone who does not care for being the center of attention. Despite this fact, she and I have discussed the importance of celebrating the milestone of her graduate school completion. Life really is precious. We really do need to tell our loved ones how we feel. We need to celebrate the successes. Too often we can be pulled into the disappointments or pain we feel in life. These are moments which should be dealt with. Although what is more important? Some say success breeds success. If that is the case, why not fully celebrate every success in life?
So how are we going to celebrate? Graduation day is important. She will walk for the first time, since she chose not to walk as an undergrad. She will be surrounded by family that day and will be able to take a picture dressed in her cap & gown, holding her daughter. Pretty neat. We are planning to have a big lunch spread back at the house that afternoon, and hopefully she'll finally open that bottle of Belle Glos Pinot she's kept locked up.
We are also continuing the celebration in June with a trip to Mexico. Drug cartel jokes aside, we plan to live it up with Doug and Lindsey. The end of June will also mark five years of marriage. Our anniversary, along with Courtney's degree completion and our first year of parenthood deserves a fantastic celebration.
So while those Tuesday evenings with Arabelle are coming to a close, it is far greater we celebrate the successes. Hopefully someday Lady A will understand this too. Do not dwell on the negative; celebrate all you have and all you have accomplished.