I'll Follow Your Trail
I'll probably never forget how Alaina told me that she was pregnant with Kenzie. Natural kids were always a possibility but after five years of marriage we had purchased a small house and had begun to talk about adoption and reading materials. Our two small cars (a mini cooper and two-door civic) just barely fit in the garage. I parked and walked inside.
At some point, Alaina sat me down on the couch. At the time it was in the middle-ish of the room (Alaina hates to have all the furniture against the wall) facing away from the TV. She sat me down and slowly started to sob. Her voice kinda cracked as she spoke about her being tired recently and how I had probably noticed.
I was fairly certain at the time that she was about to tell me she was gravely sick. But I sat there and listened to her cough out between flowing tears that she was pregnant. It might seem rude, but to this day I still think the whole thing was hilarious.
Judah's announcement was somewhat less climatic. Walking with Kenzie to the mail, Alaina casually—and out of nowhere—dropped the "I'm pregnant" as we crossed the street. I still laugh about that one. I think Alaina got a little frustrated about my mocking of her because her announcement game has been strong since. Olivia's announcement came Father's day morning with a well-crafted card.
I've elsewhere documented the announcement of the baby we lost last year. A six pack of my favorite beer for the sixth Torrey. The week before "announcement Monday" we had bought some incredibly cheap airline tickets to Italy. Monday evening we canceled them in celebration. But that child was not to remain with us long.
Cora's announcement resounded softly in the midst of pain and confusion. A simple text message (with a picture) indicating that we were pregnant. I sent Alaina a picture of the 20-year-old Scotch that I had bought for her birthday and our 10th wedding anniversary.
18-year-old me could not have been ready for any of these children. Neither the announcements, births, loss, or growing pains. I neither knew, properly speaking, how much I wanted children nor how fast what seemed like a normal day would dissipate. It took awhile for the words of Sean Rowe's "I'll Follow Your Trail" to sink into my dense head:
I didn't know I was lookin' for you
I didn't know there was something to find
Tomorrow you won't fit in yesterday's shoes
And I'm tryin' so hard to rewind
Maybe it's because my kids are so young that the shoe analogy struck home so accurately. We're buying our kids a new pair of boots ever couple months it feels like. I'm pretty sure my kids (currently on vacation) are being purchased new shoes.
I never knew a friend could be so small
And have a heart just as big as the moon
You know I can't stop you from growin' up
I just wish that it wasn't so soon
It's been a staple of our house to treat our children as individual moral agents from birth. Treating them as growing and developing people has had its successes and struggles. I've always and often said, I know my kids will disagree with me as they grow up, but my goal is to give them the tools to be correct when they do so. It has never been hard to think of them as kids, but their maturity (for their age) has been surprising as of late.
Through the years, the sorrow
The joy that we borrow
The tears that we share with the rain
Oh today, tomorrow
Forever I'll follow your trail
Just call my name