Baby Love

The 20s are all about giving your love. Love. What a powerful word. What does it mean to love or to be loved? Everyone has their own definition and it feels different for each and every one of us. You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else or expect anyone to love you for that matter. Self-love is the most important love because it's where all other love comes from. When you love yourself, then and only then are you able to give your love. But love isn't always given freely; sometimes it has to be earned. This is not one of those times. This is baby love. 
For as long as I can remember I have loved kids but specifically babies and particularly newborns. It's such a weird thing to say but it's the absolute truth. When I was in high school I volunteered in a maternity ward for just over two years and absolutely loved it. Every Wednesday my parents would drop me off and for a solid three hours I would get to be the best version of me. I donned my teal green polo, clipped on my badge, sanitized and prepared to brave the labyrinth that was the hospital doing my best to bring happiness, care, and authenticity to everyone I came across. There was something special about that place, and that floor. Maybe it was the hardworking nurses who gave their all to make sure the new moms and babies were safe and comfortable. Maybe it was because most people who came through there were overjoyed to have a new addition to their family. Maybe it was the simplistic beauty of the pure vulnerability that was embodied in the infants in the nursery. Whatever it was it made my time there the highlight of my high school experience, fueled my passion for people, and gave me a possibility for my future career (albeit one that changed).

I will never forget getting my college decision from Yale and being rejected but going to just to be silent, sit quietly, and take in the reality of the nursery. I don't think I've ever known such serenity again. It was peaceful. It was calm. It was perfect. I can never forget it because it was exactly what I needed at that moment. Babies, believe or not are the best listeners. Sure they can't talk baby in our "civilized" languages but they communicate their love, affection, and care just the same. There's nothing like having a baby hold tight onto your finger giving you this remarkable grip and squeezing you like everything's going to be okay. That's an experience; that's baby love.

Baby's teach us the true meaning of love. They have nothing to offer except themselves. They cannot do anything for you. They cannot even say I love you back, and yet they are some of the most loving people. That's all they can be. They show us that love giving yourself to someone else just because - without expecting anything in return.
Last week I had the great honor to help take care of (not babysit - that's what you do for others not your family) my 6 week old niece, Quinn. Many a nickname have I bestowed upon her Quinnith, Quinnberly, and my personal favorite Boo-Boo. She is amazing - truly, madly, deeply amazing. When she looks at you, it's as if she's peering into the very depths of your soul. When her head touches yours her warmth touches your heart. When she falls asleep in your arms you are reminded of what's most important in this life and that's love, hope, and light. We were hanging out and as I fed her she did something out the ordinary, she grabbed my finger and held on to it. Not like the reflex all babies have, but it seemed purposeful. It was like she was letting me know that we would all be okay, that she would be fine, and that all would turn out well. That's a lot from one squeeze but hey a girl's got to work with what she's got - that is everything. I solemnly swear there is not a child more loved, adored, and fawned over than her. Thinking of her brings me nothing but immense emotion like overwhelming exuberance, fierce protection, and uplifting aspiration. Dear Baby Quinn, I love you, forever and always. You are baby love.
Being aware of how weird you is kind of makes it all okay. So in addition to having a list of my groomsmen on my phone (yeah that list is getting shorter weekly) I keep the first and middle names of what I'd like to name my future children. Whenever what I'm doing seems tedious, pointless, or too hard, I say their names and remember it's all for them. You know it's also really funny because I'm pretty sure I'm going to adopt kids so I probably won't get to name them. I also lean towards older adoptees too like kids in foster homes and even high school age teenagers. I don't know, there's just something about being a teenager (wow I haven't typed that series of words in a while) that resonates with me so powerfully. I would love to be able to be the one to believe in someone at that age who might need it. One of my most personal dreams is to sponsor teenagers to not only make it through high school but to support them through college and beyond to empower them to aspire to change the world. Education, I know now more than ever, is the best way to create change and to convey love that will last beyond your years. Baby, that's love.
The Future Kiddos: Jonathan Alexander, Asher Cameron, Graham Joash, Sadie Eden, Kaia Blair, and Berkeley Christopher

I've always loved Biblical names and the potent meanings behind them. Names mean a lot and I truly believe they influence our lives. We either live up to them or live trying to shed them. Jonathan in particular is my favorite name; his story with being a loyal friend to David as his father Saul pursued and tried to kill him is my all time favorite.

*You know I have multiple pinterest boards but I'll share my wedding one here and my house one here. Also totally okay with not having a partner. I really just want kids - that's it.
 Stone manor; a place that you never want our need to leaveA mom of five shares why her children have shared bedrooms for the last 18 years. Filled with both pros, cons, and home decor ideas.Boy's gray and navy nursery | Nightingale Design
My blog post question for the day is ... what are you favorite baby names? I've shared mine, what about yours.


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