Sep 20, 2008

The Meeting of the Mothers

Our family at Suicide Cliff Lookout, Sabbath, September 27, 2008. From L to R, my mom Rosalind; Barbara's mom, Carol; Me, Elijah, and Babs.

It took them ten years and the birth of their first grandchild, but our mothers finally made the epic journey across the vast Pacific to our little tropical outpost. They arrived here on Thursday night, September 18 and since then Babs, Elijah, and I have been living in the lap of luxury! They've been treating us like royalty--cooking for us, cleaning for us, changing and burping Elijah. We're so grateful for their help, but even more than that we're enjoying just being with them. It had been more than a year since we'd last seen our moms, and no matter how old you get there's just something reassuring about having mom around.

It's been fun to share our island life with our moms too--all our favorite restaurants, the most spectacular views, and the charms and rewards of working with our lovable students at the school. I think having seen it for themselves, they have a better understanding of why we've stayed here all these years.

Barbara's mom, Carol; Me; and my mom, Rosalind at the airport on the night of their arrival, September 18, 2008. They look pretty good for having been traveling for more than 24 hours!

The Mothers-turned-Grandmothers meet the Little Fella for the first time.

Three Generations: On the couch, me, Babs and Elijah, Carol and behind the couch, Rose.

Life with Elijah
Elijah is growing like a weed--he's up to almost 9 lbs already. He's a strong Little Fella--he can already turn himself over from his tummy to his back and he lifts his head a lot. This past week he's finally begun to show signs of developing a nighttime routine which makes things a little easier for the four of us. He typically goes three to four hours (and sometimes longer)between mealtimes at night but feeds more often during the day.

Elijah, being held by Grandma Carol "on the phone" with Aunt Dawn: "What's that you say? Shocking!"

Hanging out with Mommy

His shirt reads "Already Breaking Hearts." So true!

I love being a dad!

I love this expression. It's all about the eyes!

The Little Fella being held by Nona Rose.

Elijah Visits the School
On Friday, September 26 Babs returned to the school for the first time since before Elijah was born. This time she carried him in her arms and the kids were thrilled to get their first look at the long-awaited baby Maycock.

Elijah makes his debut at the end of our Friday joint worship program.

The fifth and sixth graders check out Elijah

The Little Fella is so popular!

A brief video of Elijah visiting with the third and fourth grade students.

Baby Dedication.

This past Sabbath, September 27, 2008 we had Elijah dedicated to the Lord. We figured it's never too soon to dedicate our precious little guy to the One who made him and Who cares for him even more than we do. Two other familes dedicated their boys at the same time as we did. Rhonda and Nicole videotaped the dedication and I will post it once I can edit down to a manageable size

Baby Dedication

All three families with their babies.

At church. So far Elijah has proved to be a very well-behaved churchgoer, though he does sleep through everything!

Dedication Day Portrait: From L to R, Pastor Eliki, Barbara's mom Carol, Elijah, Babs, my mom Rosalind, and me.

Seeing Saipan with the Moms
A few pics of our moms on their adventures around Saipan
Coffee Care for my mom's birthday. Sunday morning, September 21, 2008. We couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than to take her to our favorite restaurant in the whole world!

Nona and her grandson. Happy Birthday Mom! It's so nice to have you here.

The two intrepid travelers at the Last Command Post, Saipan. Sabbath, September 27, 2008.

Checking out Banzai Cliff.

Babs and her mom at Bird Island. (Note the rainbow in the background).

Babs with mom and mother-in-law at the Grotto.

The Auntie Brigade
The Plan was that our mothers would arrive in Saipan just a few days before Elijah was born. They would help us survive those exhausting, challenging first three weeks of his life. But God and Elijah had other plans. Our boy showed up three weeks early and Babs and I were left to fend for ourselves. Well, not entirely. I'm a big believer in the "It takes a village to raise a child" philosophy and we asked a few friends and colleagues to help us out. They became Elijah's "Auntie Brigade"--six women without whom we would never have made it through those first three weeks until the moms arrived! Amy, Jaimie, Rhonda, Andrea, and Carol came over on a rotating basis every evening so that Babs could rest and I could do non-baby work for a few hours. Gloria Pierson was our Breastfeeding Guru, who helped us navigate the tricky waters of Elijah's feeding via phone and e-mail. We deeply appreciate all these women did for us and for Elijah. Though busy with their own lives and responsibilities they took time to help us as we took our first tentative steps as parents. I'd also like to express my appreciation to all of our school and church family as well as friends in the community who have been so loving and supportive towards us and Elijah. The thoughtful gifts and offers of assistance have been meant so much to us. Together, you have added to our joy. Thank you!

Auntie Jaimie and Auntie Rhonda with Elijah. Jaimie's mom warned in a comment on this blog that Jaimie LOVED babies! So I took her at her word and asked Jaimie if she wouldn't mind coming over once a week to help with Elijah for a few hours. She readily agreed and Rhonda tagged along for the ride. Both women are true baby-lovers, and despite dealing with frantic crying jags and messy diaper changes, their enthusiasm for babies seems undimmed. Thanks you two for all your help!

Auntie Amy and Elijah Amy is our preschool and daycare director so her entire career is built around caring for little ones. Naturally she is absolutely crazy about babies and she has a lot of experience working with them. It only made sense to ask her to join the Auntie Brigade. Amy took more shifts than any of the aunties--Saturday nights as well as Wednesdays and Thursdays. It wasn't our intention to overwork her--she wanted to come that much, and probaly would have come every day, all day, if we'd let her. In fact, she tacked on a few bonus visits on Sundays during the day as well. It was thanks to Amy that Babs and I were able to have our first "date"--brunch at Coffee Care--since Elijah was born. Amy, as well as several of our other teachers also helped Carol clean up and organize our house on when Elijah was born and in the days immediately following. While Elijah was busy being born, she even purchased, delivered, and set up the crib for him. Thanks for everything, Amy!

Auntie Andrea with Elijah, working the "late shift". Andrea Stafford--unflappable, gentle, encouraging, and exceedingly patient-- was an indispensable auntie! She's been through this before (three times!) and has the cool, collected air of an expert. Every time she came over she soothed our rattled nerves and calmed our fears with her even-keeled, peaceful spirit. In addition to several hospital and home visits during Elijah's first week, Andrea came over the first Thursday night of Elijah's life, again the following day and then on each Tuesday after that until our moms arrived. She was also instrumental in helping Babs with learning to breastfeed. I was always amazed that with three young children of her own, Andrea still had the time, energy, and interest in coming over to help us with Elijah. The gift of her time and wisdom as a veteran mother meant so much to us. And a big thanks to Dr. Mike for holding down the fort at the Stafford home so that Andrea could come over.

Auntie Gloria, pictured here with her husband Ken. Though she's yet to see him in person or hold the Little Fella in her arms, Gloria Pierson was definitely an integral part of the Auntie Brigade. Her son Ken Junior is our good friend and the director of our dental clinic here on Saipan. In those foggy first days after Elijah's birth I can't remember whether it was he or his wife Crystal who gave us Gloria's contact information and told us to call her if we needed help. We were on the phone with her in the first week. You see, Gloria is a professional lactation consultant. Or as we put it, more informally, she is a Breastfeeding Guru! And her deep knowledge of the mysteries of nursing was exactly what we needed in those early days. Despite being on vacation at the time, Gloria was happy to talk to us on the phone at length and correspond via e-mail, answering our many questions, providing timely advice, and giving us unstinting encouragement. She even had a colleague express-mail some vital nursing equipment to us. Her professional knowledge and personal passion were invaluable to us as we struggled to learn how to feed Elijah. Thank you so much, Gloria. I'm sure the day will come when Elijah can can thank you himself with hugs and kisses!

Auntie Carol and Elijah. And then there's Carol Paez. Where do I begin? Barbara's closest friend in Saipan has been helping us with Elijah from the very beginning--literally. While they were both relaxing at the Mandi Spa one Saturday night in January, Barbara told her that she thought she might be pregnant. The next day Carol provided us with the pregnancy test that confirmed Elijah's existence. Carol spearheaded the clean up and organization of our house when Barbara went into labor three weeks earlier than expected. And she was in the delivery room with Barbara on the day he was born, helping her work through the contractions--Barbara says she could not have done it without Carol's reassuring presence and constant help. Carol was one of the first to hold Elijah, the first person outside the hospital staff to care for him. Since then she's been a lifeline to our new family. She came over many times in addition to her regular Sunday and Monday evening visits. She was there for, and helped facilitate what has become known as "The Breakthrough", when Elijah finally started feeding regularly. She gave him his first bath. Carol, with her years of experience as a nurse and as a mother, did so much to soothe our fears during the early days of Elijah's life when we feared disaster at every little change in our precious one. These few words of appreciation can't begin to cover the debt of gratitude we feel towards Carol for her generous help and heartfelt friendship. Something tells me that, whether near or far, Carol Paez is going to be an integral part of our son's life for many years to come. Thank you, Carol!

Carol is the key! Elijah with the two women who did the most to bring him into the world.


Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks so much to everyone for helping!!

Auntie Dawn

Ken & Crystal Pierson said...

Wow! Nice post Sean. I'm glad everyone could be of so much help to you guys and baby Elijah! It was so nice meeting your moms. We wish they could stay longer...sure you guys do too!

Gloria Pierson said...

Well now I feel all caught up on the latest Baby news! Great to have your mothers visiting Saipan and all the helps moms are know for - what a blessings!!! Interesting Auntie Brigade posting!!! It was a pleasure to assist even by phone and email! Yes, I'm looking forward to the day when I can hold precious Elijah in my arms! So you are confirming the sleep thing - I reminded you that every hour around the clock would NOT last FOREVER!!!! They do grow up and become independent - you still have a bit to wait but it will be here before you want! Blessings to your family!

Mai said...

Awww....... although I really enjoyed reading and seeing all pics, it also made me really sad, because it's just another reminder that I'm not there to help you out and be a part of Elijah's life :( I wish I could be there! I miss you guys so much!

Vero in Saipan said...

awww its so great to have your mom's there i'm sure. They must be in heaven and i'm sure ya'll are too! miss you lots!

Bev said...

I'm so happy that both your moms came out to visit you guys and baby Elijah! Thanks for sharing pictures of everyone like Paulo and his wife. It's nice to see that they had a safe pregnancy and delivery. Please give everyone hugs for me!

Marianas Eye said...

Congrats on all the happenings!