I just ran into my former OBGYN today. I was unloading the clown car, you know, the one that is really small, yet there is a continual flow of bodies exiting it at a rapid pace.
“Well, hey there, look at that crew”
A quick turn revealed the identity of their voice, while I kept my hand on the door ensuring the poor person who was parked next to us would not have a permanent mark from a Harney child. I soon saw a gentle kind face that I deeply admire and am thankful to consider not just the person who helped deliver 2 of my babies, but actually a friend.
He walked right up to her, she gave him her gentle tender quiet smile.
“Can you believe tomorrow will be a year?”
“What? It’s crazy”
This seems to be the best way for me to describe how I feel about this little soul.
It’s when I pull out the next size of baby clothes and recall the times her older sisters wore them that I remember there was not suppose to be another bonus harney baby. Those clothes were suppose to be boxed up and headed off to good will. Actually truth be told, when we moved and bought our house there were a whole bunch of baby clothes that were suppose to be sorted through. Our move became a mad dash to the finish line which meant quite a few things that were stored in storage never got looked at before moving. It wasn’t until we started going through things during the winter months would we find out there was a baby bean growing inside.
Veil Eden Harney, baby bean, Veil-z (brother’s favorite nickname) is so precious. Actually we say all day long, “she is just SO sweet”
After raising 4 other babies before Veil, each with their own personalities, commonalities easy to see, differences apparent, we can honestly say, she is just the sweetest soul.
Over this last year, Veil has easily woven herself into our family and no body felt displaced by her presence. I believe God knew what a busy family with 4 kids under 8 could handle when he began to knit her inside my womb. I ran out of time in my days during her pregnancy and realized it wasn’t until bedtime that I thought about her or did a kick count. I would worry and fear, “if I am just now thinking of her at 10 pm, what am I going to do when she is here?”. I knew I was already stretched to what seemed to be my limit.
The gentle tender spirit God has placed inside of Veil is one that has been the biggest answer to my former worries.
Veil has a soft little voice, she will pull her binky out and look you in the eyes and say what is on her mind. Not loud, not husky like Yaels voice was as a baby. Just soft and sweet. When Veil wakes in the mornings, she will wrap her arms tight around your neck and press her body into you as if there is too much space separating you. She will sigh and will make time stand still. She is the very response a soul, toiling on this earth hopes to receive from another living soul.
Veil loves to explore and the running joke is “where is Veil? Finding trouble again?” She is inquisitive. I have watched her just sit and watch something, the wheels in her brain fast at work. She will hold, turn, look at something for long periods of time, unlike an older brother, who would pick something up as a baby and immediately assess its weaponry ability. Richard and I love watching her experience new things.
Veil is patient, never demanding something right away. She will give a hint she is in need of your assistance, but she will look at you and give you a look as if she is trying to say “it’s ok, I know you are busy, so I can wait, but please don’t take too long”. She can easily entertain herself as she waits. Unlike Kyre who had the same sense to be patient, but would lock her eyes on me, watching and waiting for me to fulfill her request. Actually Kyre still does this…
In the last few months Veil entered the big leagues and decided food was worth giving a 10th try. She loves to eat and be a part of family meals. My gestational diabetes diet I had with her has paid off and the things she loves most is lean protein, beans, veggies and fruit. She is by far the best eater I have ever had and will even sigh in contentment when she thoroughly enjoys a meal.
One thing that has eased guilt over Ezzy’s hard start in life was met with Veil’s easy going nature for her middle of the night feedings. I blamed myself that Ezzy wasn’t a cuddler, that she could nurse and be so easily put down, no longing for her parents arms, it was as if she didn’t need me. Silly I know, but I chalked it up to the fact she was held so little the first month of her life due to being in the NICU, recovering from surgery with a whole bunch of intimidating wires connected to her tiny body. Veil reminds me of Ezzy, she wakes, no frantic cries, just a simple “momma” and is easily nursed to sleep and snuggle into her bed as soon as her tummy is full. We are so blessed she is a great sleeper.
I am still her favorite person. She will tuck into me, pulling all extremities close into her body to inhibit hands pulling her out of her favorite place. I love the way she plays with my hair during our quiet moments while she nurses. More so, I am so thankful a friend told me that she rocked her babies to sleep every nap and feeding. I had become the “veteran expert” that didn’t think she needed to learn anything knew. That was until I realized how amazing it is to rock a baby to sleep, cradled safely in my arms. I have whispered songs to my king Jesus with her, I have kissed heavy eyes, I have rubbed little feet and a back, I have been present in the fringe hours. Why do I call them fringe hours? Because the 4 other Harney kids were not rocked to sleep, we had mastered sleep training and I refuse to say it was wrong, because there are so many ways to do things, but I needed those fringe hours, the extra moments to get something else done in a jam packed day, but what I have with Veil has been so precious.
I have successful cloth diapered her this last year and stuffing diapers becomes a family thing. Never would have thought this would be part of my mothering story, but when I quickly did the math, it turned out to be a blessing financially for us. Thanks to a thoughtful friend who gifted us her stash!
So many things I thought I knew about parenting have changed with Veil.
My inherent need to be on time, have everything in order has morphed into a more realistic expectation. Why I thought I had to be 5 mins early everywhere I went, have each child dressed to my standards and everyone emotionally in-check is just plain crazy.
I am rarely ever on time now, my car has layers of life on the floors. My kitchen table and chairs, cleaned a minimum of 3x a day, still have a base layer of goo…gross…but I am getting real with you. I laugh at the fact that 70 % of the pictures I take have a basket or two of laundry in them…laundry day no longer exists. I can’t remember the last time I cleaned my windows, no dead bird clean up happens on the Harney property. It never fails in the early morning when I am trying to sneak off for my me time in the form of a run, that I manage to stick my hand or drag my sports bra through partially dried toothpaste from the night before on the bathroom sink. My walls that have permanent marker, yes that, fuzz stuck on the goo left over from a massive squirt of medicine Ya’el sprayed across the living room and even egg people drawings from kyre’s expressive stage. The floors that once were pridefully noted to be clean enough to eat off, no longer stand a chance to be in that category anymore.
The birth of our number 5 didn’t break me.
The birth of our number 5 didn’t make me lower my standards.
The birth of our number 5 reset me, she has helped me set my eyes on things above, not on things on this earth that store moths and rot. Instead the birth of Veil Eden has caused this rigid soul to slow down, to let things go, so more important things, matters of little hearts are attended to before the OCD monster gets in its way. Veil Eden has given us all a pass on being caught up in the world’s constant demand to stay busy and instead choose to be present and put family first.
Veil Eden, I thank the Lord every time I kiss your little toes that have mastered walking. I dream of the woman of God you will become as I experience you dance and clap your hands to worship music. I look forward to retreats you and I will keep taking when our loud family members consume all the space and air in the house, leaving no room for our quiet souls. I appreciate your playful spirit that already knows when the right time is to ease the current setting, may you always seek to bring joy with you wherever you go.
Happy 1st birthday baby bean