on the day you were born.

dear sweet, tiny, wonderful human of ours—

You were born on a Sunday afternoon, beneath the glow of a brilliant, bright-white winter sky.

The moment you were snuggled in to my arms, you felt just like home.


We’d gone to the hospital around 10:30 a.m. that morning, and by 1:30 that afternoon, the contractions were coming in hard and fast, one after another, with barely room for a breath in between.

What I remember about your labor was the feeling of your daddy’s hand.
Every time I felt you crashing your way closer to us, I’d bury the side of my face in your daddy’s cupped palm and breathe breathe breathe my way through.

That hand—
with the fingers I’d been intertwining through mine since I was 13;
with an ampersand below the spot where I’d slid on a ring & promised “I do”;
the hand that had been held up to twirl me across dance floors and strummed countless air guitars in the car and high-fived mine the night we found out about you;
that hand, cupped against my cheek, was my feeling of home & safety & calm in the storm.

Your daddy was the anchor that kept me afloat.

What I remember about your labor was the quiet dark where I retreated, closing my eyes to turn off the world as I felt you getting closer.
It was you and I, my love, doing the biggest and most important thing we’d done together yet.
One breath at a time.
One crashing wave after another.

What I remember about your labor was the way the entire room was lit up with the most beautiful, encouraging energy.
The way a radiant current of joy wound its way through every molecule in that room, sparkling from the ceiling to the floor.
I remember hearing everyone gasp with joy after a particularly strong push, and I knew you were almost in our arms.

And then, my love, you arrived.

Nixon James-Michael.
We’d known your name since even before the stars began to knit you together.

You were welcomed into our arms at 2:20 p.m. on Sunday, December 13th, weighing in at 7.8 lb., measuring 21” long, and looking every inch the absolutely most incredible thing we’d ever, ever seen.


On your very first morning, I couldn’t believe you were real.
There you were, this gorgeous dollop of sunshine and tiny velociraptor noises, and you were ours.

Every perfect little baby-puff of breath that crossed your lips felt like a miracle.

There were the little feet and fists that woke up to rave under my ribcage every night at 10 o’clock.
There was that tiny, kissable nose.
There was the perfect crop of tiny, downy babyfluff hair on top of your head.

We (and everyone else we ran into on the labor and delivery floor) toasted your arrival with a gloss-frosted round of grandma Bridget’s dark-chocolate ganache cupcakes;
grandpa Mike went out immediately for packs of celebratory candy canes, which he joyously passed out (along with a proud declaration of, “I’m a grandpa!”) to his fellow holiday shoppers in line at Menards, every person he ran into on his way back to the hospital, and all the nurses on our entire floor.

Everyone adored you from the moment you arrived, little light.

And rightly so.


For being such a very new human, you’ve already collected quite the impressive array of expressions.

You’ve been glee-ing your little face off since you were all of two weeks old, particularly when you’re getting your diaper changed—
extra particularly when said changes include explosive poos that warrant daddy announcing, “Babe, you have to come see this. It’s impressive,” and an immediate need to take a disinfecting wipe to the wall.

You love your hands, even though you punch yourself in the face with them.

A lot.

You’re also a big fan of stopping midway through eating to smile at my boob;
giving us a very pointed look before cramming an entire fist in your mouth and venge-sucking on it if boob is not produced immediately upon your hunger;
and pointedly arranging yourself into this position, hands fancily arranged under your chin, for post-boob snuggles:


Clementine adores you more than we could have ever expected.
Like, AY-dores you.

The night you came home, she strolled up to where you and I were sitting, peacefully and purposely licked your head, then laid down contentedly next to us and hasn’t stopped loving (or licking) you since.
She gently army-crawls into bed with us if she knows you’re in there; beelines to check AND JUST MAKE SURE THE TINY HUMAN IS OKAY IS HE COOL HOW’S HE DOING every time she comes back inside from going out or we come back from taking you somewhere; and she regularly brings you her favorite toys, then waits patiently for you to befriend them.

Ya’ll are going to be some impressive kind of cute when you’re old enough to love her back.


I never thought that I’d cry this much over how big and stupid I love you.

I never knew how big my heart would swell to see your daddy as your daddy, a role that’s come to him so naturally that there’s no doubt he was always meant to be yours.

I still don’t know how to do the Moby wrap thing very well, or entirely understand why using the Ergo with the infant insert & burrito-thing takes so many steps.
I dropped some salad on you yesterday while you were nursing and I was trying to eat at the same time.

It still takes me, like, 25 minutes to put you in anything that isn’t a sleeper and/or requires going over your head.

And I had no idea that figuring out breastfeeding would be such a long, hard and painful process that we’re still perfecting, even now, four weeks down the road.

But we’re learning together, little light.

We’re getting there.

Every day, we’re figuring out this new chapter together—
one diaper change, one 3-a.m. feeding, and one re-washing of your changing pad because you peed on it, again, at a time.

We’re learning you.

And there’s a lot I still don’t know yet—
but what I do know is that I love you with a love so fierce and ferocious that it could move the stars, and that, my darling, will get us through anything from here.

How wonderful life is now you’re in the world.

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About ashley!

in love, obnoxiously happy, and up to a lot of awesome.
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