I realize in my last post I promised to continue Clark's birthday story 'tomorrow', which turned into a week. I had great intentions, but as it turns out, having a 2.5 week old baby in my house has turned out to be quite exhilerating, not leaving a lot of time for anything that isn't sleeping, eating, nursing, repeat. Though sleep deprived and hyperhormonal, its important for me to find time to write about someone that deserves special recognition, and that is my husband, Mr. Aaron Rice. My blog probably isn't the most honorable place to honor such an honorable man, but I want the world (or all 5 of you who read this blog) to know why Aaron deserves the 2010 Man of the Year Award.
I knew when I was 16 years old that I would marry Aaron and we would have babies. In college, I started to think about how great of a husband he would be one day. After we got married and starting a family became regular talk, I often thought about Aaron as a dad. I knew he would be a great father because he is selfless, patient (VERY patient with me), and morally grounded and would be great at raising children. But I had no idea that he would surpass any ideas I ever had of Aaron Rice, the dad.
On January 6, 2010 at 7:08 p.m., I watched Aaron hold a tightly swaddled little baby Clark and I saw tears in his eyes. Until that exact second, I had never seen Aaron so vulnerable. (Sorry babe, but its true.) I can probably count on 2 fingers the number of times Aaron has held a newborn baby in his life, but holding Clark made him look like he had done it a million times. He looked so natural holding his baby boy.
I'd be crazy not to mention how Aaron was the ultimate superhero during the two hours of insanity prior to Clark's arrival. As mentioned before, I pushed and pushed and pushed only to find out at the end of two hours that I pretty much did it all for nothing, because Clark showed zero signs of wanting out at that point. To say that I wanted to die during that time would be the understatement of the year. I wanted to quit and even threatened to do so. I cried and cried and was so unbelievably upset that I was getting nowhere closer to delivering Clark. But somehow Aaron knew exactly what to say at the exact time to keep me strong. He motivated me in a very non-cheesy motivational way, fed me ice chips in between contractions, held my hand, recited scripture, kissed my forehead and told me great I was. Everything he said and did during those two hours shoud be recorded in a book titled "What To Say And Do While Your Wife Is In The Worst Imaginable Pain Of Her Life." He was my rock and I can confidently say I could not have done it if he wasn't there. I would have quit and opted for a c-section, because that would have been the easier thing to do.
The seconds following Clark's birth are a bit hazy to me. I don't remember many details and I think that God made it that way on purpose because I would never want to know exactly what was going on during that time. But I can clearly remember watching Aaron hold our son and me sobbing like a baby. I don't think I had even seen Clark's face yet, but I knew he was perfect just by the way Aaron stared at him. I never knew how much I loved my husband until I saw him hold my son.
But the reason Aaron deserves the Man of the Year Award is not because of those two hours. Its because every second since Clark's birth, he has done everything plus a hundred thousand times more than a father and husband is supposed to do. He did everything from changing Clark's first diapers (not a pleasant experience for anyone involved), helping me with tasks I am extremely embarrassed to admit, bringing me good food, holding Clark during the night so I could sleep, and encouraging me during the whole breastfeeding thing, because it really is an almost impossible thing to figure out at first. I think its safe to say that Aaron got less sleep than me while we were in the hospital and I definitely didn't get a lot of sleep. His eyes lit up and he melted every single time a nurse brought Clark in our room. He snuggled him every chance he got. He constantly asked me what he could do for me. He sang to Clark. He slept on a rock hard plastic covered couch and never left the room (except to get his beloved and life saving coffee).
All of the above was nothing compared to how wonderful he was when we got home. If I wasn't nursing or eating for the first week or so, I was sleeping and Aaron was doing everything else. I think he changed every single diaper for the first four days of Clark's life. He rocked him to sleep and made up an incredibly stupid song that would immediately make Clark calm down. He put up with my extreme new mommy hormones like a pro. He made many emergency trips to the local baby store in Oxford to get a wide assortment of (expensive) baby items that I would have died without having. He never questioned me and always encouraged me to sleep. I could spend hours describing how Aaron literally saved the day (or week) following Clark's birth. Somehow he figured out how to balance being a very busy law school with being a very busy dad and husband and make it look effortless.
As a result of Aaron's constant attention to Clark, and the stupid song he made up, they have a pretty solid bond already. If Clark is fussing, Aaron just has to look at him and he will quit. Just yesterday morning, I spent almost an hour and a half trying to calm down an upset baby. I tried everything - changing clean diapers, nursing, rocking, singing, reading, snuggling, swinging, and anything else you can think of. Nothing worked. Aaron was asleep and I didn't want to wake him up because he had been up all night, but I gently placed Clark in the nook of his arm as he slept and all of a sudden, Clark shut up and even let out a sigh and went straight to sleep in his arm. And he stayed asleep for about two hours in that same position and never uttered a peep. Amazing. He loves being held by Aaron. I don't know if its his scent, or his muscles, or his voice, but Aaron's calming effect has saved the day many, many times already. His attitude is simply amazing. He has never gotten impatient with me or Clark, he never gets upset when I ask him to change Clark's diaper 15 times per day, and he is the most encouraging and supportive person I've ever known.
Everything Aaron has done for me and Clark in the past 20 days has left me dumbfounded. I'm so lucky to have him in my life. Clark is so lucky to have him in his life. Actually, lucky is not the appropriate word. Luck has nothing to do with this. Blessed is the word that fits much better. Aaron makes our lives good. great. perfect. I'm so proud of Aaron Rice, the dad, the husband. Clark will never know or understand how much his dad loves him and would do anything for him.
These are a few of the reasons why I nominate Aaron for the 2010 Man of the Year Award. Unfortunately the only physical award he gets is a pooping baby and a wife that is probably less than pleasant on some days, but I have a feeling he doesn't want anything different. I love him and you should too.
My next post will be an introduction to Clark. He's such a fun and giddy baby and I want to try my best to capture his shear perfection. Also, if I'm feeling brave, I'll post the lyrics to Aaron's stupid made up lullabye.