We love living in Singapore. It has been a blessing and answer to prayer that God moved us here. The one thing we don’t love about living here is how far from our families it is. Singapore is nearly as far away as you can get from the US East Coast. While travel between the two locations isn’t impossible, it certainly isn’t convenient; nor is it cost friendly. The number of people in either side of our family that is rolling in money and time is zero. Consequently most of our familial contact is through Skype. The times that we visit our family or some family visits us are extremely valuable.
Since moving here, it has been on our minds how much my mom would like Singapore. Two primary reasons: it’s always lusciously green and it’s always summer (aside from rainy season). But we always joked that a sure way to get her out here would be to have a kid.
Well… we got pregnant. And guess what followed the announcement that we were pregnant: my mom (Maureen) started making plans to come visit. Honestly, we don’t know if she would’ve made it out here if we didn’t have Gideon. She might have. Or she might not have. But we were glad it merited a trip.
Due to her work schedule, my mom needed to plan her trip here several months in advance. Add to that the fact that plane tickets are typically cheaper if you don’t wait to the last minute to purchase them. We did our best to estimate when we thought the most useful timeframe for her visit would be, but in the end, it was really just that, an estimation. We didn’t know if he would be early, late, or on-time. It was important to avoid the potential of her visit being before the due date, and then him arriving 2 weeks late. We decided that it would be better if she came after his due date, even if he was already here. Accordingly 3 months before Gideon’s arrival, my mom booked tickets to come out. His due date was the 12th of November. The itinerary my mom had planned had her due date on the 17th. At least even though we weren’t sure when Gideon arrive, we could be pretty certain of when my mom would come.
As the due date approached, we started to wonder if our preparation for him arriving early was in vain. My mom asserted that he was waiting for Grandma since she told him to do so.
The day before my mom was set to arrive, labor began. Go figure. Thankfully we had previously asked friends to be at the ready to take care of picking up my mom from the airport/etc just in case we were in labor or recovery when she arrived. All we had to do was let them know we were in the hospital, and “Operation: Just-in-case” was put into action. We labored through the night while our friends picked up my mom in the middle of the night from the airport. She got some sleep at our friend’s home and then was driven to the hospital. By the time I was wheeled with Gideon to the recovery ward, my mom was waiting in our room for us.
Talk about excellent timing! Thank you Lord!
When we finally made it home from the hospital, we were welcomed home by mom. In addition to recovering from jet-lag and visiting us in the hospital the first two days she was here, she also took it upon herself to tackle some cleaning. Consequently we were also welcomed home by a clean apartment.
Our recovery from childbirth and adjustment to life with a newborn would’ve been a MUCH different story had my mom not been there. As it is, the first three weeks I didn’t have to worry about any housework, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc… Instead, I was able to solely focus on breastfeeding and sleeping. Recovery went SO much better than we all expected. We thought we would be doing good if we got in one or two outings by the time she left. In the end, we were able to space out several outings during her 3 week stay. (Posts and pictures from the outings to follow in a future post.)
Our first “outing” after coming home was to Gideon’s first Doctor’s appointment. This was also the day that Andrew went back to work, so I was accompanied by my mom to the appointment. It was the perfect opportunity to try out our new baby carrier (from my mom no less)!
I was impressed with how comfortable my mom had already become with traveling using the mass transit system in Singapore. I’m so proud of my mom. Even though she had lots of direction from us and maps galore, the first several trips on the mass transit she did solo! (To be fair, mass transit in Singapore is fairly user friendly.) She got herself to/from the hospital and our home while we were still in the hospital. So by the time she accompanied me to Gideon’s appointment she was already a pro! 🙂
Notice that my mom is sporting the new diaper bag!? She was a very willing pack mule for various outings.
Now lest you think that my mom spent all her time slaving for us in Singapore, she did take time out for herself. I would tell her that I felt bad that she was coming to Singapore at a time where we couldn’t take her on as many tourist adventures as we would like. She would reply that she was thoroughly enjoying her down time and that it was a lot more fun and relaxing than her typical life. Often my mom would take a morning break to take a walk and get coffee. She also had ample cuddle time with Gideon. (And she didn’t mind the fact that some of that holding was when he was fussy.)
Grandma also spent a good amount of time playing Scrabble/Words with Friends and surfing facebook. (Maybe I helped slightly feed the Scrabble addiction…) But she did take time out to watch Gideon so Andrew and I could go on a date. Yes, you read right; a date!
My mom told us that her very first OB doctor had one rule: that the couple go on a date, somehow, someway, within 2 weeks after the birth. Thanks to my mom, we were able to follow in her footsteps in terms of following that rule 🙂
We weren’t the only ones that enjoyed a nice dinner out.
We treated her to dinner at a local restaurant.
(Okay, maybe the ostrich part of the dish isn’t exactly traditional Singaporean.)
We enjoyed the dinner too!
It was wonderful to share life and a little bit of Singapore with my mom. But most of all it was great to share our son with her.
One of my favorite stories from her visit was one morning while we were at home. Someone knocked on the door, and lo and behold it was the Mosquito Police. (I don’t really know their real term, but they are people that come around checking to make sure there aren’t any mosquitos breeding in your home.) One of the gentleman asked my mom if it was her first grandchild. The proud response was that, no, it was her fourteenth!
Fourteenth or not, my mom spend so much time making sure that Gideon was loved on. And she also went out of her way to help out Andrew and I in so many ways. We can’t begin to express how much she did for us and how thankful we are that the Lord orchestrated it for her to be her for us during this time.
The three weeks went so quickly. I wish my mom could’ve stayed longer, but am so thankful for those weeks. Since her time was limited, she made sure to pack in as much one-on-one Gideon & Grandma time as she could. He didn’t seem to mind.
But her time came to an end. The night before her departure, we made sure to get one last group shot:
The next morning, before the sun was up, my mom was on her way back to the States. Now that we’ve been solely responsible for the little guy and the house, we’ve been working on adjusting to normal. But our adjustment is still being helped by mom’s visit even though she is no longer with us. Our fridge and freezer are full of goodies. And the house is still mostly clean. We will savor all of the memories we made during her time here. It’s hard to imagine how much Gideon will change before we get to spend more time in person. But at the same time I can’t wait to see how much the Lord does in the time.
We love and miss you mom! Looking forward to the future when we’ll meet again.