Miss Abby

Kari and I welcomed Miss Abigail Lily Maddox to this world on July 16th. This seven pound bundle of joy measured at nearly 20 inches and quickly stole two hearts.

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I am amazed by the simplicity and complexity of pregnancy. Inception is arguably easy (especially if you consider statistics for teen pregnancy), and from outsiders, the process is seamless: every week, Kari’s belly grew.

Although it looked simple, the biological changes in nine short months are breathtaking. Cells divide at an incredible pace as a unicellular organism transforms into a baby. Random is not a description I would use for pregnancy.

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Kari and I endured a 24 hour day on Abby’s birth day. This exhausting day was followed by sleepless nights and groggy mornings. But we felt great joy throughout the process. I have never sat on a couch for so long while not doing anything, per se. I sat there and held my baby girl.

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It’s been nearly four weeks since she arrived, and our lives have changed to say the least. Eight hours of sleep are a luxury, not a norm. Choosing our own pace and schedule is a thing of the past, and quiet is the most beautiful of sounds.

It’s hard to conjure words to describe the joy and pain of babies. They’re amazing creatures whose very existence inspire love and affection. They are also needy beings who interrupt at will and require constant attention.

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As I finish this post, I am furiously tapping my foot on Abby’s bouncer to keep the peace. She grunts, pants, and continually reminds me to keep bouncing her. The burning in my calf could make me angry, but seeing her precious little face invokes a sentiment far stronger than the muscular anguish she may induce: love. She has our deepest affection, and her pleasure is our joy.

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Great things are in store for Abby and for us. And we look forward to every moment of it.

Benonia Jeff Maddox

Last week, Kari and I went to my grandma’s funeral. Benonia Jeff Maddox was 84.

Granddad died 5 years ago, and for all practical purposes Grandma died long ago as well. After he passed, her health faded, leading to a lengthy stay in a nursing home. The talkative and feisty woman we all knew was largely mute over the past few years. We would see glimpses of her former self poke through from time to time, but only a shell remained. In this case, death was easier to experience when done over time.

Benonia Oxford was born in 1926. Her parents both died when she was a kid and was then raised by her sister. Scandalously (at least by today’s standards), my granddad swooped in and married her at the age of 17. They were married for nearly 62 years, and her life was inextricably tied to his. There were things she never did. I don’t think she ever balanced a checkbook.

She was well known for her cooking–I personally remember a great pot roast and green beans that actually tasted good. I think the bacon she used had a lot to do with that. She loved to sing, and she loved Aggie football. Aggie indoctrination was common: 7 of her 10 grandkids graduated from A&M.

Funerals are always a strange thing–they make you reminisce about the good things. I had forgotten the singing. I had forgotten the food.

Her funeral marked the end of a generation, and now, as Kari & I anxiously await Abigail’s arrival, the grandparents are our parents. We’re now one generation farther down the road. To Abby, they will be Grandma and Granddad.

Life moves quickly, and if you’re not careful, the good will fade, only to remembered at the next funeral. May it not be.