Before I write about Max, I just have to say a few words about Jenn. Next week marks the end of her commitment to blog for the first year of life for each of our children. I have to give her credit for making and sticking to that commitment now four times. This blog is a precious reminder of the highs, lows and in-betweens of 1,461 days of our lives as parents. Jenn has been raw and real with her words, showing an inspiring transparency in her journey as a mom. I used to read and edit her posts for her and I loved it – the recap of the week in her eyes was a highlight for me. Lately I’ve been preoccupied so haven’t done that job…and I’ve noticed a lot more cracks at my expense…but I still absolutely love to read the blog. It’s a way for me to connect with her and my boys especially when it’s crazy or I’ve been away. That connection is so important and she provided it faithfully. I continue to be amazed by my wife and all that she accomplishes for our family. Jenn inspires me, challenges me and holds my heart. Thank you babe for this treasure and thank you God for the great gift you gave me in my wife.
Moving on to Max. Maxime Matisse, also known as Number Four or the real Swiss Saylor, is such a special boy. When asked to describe him in past conversations, I’ve used the following words: chill, adorable, happy, smiley, curious, stubborn, lazy (re: eating and moving), food lover (i.e. Mikey), an amazing sleeper, a trooper (for all his time in the Ergo), a great traveler, the perfect fourth. My life has been blessed immensely by my fourth son. His warm, whole-faced smile lights up my heart every time. He makes me laugh at how he rotates his hands and feet constantly – often accompanied by a throaty, hearty laugh – I have no idea why he does it but this is signature Maxie (it’s been known to drive me crazy also…why does he do it?!?). He’s such a great little explorer with us, as we’ve been getting out and doing a lot more as a family. I love to watch Max respond to his brothers with, at most times, a huge smile and enthusiastic arm waving (especially Judah). I love his fiery personality that’s balanced by his giggliness. I love his sweet eyes for his mama (he loves her something fierce!). It never gets old when I throw him up in the air and he gives that gasp of terror until I catch him and he grabs onto me with a death grip. I love how he can melt right into me and snuggle…when he’s not swatting at my face or digging his fingers into my neck. I think it’s cool that his passport will always read “Place of birth: Switzerland,” that his is a Swiss birth certificate and that he holds a Certification of Birth Abroad from the US Government. His addition has made this experience abroad even that much more incredible. With Max, God has kindly rewarded me with another arrow in my quiver, blessing me greatly!
A few more special memories about Max the Moose. First, I’ll never forget the story of how Jenn told me she was pregnant with Max…after I had accepted a job that would move us to Switzerland, an already intimidating life change. I was sitting in my first meeting with my new boss and his team when Jenn’s text came thru to call her asap. I wasn’t about to excuse myself…and when the next text came in, I still didn’t budge. She didn’t use 911, so while the issue she faced could have been somewhat big, it could wait. Thankfully the meeting ended shortly after and I stepped out to return the call. I was met with a hysterical wife and a pregnancy announcement. I still chuckle about it, but the truth is that it was overwhelming for me as well. I thought about whether to rescind my job acceptance because maybe it would be too much. I thought about how it would be difficult to raise a new baby, plus three other young boys, away from all family. Clearly we stayed the course and I am thankful we did.
Second, I’ll never forget how God showed us incredible mercy and protection through Jenn’s pregnancy. While true that He did the same with each of our pregnancies, with Max we more acutely experienced it. The full placenta previa was scary and felt like a black cloud that could rain down…strike that…more like deliver microburst-esque devastation at any minute. In His kindness, we experienced none of that and my wife and baby are here and healthy!
Third, I’ll never forget the actual birth. Setting aside the day being Journée des Métiers (basically national take your kid to work day) and the doctor’s teenage son being in the delivery room, the c-section experience was equal parts scary and exhilarating. I was so excited to see them lift Max out and up into the world. I have to admit I much prefer the non c-section births, but what an experience to see it happen. Then I went with Max and spent the next 3 hours holding him in the nursery while Jenn recovered. It was incredible – the nursery was so peaceful and looked out onto Lake Geneva and the Swiss French Alps. We just rocked those hours away in a chair, me holding my son in amazement and thankfulness. The only thing missing from it was Jenn, but I’m thankful for those first few hours that were all mine.
My life is infinitely richer with Max…and I would have said before Max that I was already infinitely rich because of my wife and boys. Max rounds out perfectly our little pride of sons. It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that he’s the last baby in our family, that our newborn season is over. I’ve loved this season so much, but look forward with great anticipation to the next phase of our family life. What an incredible gift from God to be a father to Max and his brothers!