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Sunday, October 8, 2017

the first year: weeping and jumping for joy

The first year as a new mother is the most challenging and gratifying thing I've ever gone through. I've now officially done it three times, so I'm feeling all the bittersweet feelings these days. I'm so proud of what we've accomplished- keeping a little teeny tiny being alive and well and happy.With every smile he shows me, I know I'm doing something right. Every time we got to the doctor's and his weight is up, I know it's from me, because of me, and I'm accomplished in ways I cannot describe even having received college degrees. It's different than studying for exams or passing a test or turning in that huge paper. This is raising a living being. It's monumental.

I'm happy. I can't wait to see where this little one is headed. I know there are many adventures ahead of us. I know there is running up ahead, jumping and skipping into preschool is down the road. I know that there will be terrible twos and potty training- things I dread the most, admittedly. But I know there are so many moments of laughter to look forward to so I'm trying to keep a smile on my face and realize how great this stage is, too. The baby stage is wonderful for many reasons, but the growing stage- there's nothing in comparison.

I'm proud that we kept this little one thriving and growing.
That we knew what to do, again. That we remembered all the things.
I'm proud that he seems happy go lucky, that we must be doing something to help that along.
I'm pleased to see him loving on other people and feeling like he's connected to his siblings.
It lights me up when I see him light up a room for others. They smile because of him and he is ours... it's incredible.

We've washed bottles every day and prepared breastmilk to the right temperature.
There's been pumping and pumping and pumping.
There have been moments of doubt, worries and fear.
We've second guessed ourselves.
I've wondered how I would possibly get through this or that phase.
We've been up all night. We've napped a lot during the days.
There have been diaper blow outs and car seat adjustments.
Baby bibs for drool, then big plastic bibs to catch the food dropping.

2 ounces of milk and then 4 ounces and then sippy cups of water to go along with pureed homemade baby food.
Then there were jars of food for on the go and just because we looked for something to be easier.
There are ziplock bags of ice cube sweet potatoes and peas and apples in my freezer.
The diaper bag is always fully stocked in the car.
Mum Mums are a staple on the grocery list now.

We have sleep sacks, cases of wipes we keep track of and teething rings.
There are tiny hand prints on our walls.
The Burt's Bees baby soap container is almost empty in the bathroom now. It's the same bottle we used when he came home from the hospital and was teeny tiny and we took all those pictures in the baby bath tub that he outgrew in a few weeks of using it.

There was anticipation, anxiety and stress planning for this third little one, entering the first year with a new baby.
Then there was excitement, joy like we'd never known, blissful state of being.
There was a completion of our family....
Now there is sadness. We are done, the baby-ness is over. It's sad and a relief at the same time. We made it, I want to scream from the rooftops! And, let's do it over... let's go back... I'm not ready... I want to whisper.

And so here we are. The end of the first year with our littlest love. And he's perfect and growing and has the best personality.
We are the luckiest.

To know that we'll never be here again, it's bittersweet.
To reminisce back the last 12 months on all that we've done, seen, grown and become.... it's astonishing, really.
Parenting is a journey. It's an adventure that starts with the beginning through the first year.

So I'll weep tonight, the eve of my son's first birthday. I'll cry because it's over, that first part, those milestones, those firsts, those big moments you look forward to with each little one, seeing who they become.
I'll get back to being excited in the days ahead. I'll smile because the adventures that await are worth growing older for.

But tonight I weep because I don't have a baby anymore, I have a growing big baby turning into a toddler quicker than I'm ready for. I'll be sad because that innocence is gone in a way.

What a year it's been.... I'm so proud of him, of us, of me, this strong Mom that I've become this year. I'm a new person, just as he was a year ago on the day of his birth. We're in this together, all of us... and oh the fun that's ahead. I can't wait... and yet I can, wait. Just wait....maybe a little longer, sweet one, maybe just slow down a little bit...

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