One down

Every Saturday morning I greet him with how old he is. “Happy 51 weeks, baby!”  While I feed him and stroke his messy hair that smells of baby lotion I remember various parts of his birthday, first week, fifth month, etc.  Every Saturday.  I am noticing that this sort of emotional internal tradition of my Saturday mornings is creeping into every feeding. 

Many a tear have fallen on my boys head as I nurse him to sleep at night.  I hold him for a few extra minutes, trying desperately to memorize this moment, how soft his skin is, how his chubby feet are, the weight of his body against mine.  When I am greeted by his smile in the morning,  he holds on to me and rests his head on my shoulder.  I feel my throat tighten.   I find myself sitting at the computer watching the screen saver of his first 6 months, in amazement and sadness. 

Everyone knows that life moves fast, that babies grow into toddlers, toddlers to teenagers.  We have all seen it before, we know it is true.  Just like so many lessons handed to me this year, the passing of time has never been as evident.   Or so hard, so trying, so damn fantastic. 

I suppose it does feel like a whole year has passed.   It’s just that having this child makes so many cliches come to light.  You try not to live them but you can’t help it.  It is true, love like this simply does not exist before you have a family.  I don’t know why, or how, but the love you have for other people in your life is not the same.   Nothing can compare to how you feel, to what you would do for this tiny little person you barley know.  But it is all true.  All of the promises made by the Mothers who have gone before you, all of it.  Your heart can hardly take it.  Your sanity has never been so tested.  Such extremes of this yin and yang.

One of the many things that surprised me is how I can keep loving him, more.   How does it happen?  Each day, each milestone, hell each smile you almost feel the tightening in your chest as your heart swells, again. I am amazed when we have a terrible day that I can forget all about it within 20 minutes of laying him down and miss him.  It is often too much.  I find myself crying over why me, why am I so lucky, what did I do to deserve this?   I don’t know the answer but I know that everyday, whether fever, sleepless nights, or an up to the neck diaper that I am blessed.

As much as I try, as much as I talk about how to stay true to myself while I morph into a Mother, on the days when I’m not caught up in it I know that I am still largely my regular old self.  I still have the same interests, like the same food, love the same man, live most of the same life.   It’s more like being a Mother added another layer to my onion.  The thinnest layer, the one that is tender and bruises easily.   One that makes me protective and defensive of my ways.  I try to strengthen the new layer but it is work.  I find that even when I know what I am doing is right, having confidence everyday is a challenge.  It’s not a job you are trained for, it’s one that is always changing so I too, must change with it.  I do the research, I walk the walk.   Even so, you are never ahead of the game, your boss is sneaky like that.  

I have no idea what the next year will bring.  I have seen 2 nieces and 4 nephews take my sisters down this path that is before me, yet I know it will hold all new surprises.   No way of understanding how fun, hard, tear your hair out, heart growing two sizes in one day kind of madness is just around the corner.   I am glad I don’t know.  I don’t want to know.  I try to hold on to this day, this stage, this baby.  I just want to do that for a while longer.   Before I know it the baby will be gone, I don’t want to miss a second.

11 thoughts on “One down

  1. Ok, Crying on my keyborad. Hold onto it every second of every day! I still do and mine toddel! Love you soo much! And I love that we share the same heart exploding feeling for our babies.

  2. Awww, very sweet! They do grow very very fast. I have to remind myself way to often that I won’t always hear the constant, “Mom!” from them. Mine are at a point of seeking independence but also still being very needy. It’s a tough day to day thing but when I remind myself that it doesn’t last long, it makes it easier to bear.

  3. All I can do is smile and nod. It’s overwhelming! Congratulations on surviving the first year, and here’s to hoping the next few dozen are just as good.

  4. You are so cute for saying this! Of course, I thought (and still think) this about my boys. Usually only when they are sleeping, or sharing, or playing nicely with each other. ha!

  5. Okay, so it has taken me a few days to comment on this one – as I have left it open on the computer so I could think some more. Last night at Bible class, the other young mom sat next to me with her 1 1/2 week old son. He was so tiny! It is hard to believe my little one is only 9 months (and 5 days) older and yet so much bigger. I totally understand the “my baby is almost no longer a baby” thing. But, the toddler years should be just as fun – right?

  6. Happy Birthday, Nathan! I can’t believe he is one year already!

    And yes, I totally agree about loving them more as they grow. I loved Kara so much the second I saw her, even before then, when I didn’t know who she was. Now she has a personality, I can’t believe I loved her as much as I did, without knowing who she was. Does that make sense?

  7. This is so, so beautiful, Christina. And I feel the same way, every minute. But I’m trying to realize that for ever sweet thing about her I miss, something new appears in her that I love just as much.

  8. Her first birthday was when I finally figured Mogo was probably not going anywhere and she was officially “mine” and I might just ge tto keep her.
    It does go fast and the love, it just gets bigger and more consuming the bigger they get. If we don’t stop to sniff the baby head once in a while we might start to take it all for granted. I am doing a lot of baby head sniffing these days.

    Happy birthday to little Nathan and his Mommy.

  9. Just found your site from shelikespurple and this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read. My youngest just turned 1 and it is going too fast. Just too fast.

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