I keep running into quotes this year about how great people do things before they are 100% ready. Or that great things can happen when you do things before you are ready. I would read them and think it was a metaphor for following your career aspirations. But today I read them and thought of a girl who wasn’t ready to be a mom. Who probably looked ready because she was married to an amazing man and had a good job and a new home and health insurance and lots of support. But for some reason, she wasn’t there yet. And sometimes I think the universe just knows exactly what its doing, even if we can’t understand why.
Dear baby girl,
The universe decided you would be ours. Ready or not, you were coming. Because you are teaching me that I really didn’t know too much about myself. I didn’t know how strong I could be, I didn’t know I was capable of being unselfish the way a parent must be at certain times. I didn’t know that the universe would support me in a thousand different ways I never expected. I didn’t know what it was like to say “I have no idea how this is going to logistically work.” and then trusting and doing it anyway.
You are teaching me about life, and taking it one day, one moment at a time.
When I saw the two pink lines on my pregnancy test and I suddenly forgot how to breathe, I took it one breath at a time, until daddy got home and I could collapse in his arms, in fear, in shock, in complete uncertainty of what our futures would now hold.
When I was sitting at work, afraid to move or take my eyes off a certain spot on the wall because I might throw up everywhere, I took it one wave of nausea at a time, until morning sickness slowly evaporated into the second trimester.
When my hips and back ached so much that I couldn’t lay in one position for over ten minutes, I took it one ten minute position change at a time, until it was morning, and one more day closer to you being here.
When I was laying in the hospital bed, in so much pain that I wasn’t able to even have a thought, I took it one contraction at a time, until finally, you were here.
When it had been 72 hours since the last time my eyes shut for sleep and I was unsure people were even able to survive on such little rest, I took it one minute at a time, until grandma came over and rocked you in her arms so daddy and I could crawl into bed and close our eyes.
When daddy was getting ready to go back to work after his paternity leave and I was in tears because I didn’t know how I would take care of you by myself all day, I took it one diaper change at a time, until he was home. And knowing I did it one day, I knew I could do it another.
When breastfeeding wasn’t a joyous, glorious experience like every mom, lactation consultant, and internet article promised me, and I had no idea how I could possibly do it for a whole year, I took it one feeding at a time. Until suddenly, you were 11 months and 4 weeks old and I could count the number of feedings left until I hit my goal, and suddenly, it seemed way too soon.
When thinking about going back to the office for work and leaving you with someone who was not me made me dizzy with heartache, I decided to do everything in my power to stay home with you. I took it one conversation at a time until it was a reality.
When I didn’t have any idea how our bills would get paid after I cut my income in half, I took it one bill at a time, until by some miracle, they were all paid. Every month.
When I started working from home and I had no earthly idea how I would get my hours in while I was home alone with you, I took it one hour at a time, until a week had passed, and then a month, and then many more, and somehow the work always got done.
You are teaching me I am so much more than I ever thought I was.
There is something magical about a birthday. About reaching one year and then looking back at all the things that have changed. Today I watched videos I had taken from my phone over the past year and as can easily be predicted, I cried and cried. Some of the videos I remember filming because I just wanted to take a moment and hold it forever. Some were filmed with a slight edge of desperation, of knowing a moment was slipping away that I didn’t want to let go of yet. Some were filmed with a bleary eyed exhaustion, trying to capture something I knew I couldn’t fully appreciate yet. And some were filmed with daddy and I laughing until we cried in the background, head over heels in love and in the moment.
This weekend I folded up the mountains of burp rags that were a staple of our lives for months and months. When I was waist deep in burp rags and baby drool and spit up and hours and hours and hours and HOURS of breastfeeding, all I could think about was how I COULD NOT WAIT for the day I would pack them away, and for the day you wouldn’t need them anymore. And today was that day, and it physically hurt to realize the finality of a stage of your life being gone forever. And I fully felt the weight of the words, “the days are long, but the years are short.”
But we made it, you and daddy and I. We did something people do day after day with no expectation that they be praised for it, but something I know is really what life is all about. We were gifted with something incredibly miraculous and ordinary. The fact that you were made and born and grew healthy and beautiful and smart and easy and happy – that is both natural and normal and at the same time incredible and miraculous.
You are growing every day. I look at you and in an instant you are suddenly older, looking and acting like a toddler instead of a baby. I am growing too, baby. This year you have seen parts of me fade away and parts of me grow much stronger. I am becoming who I am supposed to be, and it is because of you. Some days it hurts and aches and makes me tired, but other days it fills me up and gives me goosebumps and makes happy tears fill up my eyes.
I look at you and see love. I see that we are in this together. Sometimes you look at me and I swear I can see you thinking “its okay mom. We can do this.” When you grab my face with both little hands and pull it towards you so you can kiss me, I know I am doing alright. When I am sitting on the floor with you wondering how I can possibly muster up any more enthusiasm for being the voices of your stuffed animals and you give me one of those huge toothy smiles with your eyes crinkled up, I know I can do it a little longer. When you lay your head on my shoulder after a long day together and I am silently praying the next day I will be better, I can melt around your clinging arms and be in the moment instead of being ashamed of the past and worried about the future.
A year ago you came into our lives miraculously and changed them forever. Thank you for choosing us to be your mom and dad. And here’s to many more miraculous, ordinary, incredible, normal, take-your-breath-away-in-a-good way years.
“The days are long, but the years are short.”