Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Twas the night before...

My baby girl turns one tomorrow.  Tomorrow we'll celebrate and be happy and have fun.  Next weekend we'll party and have pictures.  But tonight, tonight I'm just gonna let myself be a little sad and sentimental.  Because for the first time ever, I'm celebrating a first birthday without the expectation of another one to follow in 18 months.

This face. I die.
I guess I didn't realize how much of a difference that makes.  It's one thing to say goodbye to the newborn days.  To fold up and pack away the swaddle blankets and baby swing.  To switch out the carseat and lower the crib mattress.  It's another thing to do all that and wonder if you'll ever get a chance to do it again. 

This was supposed to be a picture of the cute little headband I made for her ... as if.
And maybe, just maybe, that's why I've been putting off a lot of those things longer than usual with this one.  Why I sometimes keep her with me during church instead of putting her in the nursery.  Why I've kept up with the nursing.  Why I haven't been concerned with her lack of mobility.  And why I can't imagine leaving her overnight. 


As much as I enjoy getting to know each of my kids better and watching them grow, saying goodbye to each age and stage has its bitter moments as well.  And as long as the days seem right now with three little ones, looking back there never seems to be enough time.  It all just goes by too fast.

She was mad because I walked away to grab my camera and left her there, apparently she doesn't know how to sit yet.
Kinda like my labor with Julia. A year ago this evening, I was sitting in the very same spot I am now, much less comfortable that night of course.  Breathing, focusing, counting.  Seconds, minutes, hours.  Agonizingly long when it hurts, but breathlessly fast in the end.  The memories are already getting hazy, but certain moments are imprinted vividly in my mind - her head in my hand, the midwife's coat covering us both, that awkward walk into the Birthing Center, the first moment she nursed... Those tiny patches of memories are as clear as if they happened yesterday.

She's found the buttons and is mighty proud of it!  See that green one above her head.  It makes a cool noise when you push it ... 100 times a day.
But they didn't.  It was a whole year ago.  And it's only going to get farther and farther into the past.  I suppose that's what motherhood is all about.  Savoring the memories, looking to the future ... and embracing the present.

Moments before Jack's couch cushion "beaver dam" came crashing down on her.
And at present, we have ourselves a crawler.

Can you tell what prize was worth crawling for?
Funny little thing, decided to figure it all out the day before her first birthday.  And so adorable too, so different from her brothers.  I would have never guessed one could crawl "daintily" until today.  But despite the fact that it's just another "step" toward grown-upness, I'm happy for her.  Happy that she now has a way to get what, or whom, she wants when she wants it.  Instead of sitting there doing that high-pitched scream that makes me cringe.

... her brother's discarded underwear.  Mmm, nice.
And I love how just this simple new development is already giving us new glimpses into her budding personality.  Girlfriend has her Daddy's confidence.  She decided to attempt the steps before learning to crawl.  It ended disasterously ... all I heard were the thumps and her screams.  I scooped her up, carried her back upstairs where she rubbed her nose on my shirt, screamed two more times, and then started lunging for the stars again.  Thirty seconds after her first failed attempt, she was ready for round two.  And this is where I begin to wonder - how much of her personality is her own and how much is the product of her environment, i.e. growing up with two older brothers.  I guess we'll never know for sure.

Not that it matters, we love her like crazy.  Our Little Miss,"Yaya", "swee-hart"... our unexpected blessing.  A year ago we thought our cup was quite full, today it's overflowing.  She fills our hearts with such happiness!  Happy Birthday Julia!


Jennifer said...

Gaaa! I read your post while getting dinner ready and you had me crying into my frozen chicken. Some days I wish my children would never, ever grow up....then other days I long for a day when they will dress, feed, and entertain themselves. The passage of time is so bittersweet.

J9 said...

Ugh, sorry for making you cry again. :) But you said it, I constantly seem to want things to either slow down or speed up and then feel guilty for either one. "Be present" has taken on a whole new meaning as a mom.

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