We had an ideal labor together up until that point. I instinctively knew it would be a long labor, so I didn’t expect much. Part of me was also always prepared to have a c-section, too -- something told me you wouldn’t permit such fantastic indulgence. To be honest, I assumed it would all go against plan (as most everything in life does) so I didn’t really make one. It was all minor details as long as the gift of healthy, breathing you was the outcome. The only natural element of your birth was that I waited (however pained and desperate) for you to pick your birthday, and I realize now that is becoming a rare special thing for babies with the popularity of medical inducement.
Anyway, you are here now, for one year you have been here. It’s cliché, but I never expected just how much your existence would transform everything. I can’t believe a year has passed while, concurrently, I can’t believe it’s only just been a year. The life I had before is a vague memory. You have brought my family closer together, left a residue of graham cracker on everything you touch, decorated our new couch with your brand of cowspot milk stains. You have coached me in patience to a degree I never knew I was capable of absorbing, impelled heavenly laughs and tears of torment, as well as a novel expression of the two combined – the one I do when you would rather play at 2AM instead of sleep, or catch a cold two days after recovering from your last cold. (You rub your runny nose all over your face and cry then repeat. You are so violated if I try to help you rub it. Who cares about potty training, I can’t wait for you to learn to blow your nose.) Anyway, that tormented laugh is something I have never experienced before you, and it's emmitted with love I promise. Nothing in this world is too insurmountable or too hopeless with you in it now. You have made me into a mother, and BJ a father. You have infused this world with new meaning that I never knew existed.
I want to remember the three lessons I learned this year, when it comes to baby/child rearing:
1. Be patient and breathe.
2. Keep a sense of humor. If you can’t twist a moment/day of pure lunacy into gaiety, you will die a slow, agonizing death and foolishly resent innocence.
3. A glass of wine is a handy parenting tool (for mom, not the baby). Being an uptight stressed out bitch will never help a situation. Do what you gotta do to keep yourself from throwing things against the wall, even if the pious would snub you if they knew how you managed.
These three lessons, of course, are only to guide me through the hard times – which don’t occur often with you, but keep in mind I write this on day 10 of the most aggravating cold of your life. You have been a model baby. I haven't known many, but I have never known a happier baby. Strangers have always commented on your well-behaved, joyful demeanor. When you sit on my lap and I hug you in tight, I feel the physical surge of love love in my heart and the desire to have you close and shelter you forever. You make me want to have more babies, which is an odd, dangerous sensation. I am afraid to tempt fate again, how could any other person live up to you?
Thank you for being my baby. Thank you for the best year of my life (and I can’t speak for your dad since he doesn’t blog, but I feel safe to assume we share that common sentiment). Nearly every night we lay in bed and reminisce about the day and the baby girl that has depleted us, whispering sweet nothings about you so as not to wake you up. I still check on you several times a night, you are too far away in that room of yours, but you sleep better there so I allow it. I get excited to retrieve the warm lump of sleep you are in your crib every morning, and on the weekends, get anxious when you decide to sleep in late.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY BABY! You are loved beyond any complicating words in this language.
(Taken this morning after being eaten up with birthday kisses and much runny-nose wiping.)
ETA: My sister mentioned it looks like she's holding a bottle of liquor, it's an antique aftershave bottle (containing aftershave), people.