I love to sit and write, but sometimes I fear over-sharing or under-sharing or rambling (which is a well-founded fear, right?!). But – tonight’s may be a marathon post as I get out all sorts of things banging around in my mind.
My baby is going to be one on Sunday. Can you believe that it’s been nearly a year? I looked at the milk (that we now buy in gallon jugs for her bottles…) and the expiration date was 10/15/12. I remembered a year ago writing about how I’d bought milk with an expiration date that assured I’d have a baby at HOME before it expired. And here I am, staring at the expiration date, with a toddler throwing cheese puffs on the floor and dousing them in water…
I found myself (unexpectedly) last night crying over her bed. And it surprised me. I wasn’t prepared to be crying. But I was. Because she was so big, in that bed, compared to how little she was just months ago. I cried because I hope that the woman, partner and mother that I am is what she needs, and the uncertainty or the not-knowing is – as a mother can tell you – shocking sometimes. I have no guilt that I work, that I have her in daycare, that our parents watch her weekly. I have NO guilt. I think, for me, the things that worry me are whether she’ll be strong enough, best-prepared enough for the things bound to come her way. I worry about whether I’ve chosen the right area of the community, the state, the country, the world for her to grow up in. I worry that her view of the world will be too small, that I won’t be well-enough equipped to show her all the things that I’ve seen and done. I know there are years to fit it all in. But this one went by so quickly. I get the ‘it was yesterday you were so little’ comments more than ever.
I’m probably over-confident in my parenting, quite honestly. I don’t question if she’s too hot/too cold or over- or under-stimulated. I don’t worry about the organic food and the BPA free bottles (aren’t they all if you buy them at legitimate stores, anyway?). My worries are bigger than that, I guess. Or – maybe – am I preoccupied with those things I cannot control, since I do a pretty fine job of controlling those things that I can.
I crawled into bed – Jon there long before me – and was full, truly, with knowing that we have made it a year as parents together, that we have begun to understand one another better as a result of our daughter. I am enthralled with our family, with the father that Jon is to Elle. I am so proud of the three of us, really, that we seem to somehow fit together to make each one of us better than we were the day before. That’s something, isn’t it?
This is not to imply that my relationship is perfect or not-flawed. It is most certainly both of those things and more. But I feel more each day like we are together, like I’ve got someone who will absolutely have my back – or will absolutely call me out – as the situation requires.
But why was I crying? Big, huge alligator tears.
I checked the calendar, it’s not PMS. I’m not pregnant. So, it was true emotion that seemed to be filling me up. It’s so rare these days that time slows enough for going-going-going to be stopped and for that time and space to be consumed by emotion. It was quite lovely, I have to admit.
Elle is at the age where she likes to point at pictures on the wall. It makes me glad, because I remember vividly being small with my grandparents and parents and going through all the pictures on the wall and learning the names and the history of my family – present and past. I got to be a part of my family before my family was a part of me that way. It’s remarkable how that happens. And Elle, the other day, was with me and I was holding her in front of the fridge. Where I keep a picture of my Grandma Judy and I, where we are both very happy one summer. And Elle pointed to my Grandma. And I realized that I haven’t talked enough about my Grandma TO Elle. I guess instead I’ve just been hoping that she’s building that relationships with the Grandmas she’s got.
I’m down to my pre-pregnancy weight. I wanted to be about 20 pounds lighter even than I am now, but I’m down 17 pounds in the last two months. The new job (out of the food service industry!) helps, but the new job requires a lot of walking, too. Overall, in every way, the new job has been good for my body, heart and soul. I feel like one-year after having a baby, back where you started from is an alright place to be.
Elle’s Happy (Birthday) Hour is tomorrow at 4 PM. It will be much longer than an hour and it will be a great party. I can not wait to share pictures of it. It’s going to be phenomenal. I know that she won’t remember any of it, but she’ll remember through the pictures. And she’ll know, for always, that this is how you love your children – you surround them with the people that hold you up. Friends and family descend on our house tomorrow. I’ve been working on this thing – just mainly the dessert table – for months. It’s going to be awesome and pinterest-ed out. Just wait.
I really need to go. Lots to do before the party tomorrow.