A few nights ago I spent some time working on Sawyer’s first birthday invitations. I couldn’t find any that were just right for the theme so I decided to design them myself. By the time I looked at the clock it was 11:00 p.m. I couldn’t believe how much time I had spent moving tiny graphics and text boxes around on a little 5×7 card. I was trying so hard to make it look just like I wanted. Trying to fit each part into its perfect spot. How could a few hours have passed by so quickly?
Then it hit me – how could this year have passed by so quickly?
At this time last year we had a little more than a month before we would meet her. I was terribly ill and much to my dismay, stayed sick until the day I gave birth. I wasn’t able to plan everything how I wanted. I wasn’t able to finish the nursery (there were piles of tiny clothes and decorations still to be put on the wall). I wasn’t able to pack my hospital bag with all the right things (we forgot the damn camera). I wasn’t able to research and take time to pick the perfect car for our growing family (our minivan is awful). I had no control. Humans hate to lose control, don’t we?
But, as it turns out, babies don’t wait until you’ve got it all down in your perfect planner. They come when they’re good and ready and it’s messy and beautiful and painful and amazing. Giving birth shatters you and heals you all at the same time. Even after doing it three times I still don’t know how that’s possible.
I knew it would be a difficult transition before she was even born. When you add a life to this world you breathe a little softer. You work a little harder. You sleep a little lighter. You worry and they fuss and it’s all a million imperfect moments rolled into one big family story. This is ours. We’re living it right now. All these little messes. They’re ours to hold onto forever.
Somehow, even though I was worried it wouldn’t happen, the milestones have been met. Sitting up, crawling, standing, cruising. She’s so close to walking. And even though I’ve already seen two human beings take their first step I’m like a kid in a candy store holding out my hands waiting for her to take that chance. All of this is magical. How they go from a tiny, fragile bundle to a risk-taking toddler in only one year.
I stopped what I was doing and went upstairs where she slept. I walked into her dark nursery. She was completely still, laying on her side, arms outstretched. Her lips suckled for the breast every few seconds, one of my favorite infant reflexes that will soon disappear.
I placed my finger between her hands and instinctively she grabbed it. Afraid to take it away, I sat down and watched her sleep for a few minutes. Her eyes fluttered as if in between a dream and wakefulness. And I smiled at our precious girl. I wouldn’t change a thing. Not a single moment. Because everything that has ever happened to me, good or bad, brought me to that place in time. With her tiny hand wrapped around my finger. What a privilege it is to be their mama.
I’m so grateful for this life, for them, that sometimes my breath gets stuck in my throat. I am bewildered by the goodness that has been shown to me and although I sometimes fail, I try every day not to take it for granted.
Sawyer has been a shining light to me this year. Words would not come close to how much I love her. She completes my heart. She completes us.
Beautiful, messy, us.