Sunday, January 3, 2016

How Do You Measure a Year?

One year.  12 months.  52 weeks. 365 days.  8,760 hours.  525,600 minutes.  A year.  So much can happen in a year.  People can get new jobs.  People can buy a new house.  People can move away.  New friends can be made and lost.  And your baby can grow up.

A year ago, I had a tiny, totally helpless little baby who could rest comfortably in the crook of your arm.  A year ago I bought a preemie outfit because my daughter was so small that newborn clothes swallowed her.  A year ago I almost didn't have that little baby because of complications.  A year ago I was sliced open, and stapled back together.  A year ago, I became a mom, and I struggled with everything that simple title encompassed.  A year ago, the world turned upside down.

Now, here we are a year later, and I have a little girl who is moving swiftly toward more and more independence every single day.  The helpless baby is gone, and a toddler with preferences, thoughts, and opinions is emerging.  My baby who fit in the crook of your arm would rather do anything but be held in one place for any amount of time.  She's on the go, and she has no intention of stopping for anyone.  The sleepy infant has been replaced by a girl with personality and humor enough to spare.  Today, that tiny baby who needed us for everything is no more, and it happened so fast.  A year seems like such a long time, but it also can feel so short.  To quote my homeboy Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast, and if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it".

At the end of the day, a year is a blink in the big scheme of things, but that first year feels so significant.  It feels important.  You go from waking up every two hours to feed a crying baby to sleeping through the night with a toddler who is just as content to be asleep as you are.  You go from bottles to baby food to just including your kid in your daily meals.  It feels big.  That much change in such a short time feels big.

A lot of moms cry because their babies are growing up and need them less, but I've never been that mom.  I love watching her grow up and be more independent, and there really isn't a piece of me that wants to keep her small for longer.  I didn't get emotional over any milestones.  Then, as I was putting her to bed on her birthday, I started crying and I couldn't stop.  Not because she grew up.  Not because she was older and wouldn't need me as much.  I cried because we both made it.  A full year, and we both came out on the other side just fine.  More than fine, honestly.  I cried because when she finished her bottle she reached up and hugged me and buried her face in my shoulder, because after a year she still wanted me.  She wanted me to comfort her.  She didn't hate me.  That is so foreign to me, to go a full year and have people still love me.  I cried because I did it.  I survived that first year.  I survived the sleep deprivation.  I survived the self doubt.  I survived the surgery and the pain meds and the recovery.  I made it to the other side and I'm still able to say that she's fabulous and I love her.  Even when she drives me crazy.  Maybe I cried because I always wonder if I'm capable of really loving anyone.  Like, even people I love and care about drive me to be frustrated with them and need space from them, or I'm driven to complain about them to other people and it makes me question whether I really love them if I can so easily be driven to frustration, but I honestly love her.  I cried because after all of the doubt and the questioning, I'm not too bad at this mom thing so far.

It's been a year.  One crazy, chaotic, ever-changing year.  We made it.  Bring on the next one.