Saturday, October 22, 2011

happy birthday, my baby

 It was someone's first birthday yesterday.

And I may have gotten a bit all Sandra Lee up in this place. For the first time this calendar year, I didn't care about what guests ate [we ordered pizza], and concern for tablescapes [there's a squiggly red line under that word right now--modern English doesn't even recognize it] drove me to JoAnns for three four consecutive days. And while I will shamelessly confess, right here, right now, that, yes, I will be pinning my own crafty pictures up on Pinterest and I that I just might be hoping that they get the heck repinned out of them, this party really was about my precious son, Walker.

don't let the smile fool you, he was crying .01 seconds later

just a little swipe

grandparents and uncles

It was a good thing, to pause and to celebrate. 

A week ago, I was swimming in angst, wondering how it could be that Walker was turning one, wondering if I had been truly present with this one, if I had been enough. With Carter, I felt like every morning was Christmas. I'd wake up, run into his room and excitedly scoop him up, flooded with the most amazing feelings. With Walker, well, it's been a bit more rocky. It's taken me longer to find my footing, to get my sea legs. After he was born, all I wanted to do was to crawl into a dark cave with him, to sleep and to nurse and to sleep some more, oblivious to the outside world and not needed by anyone.

But there was no cave for baby and me.

Another little one needed me this time and I had to be a Mommy to him too.

My marriage needed me also, and apparently, God thought my story of healing needed me as well. Unexpected issues cropped up this past year, real things that demanded focused and intentional work. But I didn't want to be needed by those things. I didn't want to be needed by anyone else. I wanted the honeymoon back, the honeymoon I got with my firstborn. Back then, my world revolved around Carter, my days and nights and naps and outings, and I felt entitled to have that with Walker. And when I realized it would be different this time, resentment lighted on my soul and stayed for a while. 

My world, my landscape, had changed and so would have to my expectations.

When the demands of motherhood quickly revealed to me that the days would not belong solely to the baby, I determined that the nights would. Baby Wise stayed in the garage, unmarked and unreferenced this time around. I didn't care about sleep scheduling--he'd sleep through the night soon enough and I decided that when he cried, I'd answer him. I rocked this one to sleep some nights and held him longer, maybe even spoiling him, as the threat goes, but I needed to be close. The nights were ours and he slept in my bed those first several weeks, against the AAP's recommendations, where I could see him, hear him, nurse him and hold him.

I found ways to steal back the wonder.

It went too fast this time, too. With Carter, I was anticipating every benchmark, every milestone. I knew exactly what he should be doing at exactly what point in his development. With Walker, I just let him be a baby and when he rolled over at two three months, I thought,

Well, that was early...Wait, was that early? 

Baby Wise was still in the garage.

So he rolled over, and then he scooted at five months and then he crawled and stood and signed "more" and said mama [only when he cries] and dada [always when he hears the door chime] and started sleeping through the night at ten months and learned to pull his diaper off last week, all the while endearing a three year old and almost-thirty year old to him, awakening the Mama Bear in me like no other with every, "isn't he a bit small for his age?" comment at the grocery store.

And then he turned one.

Just like that. 

There's no stopping this trajectory of life and no stopping this force of time that keeps rolling forward, with or without our permission, unaffected by our readiness or lack of it.

And so I stop and wonder, God, was I truly present? 

And for the moments I was not enough, can you, will you be, please?

I don't expect perfection of myself, as a mom. Just as I aim to love my children with a pure and selfless love, fully aware of how far I fall short, I also rest in the comfort that God can, and will, use my failures to show himself to these boys.

I aim for love, and not perfection, and pray that God fills in the gaps. 

But every now and then, something will get under my skin and I'll stay up four nights in a row till college-late hours painting white pom poms because they weren't sold in green, hot gluing brown pipe cleaners to caterpillar heads, gluing, cutting, scrapping, baking, piping,

because sometimes, you need tangible proof that you do enough for the second kid. Sometimes, love stops everything and puts life on hold for several days so that your son's first birthday can be called special by you, by your camera, by the memory you'll forever hold.

I love you, Walker. 

Happy First Birthday.

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