Last year I was sure I’d lost all control of my bladder. This year, my tear ducts sprung a leak. Where is my baby? But really… on April 15, 2012, I could have sworn I was peeing my pants. Happily, that wasn’t the case… Addie was just trying to make her way out, and I was relaxed and ready. I’d done everything the classes told me to in preparation, and I was ready for: yoga, birthing, breastfeeding, care of a newborn, care of a new baby, preparing your home, first time pregnancy group- the list goes on. I was truly equipped for this thing they call parenting.
And yet, no one prepares you for how hard birthdays will be.
Yesterday was the last morning I woke up with Addie under a year old.
She had gotten up early and Dave took her downstairs for her fruit and milk breakfast, and then brought her back to bed with me. She crawled from the middle of the bed onto my pillow and fell back asleep. It was a perfect morning- as most are- with my sweet girl.
We spent the day with a friend, went for a walk in the woods, and another with Dave when he got home from work.
And as she was going down for the night, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. When I wake up tomorrow, she’ll be a year.
So, here we are.
When I began to think about this post, I had a list of a million things I missed… but in the wake of Boston, there is just too much to look forward to in life. While so many things will change, so many will remain the same. Instead of a list of all the things I miss, I paired it down to these: As a newborn, Addie would make a noise that sounded like inga, when she was hungry. Like clockwork, she would say, “inga”, and I knew that she was ready to nurse. As she got older, she stopped saying inga and began to sign for milk- which she knew was on the way because she put herself on a schedule. At 12 months, she says mummm, which oddly means yum. I know one day, this too will fade, but I love having a new sound to look forward to. I miss the 3am feedings, but she hasn’t woken for a nighttime feeding since she was 3months, so I guess I need to get over that. Lastly, I miss sleeping with her every night. We co-slept for 8 months and 30 days. I have a letter half written to her about that… it broke my heart when she laid down and went right to sleep in her crib. Every night since January 16th, she’s been in her own bed. She self-soothes when she wakes by “reading” or turning music on. She’s growing into her own person, and even at a year, sometimes she doesn’t need me. The good part is: she still needs me a lot more than she doesn’t.
Last year, the day of the Boston Marathon, I was sure Addie was coming- she was going to be my marathon baby. My water had broken the night before, and it had been a long labor thus far. But she stayed in. I tried so hard to relax and breathe- I went over 30 hours without medication or any interference before agreeing to an epidural to sleep early Tuesday morning. When I woke up a few hours later, I felt my contractions and was told it was OK to push. Three hours later, she was in my arms. The 38 weeks I’d waited were for this perfect being I was holding to my chest.
Now I’m watching her sleep, and I want a way to put her back in. I want to know that she will always be OK- that I can protect her from the unknown. I’m unsure of the world I brought this child into. I was going to bring her to the marathon yesterday, but after an insurance SNAFU, didn’t have the money to spend. Does God work in mysterious ways?
In this year Addie has shown me what unconditional love is, and why my own mother never gave up on me. She has shown me patience, generosity, what being proactive really means. She’s shown me how to throw caution to the wind and blog to the world about my experiences. She’s been my anchor, when I was supposed to be hers. She is the reason I know how to laugh at myself. She has shown me it’s OK to smile while you take it all in stride, and that sometimes the news you expect isn’t the news you will receive. She has shown me that dwarfism will not define her, or us. She is the reason Dave and I were brought together.
To best friends
We have created a new extended family that would not have been possible without Addie’s inner beauty, sparkling personality and her being exactly who she is. We are blessed, we are lucky, we are thankful.
Suddenly, in the last few weeks, her waves have gone from backwards to front. She sings hi at passerby. She wants to get down from your arms to hold your fingers and walk. She takes the brush to fix her hair. My baby girl is growing out of her babyhood, and I could not be more proud to be her Mom (and Dave to be her Dad).
While we cannot protect her from everything, I know that we will always do our best to keep her safe, and she will always, always be surrounded by love.
Happy first birthday, sweet girl. I love you to the moon and back.