At this time exactly one year ago, I was here in my home, enduring labor and working hard to bring a little boy into the world who was eager to arrive and start bringing joy into our lives and the lives everyone he meets. It is so hard to image all the sensations and pain my body was going through as I sit and compare that moment to now. I remember so vividly the immense feeling of joy, relief, and accomplishment after that final push as I pulled him up to my chest. It was unlike anything I’d ever felt.
I remember getting tucked into my bed afterwards and all three of us falling asleep together for the first time. I will never forget that feeling of equal parts exhaustion and excitement. I could count on one hand the total number of people that knew of his arrival and I remember reveling in our joy, just us, for those few precious hours. I remember video chatting our family when we woke up in the morning, and their shocked reactions to see him actually there. We laughed as we told everyone the good news. Our tiny baby boy was here, and healthy. I remember looking at his little face at only a few days old, and saying, “I feel like I’ve known you for so long.” This little person I had only known for a couple of days felt so familiar to me. I remember day after day, night after night of lying in bed, holding him tight against my chest to keep him warm and help him grow. I remember feeling so accomplished at every time we put him on the scale to see that he was growing. I remember being told we were doing a great job, and how much that really meant.
I feel like it is easy to say that I can’t believe a whole year has gone by, but I can. I can recall so many memories of this past year. I can recount so many ways that I have changed. I can just look at my son and see with my eyes, that year, in him. No year will ever be like this year.
If I was naive about one thing in regards to parenting, it was just how much help is needed. Asking for help is one of the hardest things for me to do and this year has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I could still use plenty more pushing but I am so thankful for all of the wonderful people in my life who have helped along the way and made it possible to manage this crazy new life. My wonderful midwives, who gave me the confidence and to bring our son into the world in the most comfortable way possible for me. Sarah for capturing those strenuous and joyous moments of birth and being that wonderful friend that I will always be able to share that memory with. My mother-in-law, Mary for being there for us at the drop of a hat in so, so, so many situations from help around the house, babysitting, and saving our butts more times than I can count. She is such a selfless person and we are so lucky to have her. To my parents, for being wonderful examples of parents, being such loving grandparents, for caring for Bear when we are not around and tagging along on our adventures too. To my invaluable sisters, for everything from postpartum support and care (including cookies!), to their incredible helpfulness, and all of their advice and love. To Sabrina for giving me back the ability to work (you have no idea what that meant to me) and giving Bear his first BFFs. I am so thankful for all of our friends with children so close in age to Bear and watching them all grow together. To my friends that help me remember I am not just a mom. I’m thankful for the smiles of strangers that meet those big blue eyes of Bear. And to my incredible husband, who has become an incredible father. He works so hard to provide this family. He sacrifices endlessly to keep our lives going. And he loves that little boy more than life itself.
Finally, I am SO thankful for Bear himself. I could not have designed a better child for us. He really is everything I have ever hoped for and fits into our lives so perfectly. His happiness is infectious. His independence is inspiring. His silly little mannerisms always fill my heart with joy. It amazes my to watch him grow and learn, and try new things. Everyday is different. The best part of my day is when he sees my face and a giant smile stretches across his. It is so true that there is no love like that between a mother and her child. We are a part of each other, and I love finding new ways that we are alike. Happy Birthday little Bear, You mean more to me than you will ever know.