Having a baby is the best event of my life, in particular because it is not a static moment wherein an event occurs, but rather a transcendental perpetual new existence that is forever changing, developing, and growing. When SuperBoy was born I could not have believed how profoundly our lives would change, inside and out. Looking back on this last year, here are five specific ways in which our lives have changed.
Much like our beloved dog pictured here, Nina, we as parents have learned to put ourselves second to SuperBoy’s needs, desires, and irrationalities. I’m sure Nina didn’t think she’d ever be anyone’s pony 🙂 Nor did I think that I’d ever be capable of getting over my own needs, desires, and irrationalities in order to care for him. Whether it be the first few months of poor sleep, continual nursing, and rapid diaper-making, or the middle months of toppling over and teething, or these latter months of this first year consisting of crawling, getting into everything, and asking for extra soothing at nap times, it’s all pushed me to give more. More than I knew I had to give, or could give! Same goes for AA who is a devoted dad despite working a very full-time (sometimes over-time) job in a difficult career.
2) A whole new love.
He has increased my capacity for love. Not only insofar as how much I love him (infinitely much) but also how much my love has increased for my husband, family, and friends. My husband is an inspiringly loving person to begin with, but watching him be kind, patient, and thoughtful towards me and SuperBoy throughout the past year has just taken his lovingness to a new level. It’s easy to love when times are fun, and harder to be loving when it’s the middle of the night and someone has to get up with the baby, or it’s the end of a long day and someone has to pick up toys, give a bath, and put a child down for the night. AA is loving throughout all this and more. Additionally I appreciate my own mother so much more! Now I know what she went through to raise five children! And my dad, who loves his grandson more than life itself, demonstrates his love by doing things around the yard for us, picking up takeout, and playing with “his” baby when we’re tuckered out. My sisters and brother have heaped on the love to him and us, babysitting, cooking, cleaning, surprise trips in from out of town, and just caring so deeply for their nephew. I love my family all the more in light of their love for my son. And I’m more forgiving and loving toward other moms who are late, have to cancel a date, don’t get things done “on-time” because now I’ve joined their ranks!
3) The art of being present.
It’s difficult to be fully present in the moment. Age quod agis, as Saint Paul writes, “do what you are doing.” In the past year I’ve reminded myself time and time again to simply be present. Whether it’s because I want to do a million things and SuperBoy needs me to smile at him, read him a book, just play with him, or hold his hand so he can walk, or because I am frustrated he’s not asleep yet, won’t stop squirming for a diaper change, or worried I can’t get his dinner ready, our dinner ready, and the house picked up. To simply be present and actively so is an art that’s always a goal!
4) Relearning the world.
To see the world through a baby’s eyes is to relearn it. Over the last year SuperBoy went from an immobile little bundle of chirps to a slightly more mobile and vocal flayer of limbs to a giggling sack of potatoes to an inquisitive talking crawling snuggling little boy. His facial expressions have developed not only as they obviously do in a biological sense, but based on his experiences. For example, he finds our small American Eskimo dog hilarious. He laughs sua sponte at her for no discernible reason. Also he loves grass and leaves. His eyes light up when he gets to grab at a tree branch or go crazy ripping up grass. I’ve seen how kale and yogurt can make him look worried, how his first sip of Organic Whole Milk today gave him a sweet smile, and how sneezes and nose blows are scary and then amusing. Being around him while he’s learning the world has given me many pauses to see the world through his eyes, anew.
5) Active appreciation.
I’ve learned to be actively appreciative of the last year. I have a healthy, happy baby, a loving hardworking husband, and a giving, helpful family. There was so much I took for granted in my life, pre-baby! Even things like eating a quick bowl of cereal for dinner, instead of ensuring he has his homemade food ready. Or sleeping in, showering whenever, and being able to run out the door to an appointment. Those are the go-to complaints about new parenting, right? But I’m working on actively appreciating that I take the time for nutritional food for all of us, make the most of the sleep opportunities that present themselves, have to be tidy with my time so I can shower regularly, and structuring my days such that when I have to leave the house, with or without him, I’m ready. The past year has been all about adapting to new phases, being appreciative of the opportunities for growth and character building, and counting my many blessings.
Happy Birthday to my sweet baby boy!