First Birthdays & First Steps

Nov. 18, 2018

One year ago, it was my first night as a mama and tonight I sit in your darkened room as you take heavy sugar-coated breaths stuffed full from two delicious first birthday cupcakes. Memories of that night in the hospital cause me to both wish I was back in that moment and give thanks that I am here a year later instead.

During your first days spent coccooned in our postpartum room, time stood still. I remember feeling complete peace in that place, our small family changing from two to three before my eyes with nothing to do but be present to the new little person I had brought into this world. I remember looking out dark hospital windows at lit rooms across the way and felt that I was in a sanctuary. I didn’t move from that hallowed ground for three and a half days as we discovered you, held you in our arms, learned to change, bathe and feed you, becoming parents in a matter of moments. I spent those days and the next six weeks tucked away in the sacredness of your new life and my heart swells with the memories of your tiny beginnings.

I would love to go back and sit for even one moment again with you as a little infant, yet at the same time I am glad to be here, on the night of your first birthday, belly full of cake, house full of friends and family, mind full of memories and heart full to the brim with some of the deepest love I have ever felt.

As I look over the last year, I see the hard moments too. The late nights, struggle to breastfeed, fussy evenings, smashing of a bag of diapers in the driveway, heading back to work earlier than I wanted, complete exhaustion, unpredictable hormones, the shedding of many tears.

However, when I peer into your bright blue eyes, I am overtaken with my immense connection to this little person I have spent the last year discovering.  It’s why I would love to go back and yet would never want to.  In these 365 days, I have begun to discover you and I am overwhelmed by love for who I am finding, the silly and serious, tender and adventurous, strong and determined, joyful and curious little soul. A year of moments and memories, a year of you.

I would never want to go back to a place where I knew you less, because to know you and continue to get to know is one of my life’s greatest gifts. I am so thrilled to be your mama. Happy First Birthday my little Broden Bear!

Nov. 29, 2018

Two weeks have passed since your first birthday and just yesterday you took your first real steps. Your daddy and I have been trying to get you to walk for weeks, propping you up, our hands under your tiny armpits and releasing you to walk a few steps before you finally lunge forward into our arms.  But yesterday was different. This time you turned away from the couch and toddled a few steps all on your own before collapsing into my arms.

Today in your bedroom you did it again and as I watched your arms outstretched as you balanced I could see in your eyes the delight at your new found independence. I could hear it in your claps as I chanted “Yay Broden, yay Broden!”

And then I had one of those mama moments.  As you were walking toward me, all of the moments you will walk away flashed before my eyes. Maybe it’s because I just finished a twelve-hour day of parent teacher conferences and I was brimming with emotion.  But I saw it all clearly:  you walking away into your elementary school, you walking into your dorm room, and all the other moments where you will grow older and walk away from me.  Those precious future memories were all wrapped into the way you looked tonight as you took those first, faltering steps.

Immediately, as I saw how tall you looked and after I cheered you on, I said aloud to you, “I don’t want you to walk, I will miss my little crawling buddy.”  I will miss the way you crawl around our home and barrel forward head down like a rhinosaurus to go as fast as your little limbs will carry you.  But you must walk.  And you must walk away.

I’m sure the rest of momhood will look a lot like these moments of first birthdays and first steps. Cheering you on, yet tenderly clinging to the memory of all that you have been as I get to know you my little bear.

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