April 28, 2016

This is why I document

This article hit me right in the heart. So true. [Copying in case the link breaks at some point]

Last night, I sat down to do something I get to about once every six weeks. It was a journal entry for my 8-month-old daughter. I bought the leather-bound beaut when she was about 8 weeks old, didn’t write my first entry in it until 12 weeks, and it’s been sporadic. But it’s very special to me. Some of the pages reveal dried up tears from the early days when I would wax poetic about life and love to her.
Every entry starts the same. A brief rundown of what she’s up to, some stats on her size, sleep, and eating patterns. And then… the tears. “I want you to know that no matter what you do, whom you love, where you go, I will always have your back.” Or these words I almost choked while writing last night: “I am always your mom first, before I am anything else. You will be many things before my daughter — you will have days, weeks, stretches of time where you want and need to push my aside. But darling girl, I will wait.”
Inevitably, I always end up in tears by the end of the entries and I think that’s okay. I also rarely get a chance to put pen to paper and that’s also okay. Because as a mom, I’m busy. My plate is full. But even in the stress, among the piles of dishes and laundry, the unmet deadlines I have to cram in after she’s in bed and my husband is tucked in to a deep slumber, it’s all okay. Because now I’m a mommy. And my heart is so full.
In the early days, I blamed the hormones. But the more I get to know my daughter, the weepier I become about her. First time she slept through the night? Amazing. And sad. First time I felt teeth cutting through her gums? Relief. And sadness. Crawling, and now standing up on her own… I am beaming through the tears. Last weekend my husband and I realized — to his delight and my terror — that we have to start planning her first birthday.
And so it continues. On toward the next new development with a heart that is so overflowing, it sometimes feels heavy. That’s the best way to describe it. Yes, there are hard days and stressful moments. But the essence of motherhood is what keeps me going through it all. What keeps me waking up and going to bed with a grateful spirit. Because now that I’m a mommy, I’m the sappiest, most sentimental person I know.
I love the way she waves at me (and the world), massive eyes full and bright and seeking. I confess I hold her too long after she’s fallen asleep in my arms. In the kitchen, my husband is cooking dinner and I should go. But I need five more minutes, okay, make that six. Or ten. To hold her and be still with her, watch the rising and falling of her chest.
I feel guilty when I’m taken away from her, whether it’s to work or do something for myself. Not guilty because she’s spending time with her father, a family member, or a trusted sitter. Guilty because within moments of the sweet release, my unfettered feet hitting the pavement, the warm sun on my face and my arms free to carry a purse, or a coffee, instead of a child, it hits me. Something’s missing.
I confess I spend too much money on her. Buying things she doesn’t understand or appreciate because we can’t yet communicate about any material possessions she might desire. I’ll have to curb the spending when she’s older, and no, she doesn’t need yet another hair bow or pair of fancy shoes, or noise-making toy. But I splurge from the corners of my wallet every extra ounce I can squeeze out. Because I want her to have things that she can look back on and remember with the same kind of sentimentalism I will.
I confess to putting her before you. Yes, that’s right, if you are reading this, my daughter comes before you. I will whip a boob out in public to feed her and I don’t care what you think about it. I will stop what I’m doing to care for her even if that means your text messages go unanswered for hours or days. I will cancel our plans if her nap or mood doesn’t allow it. Does that mean it’ll always be this way? Of course not, she’s a baby. But! When her needs become less permeating and more spread out, it will still be true in a way. Because when she’s 13 and she gets her period on her skirt at school, I will drop everything to figure out a solution for her. And ditto when she’s 22 and gets evicted because her roommate forgot to pay the rent. And if she has her own children someday, forget it. I’ll be there every step of the way.
You see, now that I’m her mother, I’m a lovesick, pathetic creature. I’m strong, smart, and capable in the real world. But for her, I’m just melted wax. The thought of her, now sleeping quietly in the next room, fills my hurt to bursting. I confess it’s just too much. I’ll keep writing in that journal, when I’m not bent over my computer working, or my kitchen sink doing her dishes, or the side of the tub fishing out her precious toys. When I get the fleeting moments to jot down how I feel about her, I’ll do it. So she’ll know. But I’ll never forget. When I’m old and gray and looking back on life, I’d rather have the memories to show for it, than nothing at all. 
The thought that she’ll one day pick up and leave me reduces me to tears. Yes, there are a few rolling down my cheeks right now. But even if there was only one letter, not a journal full, I’d just want her to remember this: “…no matter what you do, whom you love, where you go, I will always have your back.” And I will always, always love her. More than anyone else ever could.
Read more: Confessions of a Sentimental, Sappy Mom http://www.momtastic.com/parenting/552187-confessions-sentimental-sappy-mom/#ixzz47Aa4qLkv 
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April 10, 2016

Arwen Mae - Ten Months

Last month, it was a little difficult to come up with some developments and new things that you did, but apparently you were just going through a growth spurt because you learned SO many new things this month! In fact, one day, I looked down and you were just crawling! I called to daddy and we just watched in amazement as you just made your way across the room. I wonder if you knew how to crawl this whole time, but was just waiting for the right moment. 

We'll start with the sad news of the month. You had your first ear infection. You had a cold and that morning, you woke up from a nap and just wouldn't stop screaming. We called urgent care, but the next available appointment wasn't for another 1.5 hours, so we walked around the house for that 1.5 hour timeframe. Note, you are about 25 pounds. This picture was right before we left. 

As mentioned, you pull up on everything! You constantly go between Moose's chair, to the window, to the couch, to Moose's crate. We are certainly chasing you around now and once you start walking, we will really be chasing you! Also, you have enough hair for the cutest ponytail/spout on the top of your head! 

It was your first Easter! We went to Church, then Gram W., then Uncle G & Aunt M's house. You did really well and loved showing off your dress. I mean... I loved showing off your beautiful dress. 

I also celebrated my first birthday as a mother! Is that a milestone? We celebrated by going to The Butterfly Place with Aunt K & Uncle B and your cousin. It was really warm, but very cool! You loved watching the butterflies zoom about. I loved trying to take pictures of the butterflies zooming about ;) It was really wonderful to spend the day with you and I hope to make that a tradition - Mommy and Arwen day. 

Arwen, this stage is amazing. You learn new things every day and you are developing SUCH a little personality. One day you came home and all of a sudden you would scrunch your nose and blow out/in through your nose and smile (I should get a video!) and although I probably shouldn't encourage it, I joined in. It was just too cute! You are getting into that stage where if we laugh, you laugh and if you do something that makes us laugh, you will do it over and over. 

This stage is also terrifying because you fall all the time! Even if I am right there, you sometimes just fall right over and I feel so bad! I know, you'll get bumps and bruises and I can't keep you in bubble wrap, but just know that when you get that bump or bruise, I'll be here to wipe away the tears and distract you. Usually with food. 

A little behind the scenes for you! Now that you move all over the place, I can't do these alone! Also, we got new couches.