Last week you turned a year old.
Throughout the day I thought about what I was doing at that exact time on the day you came. That morning, I was tired and sore and frustrated in a way that only an overdue mama can understand. A few hours later, your sister and I were sitting in the doctor's office watching your heart rate spike and fall during my non-stress test. Minutes later we were watching you bop around on the ultrasound screen. We walked back upstairs to meet again with my doctor and I held my belly as you kicked, with that tiny cloud of fear/shock/realization settling around me that I would soon be a mama to two.
A few hours later, I was in the hospital bed, already 4 centimeters dilated waiting for my mom to get there. Your birth was longer and harder. I did a poor job of preparing myself for the pain once again. Your nona coached me through it all and when my water broke, you came out in 20 minutes. I can remember seeing your brown hair and your smooshed little face and I loved you instantly.
The rest of the day was spent snuggling you and feeding you and knowing that once we left this room, I would not be able to give you such undivided attention. For the past year, I have felt so much guilt about the fact that I was not able to just sit there and stare at you. To soak in every little bit of you. Your tiny mouth, your huge eyes, each and every little peep.
There were far too few chest naps. Far too few uninterrupted snuggles. Far too many first giggles missed.
But there was a lot of love. And a lot of cheek kisses. And something magical that I missed out on with Elle, which was watching my first baby love my new baby.
I tried very hard to never wish time to move faster to when you were sitting, to when you were crawling, to when you walked and instead to just enjoy your babyhood.
And so at your birthday, we celebrated the changes that brought you from tiny ball of infant to attempting to walk toddler.
Grieving that my time as a mother to small babies has ended forever. Never will I birth another tiny, wailing human that is completely and most definitely mine. Never will I pull a small, swaddled bundle from a bassinet in the wee hours of the morning. Never will I provide steady support to a back trying hard to support my sitting little. Never will my baby's tiny fingers curl around my mine while trying to walk.
It is a such a predicament that we put ourselves in as mothers. Before motherhood happens to us, we have no idea that we can love that way. That way that cannot be shaken or broken. A love that runs so deep, it settles deep inside of us. And then grows. These babies we love, they are destined to one day leave us. So we each set out on a hard, often times thankless but always precious road as mothers. Waiting at the end is a bedroom, now empty, which once held the tiny souls we raised. Playrooms are still as the young minds that explored there are now exploring the world.
I can see myself when that time comes, my head resting on the doorway of your room, flashes of babyhood playing in my head, trying to remember all the moments. Tears running down my face for the profound loss that is my own child's childhood.
Now, watching you toddle around the living room, how I wish I could take back every frustrated moment, every time you squeaked and I did not look. Every time you reached for me and I had to walk by.
All I can say is I will try to do better. That I will remember how fast this year went and how the next year will go faster.
My little fearless one. My super cuddler. My littlest little.
I love you.
With all my broken, full heart.