In a few short weeks, my daughter will be two years old. I cannot believe that two years has come and gone. Although it is cliché, it feels like only yesterday we were bringing our little bundle home. And little she was. She was only 6 pounds when we brought her home. My how things have changed! Now, she’s a big girl. No more calling her baby.
The path to motherhood was one I never gave a lot of thought to until after I got married. Then again, I never imagined I would get married. It wasn’t so much trying to find the right guy (although there were several bad ones along the way), as trying to find a man who could put up with my craziness; someone who would be willing to have a good time with life. And boy, did I find him! Zach has taught me to suck the marrow out of the bones of life. To really relish moments, even the terrible ones. To laugh loudly and with passion about everything, no matter how inappropriate. And because I was successful in finding and marrying him, we did what most other couples do-start thinking about having a family. Two years after we were married, we had Sailor. She was, and still is, the best thing that has ever happened to us as a couple.
As I said before, I hadn’t thought much about motherhood, including what type of mother I wanted to be. As a pregnant lady, I was miserable. Pregnancy does not suit me. It made me feel too full to bursting, nauseous, and terribly ugly. I don’t think I have ever despised myself more than when I was pregnant. Add to that being in my final semester of college, as well as my mother being diagnosed with breast cancer and you can probably deduce just how fantastic I thought pregnancy was. I was nervous, constantly consumed with what was going wrong within my body or what would go wrong once the baby was born. And then the day arrived. I was induced, and three hours later, I was holding the most beautiful baby girl there ever was (funny how all parents feel that way). And that is where the real adventure began.
I have never been a baby person. I didn’t babysit as an adolescent. Although I had changed many adult diapers, I had successfully maneuvered through 27 years of my life without having to change a baby’s diaper. I had never fed a baby. All I could think was, “what have I gotten myself into?”. Turns out, I wasn’t so terrible after all.
Reflecting on the past two years I realize just how far I have come. I breastfed Sailor for the first year. I became adept at pureeing baby food from scratch. I changed quite a number of cloth diapers, and did more laundry in the first six months of her life than I think I have done in MY entire life. I became a homemaker. A stay at home mom. A housewife. I learned how to treat thrush with Gentian violet. How to give her baths in ever increasing amounts of water. At the urging of my husband, I learned how to let my baby cry in order to teach her how to self-soothe. I made her first birthday cake from scratch, icing and all. Our electricity went out and I had to make simple syrup on a propane crawfish boiler. I packed her up and moved her 700 miles away with a broken ankle. I watched her take her first steps while I was on crutches. I’ve also picked up some other skills not relative to the baby at all, but definitely in line with how I hope she remembers me as a mother later in life.
I am thankful every day for her. She has brought to fruition something within me that was always lingering, yet never fulfilled. She has made me value life more. Value relationships more. Watch my tongue. Check my attitude. Smile a lot. Sing silly songs loudly. Blow lots of bubbles. Become an artist. Look at the world differently, and challenge her to keep looking at the world that way. A way that is beautiful in its ugliness. A way that keeps us all guessing what in the world will happen next.