Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One Heck of a Year

I wrote this post about a week before Owen turned one. Sorry, life got busy and I forgot to post!

A few nights ago, Patrick and I were discussing the past year. We are going to have a one-year-old in a few days and this realization conjures up a plethora of emotions. I feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and yet there is a bitter-sweetness sinking into my heart. You may have heard the following quote before, but it couldn't sum up my thoughts and feelings any better.

  "The days are long but the years are short."

This past year has been the biggest roller coaster that I've ever been on. We have had our fair share of long days. When Patrick and I thought back through the year, we were amazed at all that has taken place but then blown away by how fast it was at the same time.

I remember bringing that little bundle of joy home like it was yesterday. I remember sitting down to dinner while our tiny baby slept in the swing. I remember waking up early the next morning to take him to the first of many doctor visits we would have in the first few weeks. I remember feeling tired and yet energized. I was on an emotional high and chocked full of adrenaline yet those feelings were coupled with physical exhaustion and crazy hormones. I was so happy and excited. I don't think I had been that excited since my wedding day.

As the weeks passed, however, I remember feeling trapped. He was so demanding. I loved him dearly, but the adrenaline was fading. I was tired. I was sick of the nipple shield (TMI?), the feedings every night, trying to shop with a newborn, the pressure I felt to get out of the house. I remember a frustrating conversation with Patrick over when we'd be back at Mexico Lindo. I just sat there and cried. I didn't want to go yet. I wasn't ready. It wasn't that I couldn't do it. I just didn't want to yet. Was I sick of being in the house? You bet. At the same time, however, I was lacking the energy to really go anywhere.

My life had been forever changed. It wasn't about me anymore. It was about this little baby. I was getting about two and a half hour windows between feedings. At six weeks postpartum I found myself at home alone while Patrick was on a winter retreat. It was all on me. If it hadn't been for my supportive sister, I would have had a mental breakdown. She and my friend Laurie are the only two people that kept me sane.

Luckily, we made it through new years week and through the terrible six week growth spurt that had me seriously re-thinking the whole breastfeeding thing. At some point in the weeks that followed, everything began to click. My milk supply leveled. Owen dropped to about one feeding a night. He and I were a rock star team. I could get him changed, nursed, and back in the bed in less than 30 minutes sometimes. Plus, at 8 weeks postpartum, we made it back to Thursday night Mexican (that margarita was amazing). As Owen outgrew onsies, my confidence grew. We could do this. The three of us were doing this.

We have conquered so many transitions this year. My job is just one example. I went back full time for a month, then worked flexi through the summer, and have now transitioned to weekend night shift. Crazy. I would have never in my wildest dreams thought we would end up here. I know one thing is certain. God really does give us exactly what we need right when we need it. Notice that I said need there:) I may not get my wants, but our needs have been met.

Patrick and I spent a few moments recounting memories from the past year. I wanted to write this post partly because I wanted to preserve them. The following is some of what we both talked about with my own additions I've recently reflected on.

Our first few moments as a family... The many stages of poop... The cutest little wrinkly forehead. I guess I kissed the wrinkles away... Spit up that occurred after every feeding- glad that phase is over!... Cuddle time in our bed every morning... Patrick and Owen's special "talk" in the chair in the living room... The glorious phase where Owen would sleep while we were at a restaurant... His green and grey "elf hat"...His jumper seat... Singing "wheels on the bus" or letting Owen watch the app on Patrick's iPhone... Drool- lots of drool... Singing his special "Owen bug" song that we made up... Owen's tell- sucking his two fingers on his left hand and holding his ear with his right means it's bedtime... The sweet sound of his giggle. Melt my heart... Kisses for daddy when he came home from Northern Ireland... "Nope, not much hair yet"- If we could only have a dollar for every time we had to say that... Owen and I driving to Hilton Head, SC at 7 months old. I'll never forget driving through stupid Atlanta traffic in the rain with a screaming baby in the back... Sympathy coughs... The night he started clapping his hands... The morning we realized he slept through the night. High five!... Praise baby- a lot... 90-95th percentile head... Little Piglet..."Don't y'all feed this kid?"- Yeah, we should get a dollar for that too... Overwhelming love... Family.

I could probably go on and on but I will stop there. It's kind of nice that Owens birthday falls right around the season of Thanksgiving. He has become one of the things that I am most thankful for. My sweet baby boy has had such a busy year. He has been one of our greatest sources of joy. I'm thankful that I get to be his mommy.

He just cracks himself up.

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