When people say having a child will change your world completely, it’s absolutely true. For me, my world changed dramatically from the moment I found out I was pregnant. My life focus rapidly shifted from self and partner to the baby growing within me. As many parents admit, it’s a loss of self in the best possible way; you become less selfish and your world grows immensely.
This transformation into “Parent” is absolutely life-altering; your life is no longer your own in any sense. When our little man Lucas was a newborn, we called him the “Dictator,” his feedings, sleep, cries dictating a great deal of our lives at the time. I was shocked at how big the learning curve for new parents is. As a new mom, I was trying to absorb so much new information, observe, problem-solve and react, and with a little one the target is always moving, as they are growing so rapidly, and no one baby is just like another. However, the ways in which becoming a parent dramatically changes your life are, for the most part, amazing, and when I look back at the old me I don’t feel loss; rather, an infinite expansion of love and growth as a person.
That being said, parenting is the hardest job you will ever, ever have. I remember many people warning me to say goodbye to sleep. Alas, it’s very true; I had absolutely no idea how little sleep I could actually function on. When I think of the early months, I must admit it’s already a haze. The funny thing is, as soon as your baby is sleeping through the night, you quickly forget those sleepless days and nights. Now, I mostly just remember how tiny Lucas was; rocking, feeding and holding him, swaddling him up and staring adoringly into his bright eyes.
Early on, many veteran parents told us, “It just keeps getting better.” And it has! The more Lucas has been able to interact, from that first smile to rolling over, sitting up, crawling and now nearly walking, the more interesting it has become. Not to mention those sweet “Goo’s” and “Ga’s” turning into “Mama and Dada!” It’s been so incredible to grow with him and become a part of his world, watching him experience it, learn, grow, explore. It does seem to get better every day.
This being said, the first year is full of incredible highs, joys, laughter and love. At the same time, any parent being honest will tell you that it’s utterly exhausting. A new baby puts a lot of stress on a relationship and the first year is very intense and taxing. One of my biggest transitions this year was putting my son in daycare. I agonized over it. Having been cared for by family members, dad and myself for his first seven months, he being in the room with eight other babies where he wasn’t the center of attention tore me up. I can now see that he loves the interaction with other babies. His teachers are amazing, loving, engaging and fun. They sing songs, make paintings, explore, and give mommy and daddy the time and peace to do their jobs.
The down side to daycare and a big part of this first year for us has been sharing many germs and illnesses. We were also forewarned about this. Little babies in the same room exploring and very much in the oral phase = getting sick a lot! Since Lucas entered daycare we have been through three stomach bugs, six or seven colds, four ear infections, two pink-eye bouts and probably other things we don’t even know. I am not sure how we would have survived this year without the many late-night, early-morning, and/or anytime calls to my brother-in-law, Dr. David Rhyne (Pediatrician, Westgate Pediatrics-Wake Forest Baptist Health). He has walked and talked us through so many fevers, throw-ups, rashes and “What do I do?” moments of Lucas’s health this year. Mom and Dad have gotten to share these bugs with Lucas, which makes parenting even more challenging, since we can’t call in sick. The upside to experiencing these many ailments is that Lucas is developing his immune system, and hopefully Mom and Dad are building anti-bodies, too!
When I look at my precious one-year-old boy, his wide blue eyes, soft blonde curls, and sweet smile, it blows my mind that less than a year ago he was a tiny, helpless infant, only able to eat, poop and mew-cry. Now my little man refuses any baby food at all; he bats it away, exerting his independence and self-proclaimed oneness. Now he will only gobble adult food cut into pieces, his favorite being cheese, pineapple, sweet potatoes and banana. This is the miracle of life to me, from his conception to the exponential growth a baby experiences in the womb and especially that first year. It’s more than science; it’s an infinite plan that can’t be explained by anything other than a Creator to me. As my husband says, “We are blessed to be your guides through this life.” We will continue to do our best at that and the journey continues…Toddler Times, here we come!
Dear Baby Lucas,
You came into this world a year ago today. Wow, how our lives have been transformed! I will never forget hearing your mewing cry as you first entered this world. It was the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard. Then, holding you on my chest, tears of joy sliding down my cheeks.
You are such a big boy now. It’s hard to believe how many stages and transformations you have been through in merely a year. You are standing up, holding onto things, cruising around the house, almost walking. You crawl and get into things, open cabinets, roll off toilet paper, and it’s just hard to imagine a year ago you were so tiny and helpless.
Now you can almost feed yourself, you eat what we eat and say, “Mama and Dada” regularly.
You are the light of my world! I thank God every day for you and ask that He protect you and let you grow into a kind and caring individual that shares this light and laughter you possess to brighten this world.
Love you always and forever,