One Year

One year is a long time; marriages can dissolve, houses can be bought, jobs lost and jobs found, relationships healed and broken. And yet one year is no time at all.

It has been a little over a year since we found out we were going to be parents. A year since R found out he was going to be a daddy. A year since I found out I was going to be a mommy, to a little being that was actually my own, instead of part time mommy to one of my lovely kids I played nanny to. A year since that rain and miracle filled June of '09. A year since crackers and ginger ale became my two favorite things in the world. A year since wanting to shout it from the roof tops that we were expecting, but staying guarded because I didn't want to jinx it. In so many ways it feels much longer than that. A myriad of ups and downs, unknowns and new territory. However, I still have to pinch myself all the time.

The pregnancy felt like it lasted forever, and yet now that she is here it feels like time has sped up. I want to stop time for just a heart beat or two.

Tonight I was attempting (attempting being the key word there) to do some organizing and I found precious ultrasound pictures and my adored mini notebook, decorated with orange butterflies. I want to create something out of the ultrasound photos, 18 weeks 5 days, 22 weeks 5 days, 26 weeks 5 days, 31 weeks. And those are just the ones I found! I know there are more. My orange butterfly notebook is full of (seemingly endless) questions I had for Dr. P, blood pressure readings at all appointments, weight, new thyroid medication dosages that were always changing, baby's heart rate, and many appointment reminder cards. I look back at it all and get a little angry at myself for not being more positive.

Because look at this face:



...she knew she was going to make it here all along.

I think life chose me, after all

The other night I rediscovered one of my all time favorite songs. I always wonder if the reason certain songs hit me so hard is because of what is going on in my life at the time, the actual lyrics, or the beautiful and delicate intertwining of the two. I'm going with the latter of those three.

The song I am referring to is one by Dar Williams, titled 'After All'. It hits you deep at the very beginning, (well it did with me the first time I heard it) when it starts out with the lyrics go ahead, push your luck, find out how much love the world can hold. And it is truly a funny thing how one line of a song can mean so many different things to you at different points in your life. Of course now it reminds me of Sookie and how she made me believe in everything again.

This week I have been making it a priority to enjoy the simple moments and be present in the right now. Such a simple notion, but incredibly difficult to carry out at times. To celebrate the first day of summer on Monday, we went to the park. Sookie had so much fun and was super happy.



I love this photo because it captures her simple joy she is bursting with every single day.

When

I have a bad habit of telling myself I can relax when a certain event is over, when specific test results are back, when a particularly daunting task is completed and wrapped up in a nice little bow. I've lost track over the years of how many times I have said to myself, "Ok, just power through this and you can relax when..." What seems like forever ago, it was "Oh I will relax when I graduate and finally have my BS." Funny how that seems like it was several lifetimes ago now. After finishing up at the U of U, it became "Oh I can relax when I find a job and pay off some student loans and other debt." I will relax when I land a Child Life internship and am on my way to my dream career. And on and on and on...

Needless to say, last year the pregnancy began an entirely new set of "I can relax when..." statements. First it was, I can relax when we see that something is actually in there and I'm not delusional. I crossed that off my list at 5 weeks. Next up was, I will relax when we hear a heartbeat. We reached that milestone at 8 (beautiful) weeks. That quickly became, I can relax after we get to the 12 week landmark. After that it morphed into, I will let myself stop worrying when she will be viable outside of the womb. Following this I let myself dream big of making it to 32 weeks. Initially this was my goal all along, and I felt it was even a little too optimistic considering what we were up against. (Just a note, when I refer to "we" when talking about the pregnancy, I mean me, Sookie, Rory, my parents, my family, my doctors, friends, etc. It was definitely a "we" kind of adventure.) And the ironic thing is once I was 32 weeks along, I actually relaxed a little. Then all hell broke loose. December 18th I spent the evening in labor and delivery because I was having regular contractions and they thought I was going into labor. On bed rest I went. Three days before Christmas the horrible gut wrenching words, "Her left ventricle in her heart is measuring small, we want you to have more tests." With those words it became, I WON'T relax until she is in our arms.

Oh and of course I didn't let the worry end there. When she was safely here I told myself, oh you can relax when you get the results back about whether or not she has Cystinosis. Now that was a marvelous day indeed.

I would so love to say now that all of those snags have been conquered that I am a completely relaxed mommy. That even though Sookie is sleeping an average of nine to ten hours a night, (Yes, I am so incredibly lucky.) I still wake up every few hours to check on her.

My point in all of this? (And yes, I do have one. Ha!) I have come to the conclusion that I simply need to stop doing this. It would make so much more sense to tell myself, "Okay, stop with the when avowals and relax already." Life is always going to be throwing something at you and you are much better off trying to find creative ways to catch everything instead of wasting all your time bracing yourself for the next impact.

Trust vs Mistrust

Erikson's first stage of development, from birth to 1 year, is trust versus mistrust. A baby learns that he or she can either trust the world, that it is a safe place and they have their needs met consistently, or they view the world as unsafe and unpredictable, hence mistrust. In my years of college and numerous child development classes, I've always favored Erikson over Piaget, even though he uses a lot of Freudian ideas with his own. Although I do quite adore the whole notion that Piaget wrote about when children think the word for something is actually hidden inside of it. For example, they think the word sun is actually in the real sun.

The ironic thing is as I watch Sookie in the midst of this stage, I feel myself revisiting it as well, only from a different angle. Mommy guilt is a beast. I was a guilty person before I delved into mommyhood, always feeling horrible about something that was never my fault, however this is a whole new ball game. I feel my background in child development is serving to curse me a little bit here. I know each and every single way I might be doing things wrong and the exact and detailed consequences my shortcomings have on her development. It is a delicate balance being able to take every one of my resources and simply trust that I am doing everything in my power to raise her the way I've always envisioned I would raise a miracle child.

The other thing I'm struggling with lately is trusting the universe. I have found myself in an exceedingly tough place career wise, and now I don't have the luxury of packing up my ambitions and moving across the country in order to keep moving forward. For the past year, I have been clinging so desperately to the idea that one can excel in their career as well as motherhood, but now? Now it seems to be crumbling before my very eyes. And the faster I try to stop it, the quicker it disintegrates. Life is leading me down a path I honestly don't know how to deal with right now, but I find I become very unhappy and frustrated if I fight the flow, kicking and screaming against the current.