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We’ve had an entire year with you earthside now! How quickly this year has gone by. A year ago today, this day of your birth, I was extremely exhausted as we welcomed you to our family. At 9:38am on Sunday, April 21, 2013 we saw and touched you for the first time ever! Though I clearly remember the moment you were placed in my arms, I couldn’t tell you what I did other than help you find my breast. I was more than ready to begin the ever (and increasingly) daunting task of physically caring for you. The only thing I knew to do was give you that all important colostrum.
See, I wasn’t sure how to show you love. I only knew what I’d learned from books and blogs. I knew you needed to be fed and if I could give you colostrum, that’s all you needed. I knew I’d been told you would know my love when I held you as you nursed. I knew feeding you was the first and most important task I could do. So, no I didn’t count you’d fingers and toes. For a few minutes I didn’t even say your name. But, I held you close, just like I’d read, and I gave you that colostrum.
Today, as I type about those moments, I realize that I did know how to show you love. I was showing you love simply by doing what I knew best to do. I was showing you love by respecting your need above my own need for rest. I was showing you love by helping you stay warm as your body became accustomed to earthside air. All those things I did in those first moments, though not knowing exactly how to do them, were demonstrations of love.
Now I tell you all the time. I show you as often as I breath. Each day this first year hasn’t been easy. Each day has been a learning experience for us both. Each day has been a walk in faith and trust. Just as those first few moments earthside. I didn’t count your fingers and toes because I had faith and trust you were alright. I did what I thought I knew best to do, instead.
You’re such a blessing in my life. I’m so incredibly proud and thankful to have you, to share with you this wonderful life we live together. Things aren’t always easy. Sometimes I’m exhausted, scared, unsure, stressed, or I simply want to be left alone. Most of the time though, I adore every part of you being in my life. I have no problem nursing you multiple times a day, or not, so you can explore this world we live in. I love to watch you play by yourself, figure out how things work, and then show off your accomplishments. I’m in awe of your ability to chime in a conversation, or just start one up on your own. I can’t wait to actually hear your speaking voice, I’m sure it’s full of life just as you.
This first year has been full of, well, firsts. Here’s just a few of the big ones:
– Your Papa and I kept you as safe and close as we could in the hospital that first week. We also successfully breastfed in the hospital the entire time.
– You dined with us at a restaurant for the first time, at 7 days old.
– You met all your significant extended family members those first 2 weeks.
– Your first forest adventure happened when you were merely a month.
– You started trying to hold your head up in the first 2 months. You also had your first first pool experience.
– Your first weekend car ride/trip at 3 months and you also started to sit up on your own and play with some toys.
– At 4 months, you began to demonstrate your love for and knowledge of technology, had your first “big boy” bath, and brought me my first stick!
– First Big Bath at 4 months
– Then, by 6 months you were cruising around and had your first taste of table food, which just so happened to be pizza!
– During your 10th month, we only saw your Papa on weekends as we stayed with grandpa, helping him to get better. Meanwhile, you enjoyed eating crackers and taking sticks to grandpa’s appointments. You also became a guitarist, after grandpa’s favorite musician of all time!
– We returned home and it all seemed so different and scary to you in your new 11 month eyes. We all attended your uncle’s wedding and you climbed the stairs at a state park while I tried to fend off clogged milk ducts, which turned into mastitis.
And we’re still breastfeeding day and night!
I look forward to the adventures to come as you move further and further into toddlerhood and away from babyhood.
Though I’ll never be perfectly perfect, I know I’m perfect to you. There will continue to be days when I know not what to do, I may yell, I may walk away from your incomprehensible screams. There will be more times though, when we play and laugh, explore and learn, talk and dance, or simply cuddle and nap together.
I’ll likely never get this mothering thing completely, but I’ll always show you love, listen to you, encourage you, and continually open doors to new experiences for you. I’ll always want to hold you longer than you want, smell your hair, see you smile, make you laugh, teach when you want to play, and set limits for safety. Some days I’ll want time to stop so I can savor your growing for longer and some days I’ll want you on your own. Through it all, I will hold you close to my heart while following your lead.
So, here’s to many more days and years to come!
*All previous monthly posts and letters for Monkey Boy can be found here.