My baby’s going to be a year old soon. A full year.
I don’t know how to process this. I’m still processing the fact – undeniable! She’s right there! – that I am indeed a mother, that I have a daughter, that we’re bound forever. She’ll always be part of me and I’ll always be part of her, and how does a person process this?
Nothing has humbled me like the past year. “Planning is essential; plans are meaningless” – Lord is that true. Motherhood has kept me on my toes. From learning that Caroline would be arriving eight days early, to the madness of labor and delivery, to the early challenges, to chasing her down as she makes a beeline for the dog food…just thinking about it all makes my head as chaotic as postpartum hormones.
But as much as it’s kept me on my toes, motherhood has brought me to my knees in humility. Repeatedly. Humility in my own limitations, in thinking I can’t do it anymore, in wondering what in the world God was thinking when He made me a mother. Humility in learning, over and over AND OVER again, how to ask for and receive help. In witnessing answered prayer after answered prayer. In witnessing the ferocious loving support of the mom community. Humility in learning how amazing my friends and family are, on a whole new level. Humility in realizing how little I knew…how little I know…about love and what it actually looks and sounds and feels and smells like.
Mostly, humility in the face of my daughter. Caroline. I am continually dumbfounded by her. I try to comprehend her beauty, her burgeoning curiosity, the perfection of her little body and all it can do and all it’s learning to do. The power that her grin and her laugh hold over me. Her resilience. Her resilience.
But I can’t. I can’t comprehend it. Maybe that’s normal. I hope so. It’s kind of like imagining the end of a marathon when you’re only at mile 2; it’s impossible and generally not even recommended. You just have to trust that you have the strength.
And you know what? I do. I do trust. Because the last place motherhood has brought me this year is to my feet. I’ve learned that I can keep doing it, that God didn’t make a colossal mistake in making me a mother. I’ve learned that I’m strong, and that I’m only going to get stronger, and it’s going to hurt, but it will be okay. Better than okay. I’ve learned that truly, truly, I’m not alone in anything I go through. I’ve learned darkness and light and so much in between. I’ve learned that there’s no Perfect Mom Mold. I’ve begun to understand, more than ever, how good it feels to let go of things that don’t matter.
On that note: forget processing. I’m just going to try and enjoy this moment.
Happy First Birthday, Caroline Gayle. I love you.
P.S. To my handsome and ever-talented better half: We did it!! We survived the first year!! And we still like each other!!