A very happy New Year to your and yours! When the clock struck midnight on January 1st, 2013 Tim and I were sleeping- or perhaps Tim was sleeping and I was nursing .. or maybe Tim was changing a diaper and I was trying to wake myself up enough to nurse... or maybe I was pacing the hallway with our 2 and a half month old who all of sudden decided she wasn't into sleeping longer than two hours at a time. Either way, we were tired, blissfully in love, but tired. Eloise was growing fast and although I loved her fiercely I wasn't quite used to her yet. I remember hearing people with babies of their own say things like, "I can't even remember a time before her!" or "What did I do with myself before him?" I'd smile, look down at my lovely baby, and say, "I know!"
The thing is, on New Years day last year, I most definitely remembered what life was like before Eloise- very clearly. If I am being completely honest, I longed for it at least once a day. I was unsure of this longing because I was also simultaneously bursting with love for my Eloise and truly wouldn't have gone back if I had been given a choice. However, I couldn't possibly imagine a time when I could actually forget how relaxing and self indulgent life used to be. It was so fresh in my mind. The way it felt to roll out of bed after 10 glorious hours of uninterrupted sleep, or how a long hot shower without a baby crying in a bouncy chair on the floor felt, or how quickly I used to get in and out of the car. The gym- Oh, I used to wake up and say, "I feel like going to the gym this morning." Then I'd go. It doesn't seem like much, but those with children can agree- that simple act is luxury at it's simplest.
All of these memories were so crystal clear in my mind. They didn't really feel like worlds away at all. In fact, sometimes it felt as though they were just waiting for me when I awoke from a dream. Sleep deprivation can make reality seem very hazy. Little ones have a way of forcing your feet to move- you have no other option but to keep putting one foot in front of the other - so I happily did. I gave her all my focus. I changed the diapers, I woke up to put the pacifier in when she needed it, I fell asleep, washed the bottles, made silly faces, sang silly songs, wondered at what a natural my husband turned out to be, took photos, went on walks... and then I did it all again. Slowly, the day to day tasks of rearing a newborn started to become sweeter than the memories of my so called freedom. She started doing more and more human things- rolling over, cooing, crawling, laughing, eating... When Eloise was about 9 months, I can remember it surprising me when I said to a friend with a week old baby, "I can hardly remember the days before...it gets easier." I'm not even sure if it was Eloise starting to sleep through the night or me just getting used to being woken up but I stopped feeling so tired and started being constantly amused by this little being. This was my life now and both her and I had settled into it nicely.
New Years is always a time for making markers in your growth chart- taking tabs, making lists. This week I've been reflecting a lot on the difference a year can make. Every single day, almost all day long- and I truly am not exaggerating- Eloise makes me happy. I could sit and watch her for hours. When I think I am bored or done or need a break- I take one- only to miss her immediately. I learn something new about her and about myself every day. Motherhood seemingly comes natural to me. A tiny newborn rests contently in the curve of my elbow and a toddler sits on my hip quite comfortably. I truly love it and know so deeply that I was meant to be a mama and am so thankful for the opportunity to guide her through life.
The days of sleeping in, leaving the house with just a small purse, and not scheduling my life around naps are not over- they are just on hold. This New Years day I won't find myself longing for them one bit.
Here are our 2013 family portraits- taken by the ever so lovely Meg Sexton.
Happy New Year! :)