We took this sweet video just after my parents moved here. As you can see, True thinks grandma is hilarious with her makeshift slipper puppet. I could watch this all day long. So joyful!
As True somehow approaches his first birthday, I’m thinking of our journey together – him, me, John, the grands, all of us. I’m thinking of the many days this last year, especially in the beginning, when I thought I would cry all day long from exhaustion, but also the days when I thought it just doesn’t get any better than this, how everyday I couldn’t wait to see him first thing in the morning. We’re constantly trying to figure out how to be with him as much as we can while working while finding our personal space while staying close to our friends while living a somewhat well rounded life – not too hurried, not to stagnant, but just right, peaceful. What a journey it has been. In some ways it feels like life got very very narrow, yet here I stand with the widest heart I’ve ever known.
The layers of new parenthood run deep. The relentlessness of the entire experience is the thread that runs through all of those layers, challenging me at every edge to stay in the moment, to breathe easier, to lean in fully. I am learning the art of cozying up with the chaos that comes with never being on time, tasks taking weeks to complete vs hours, conversations playing out over email for well over a month that would normally take two days to complete, and on and on. You mamas out there know exactly what I’m talking about, right? Life is worlds different from before. The time management piece has been a huge adjustment. The letting it all go has been a huge adjustment. The living with changes that happen at lightening speed yet the slowness of the everyday has been a huge adjustment. The getting familiar with a new version of self and marriage has been a huge adjustment.
I often wonder why parents aren’t talking about all of this all of the time?
It’s such a strange land. I remember when True was first born, I felt so incredibly new, like I had just arrived for a permanent stay at a different planet where they speak a different language, live a whole different life, where I knew nothing and nobody – a place where I was afraid yet also comforted by the love I had for my new baby and the truth that everyone there had gone through what I was going through – a sisterhood of souls that had traveled through new mamahood. I’ve known from the beginning that I’d have to find my way to the new version of myself and this new life, one brave step at a time. It’s such a odd experience – to feel brand new yet whole all at once. To feel love yet terror all at once. To feel confused yet deeply okay all at once.
Almost one year in, I can see how much courage it takes to be a parent, how terror and love dance with one another every second of everyday, how harnessing that energy and that relationship takes major effort, but how all of that is worth it. I can see now how living with a completely stripped heart takes practice, how it beats deeper now, how it has more and more to lose with each new day of new life with a sweet baby and how that alone can be scary enough to want to jump ship every now and again. I can see now how babies transform the whole family, how they can reset dynamics, and help forgive. I can see how love really is everywhere, how new life and new ways of seeing and believing are everywhere. I can see now how marriages deepen the second a baby is born yet stumble with sleep deprivation – and how partnerships ebb and flow, steady as the tide with the push and pull of understanding and connection. I can see now how crazy hard it is to work when all you want to do is snuggle. Yet I can also see and feel exactly how we can lose ourselves to too much togetherness and not enough space to remain who we really are. I can see now how precious every single moment is – how we really are building our stories with all of those moments. We have to make them count.
I’m learning the funny fact that what they say in those corny quotes + sayings are actually true:
That having a child really is like having your heart walking around outside of your body, that our children really are the ones teaching us and not the other way around, and that parenting really is the toughest but most rewarding job on the planet.
It feels like grace, like wide open spaces of grace. I’m so changed by this journey. Having baby True feels like the best Christmas Morning times a bazillion, every single day – so much giving and receiving and joy and celebration and wonder all mixed into the spirit of what really matters inside life’s most special moments. I am so lucky. And I’m especially lucky to be doing all of this discovering with John and a sweet little boy named True that I’m sure was meant just for us.