y sweet Henry,
I remember my sister telling me once that a child’s first birthday is as much a celebration of the child as it is of the parents. “We’ve made it,” they say. “We made it through the first year.”
This is how I feel about the months passing. You’re two months old now and while I can’t believe how quickly you’re growing (no longer my tiny little infant!), I feel a sense of relief as well. “We’ve made it,” I say. “We’ve made it through two months.”
This month has been much harder on me than you. The holidays are over and the brutal winter cold has swept the Midwest. We’ve had sickness in our house and I’ve been doing my best to keep you healthy. (So far, you’ve managed to escape it all, thank God!) While I consider myself a homebody, I also need to get out. In the past, this meant a lot of time at the gym or outside on walks (especially during my pregnancy) or taking my laptop to the library. But now that I’m a mama with a tiny baby, this weather has us holed up a lot more than usual. Because of that alone, I’ve felt more overwhelmed than I had expected. When your daddy gets home at night, I feel such relief to have another adult around!
I’ve also been reflecting on this thing called parenthood a lot this month. The thing about parenthood is that you can’t try it on for size. There’s no accurate job description to prepare you and no job hopping if it’s more work than you can handle. Overnight, you become a CEO with no experience. Once you commit to being a parent, you’re a parent. Even if you don’t have the best—or any—qualifications. Even if you are in over your head. Even if you wake up every day wondering how you’ll make it through. There’s no vacation time or sick leave. The job description, whatever is may be, is ever-changing. In every way, becoming a parent sounds like a daunting task. And, in a lot of ways, it is.
But there’s you. And no amount of overwhelmingness or exhaustion can take away the feelings I have when I look at your beautiful little face. I can’t believe that you’re ours. Still. After two months of staring at you, I still can’t wrap my head around the idea that we get to keep you. I still can’t believe that you are equal parts of us and yet completely your own. People told me that a mother’s love cannot be described and, truly, it can’t. It’s so deep and wide and…indefinable. It’s endless. You smile at me and the world is perfect. You coo and squeal and my heart melts. And your peaceful expression when you sleep? It makes every hard moment so worth it.
You’ve had some big changes during this past month! You started smiling which is truly the most darling thing. I always knew your smile would light up the room because I caught glimpses of it while you’d sleep, but truly, your intentional smile is magical. You’re gonna flip this world upside down, honey.
When you were 3 weeks old, you rolled from your tummy to your back. We thought it was a fluke. But two days later, you did it again and that time, your daddy got it on video. We haven’t seen you do it a third time yet, but little moments like that—fluke or not—give us glimpses into the fun we’re going to have with you once you start being mobile.
You’re going to be a tall boy, I think. You’re pushing out the ends of your 0-3m sleepers and your long-sleeves end up midway between your elbow and wrist. We’d be better off keeping you in onesies and socks. Plus, you hate being hot so there’s that.
You love being on your tummy and would sleep that way if we’d let you. But you also like to be on your back and look around. You’re a very curious little boy. Your grandparents gave you a musical jungle gym for Christmas and you bat your hands around at the hanging toys and kick your feet onto the piano keys by the base. Your daddy and I have long since memorized those annoying programmed songs that play over and over and over with each kick of your little feet.
You and I started going to Baby & Me yoga classes. You’re the youngest one there (but only by a couple of weeks) and you look so tiny next to some of the 8-9 month olds. You love all the stretches and motions and singing and dancing. After our first class, you conked out for a solid 2 hours you were so worn out.
The very first time we gave you a bath a few days after being home from the hospital, you screamed and screamed. You hated it so much. Now it’s your favorite thing in the world. It’s become part of your bedtime routine: eat, bath, read a book, sing some lullabies, go to sleep. You lay in that bathtub like a sultan lounging in his private pools. You’d stay there for hours if we’d let you. I particularly love how, since your bath comes right after you eat, your full belly rounds out of the water like a little island.
There’s so much I’m looking forward to in these next couples of weeks and months. I’m so excited for you to keep interacting more and more and I cannot wait to hear you giggle. It’s often said that if parents can make it through the first 12 weeks, they can do anything. And while I’m still breathing in the scent of your baby skin and kissing your soft scalp and cuddling your curled up self when you’re sleepy and loving the still-somewhat-newness of you, I am also really looking forward to moving out of the newborn stage and entering a more energetic, loud, and social phase with you.
Thankfully, memories of you are so golden that even though I remember these past two months being hard, the golden glow of my memories kill all the shadows of difficulty. With each day that passes, the shadows fade fainter and fainter until I’m left feeling only lucky that I’ve been able to spend every moment with you.
I’m so glad you’re my boy and I’m your mama.
In the words of our favorite bedtime book: “You are my angel, my darling, my star…and my love will find you, wherever you are.”