I've been thinking a lot about this past year. I am the mother of an eleven month old, after all. I've been looking at photos from the baby shower and from the hospital. I've been sighing with my hand on my chest as I fold tiny clothes and pack them away for future babies (hopefully). I've been watching this tiny person turn into a toddler.
Just a year ago, I was learning to adjust from working full time to being a full time mother. She was still in my belly as I tried to embrace this new lifestyle of mine. I would still be making to do lists and balancing a schedule and planning events. Only now, the to do list would be filled with laundry and diapers and the schedule would be divided into three hour increments, defined by a baby's cry for food, sleep, or cleanliness. My event planning skills would help me plan play dates and birthday parties.
There was no doubt that my world would be vastly different. There would be no more lunch hours or happy hours. No more work trips or expense reports. No more morning gossip over coffee. No more heels or tailored dresses. No more makeup. It was what I had secretly wanted all along - to stay home with our daughter; but, the reality of it was a little scary.
Then she arrived, which was the scariest of all. She was over four weeks early and I was less than prepared, but in the first moment I heard her cry, before even seeing her face, I transitioned into a mother. In that moment, I became less important. In that moment, my needs were instantly pushed aside to make room for hers. In that moment, I began to discover a part of me I never knew was there. We instantly became a family of three.
Eleven months later, I am still transitioning. I would be lying if I said there weren't days I longed for a dirty martini over happy hour with the girls, and I'm pretty sure my heels cry a little each day I open the closet and reach for the tennis shoes; but this transition has been the most difficult of all - becoming the mother of a toddler.
The past two nights, I have attempted to rock my baby to sleep only to have her wrestle me until I put her down and let her fall asleep on her own. My heart breaks a little as I slowly back out of the room and shut the door, knowing this is a good thing, but wishing I had known the last rock goodnight was the last. She wants to feed herself, turning her head and giving me a look of contempt I know all too well as my own as the reaches for the spoon herself. She stands on her own, on the verge of walking, and goes to her toy shelf to pull out exactly what she wants. She is getting so big.
It's a feeling I think only another mother can understand - wanting your child to grow up and stand still at the very same time. I wished so hard for each milestone, begging her, through coffee sponsored mornings, to just sleep through the night already. I coached her to crawl. I taught her to stand. And now, looking back, I wonder what my hurry was. I can't wait to see what this next year brings. I cannot wait to hear her talk and watch her walk and see her personality blossom before me. But, a little part of me wants to squish her against my chest and just rock her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth...without a fight.