Thursday, March 27, 2014

{Real Mom Life} My Baby Is Turning ONE

It's 6:00 AM. Michael is out meeting a friend for coffee. Maylin is still snoozing upstairs. Deuce is curled at the end of the bed. My thoughts are running wild. 

This week has been full. Of busyness, yes, because I'm prepping last minute details for Maylin's first birthday party on Saturday, but also full of emotion and thought. My mind won't quit clicking, and the main click is this: My baby is turning ONE. My baby is turning ONE. My baby is turning ONE. 

Over and over and over.

It's a happy time, I know. I truly feel joy that she's reaching this big milestone. In the first weeks after her birth I was elated if she was just alive and breathing at the end of the day. For both of us to survive for one whole year seemed like the gold medal of life. I thought I'd throw my hands in the air in a double fist pump, or clasp them over my head and shake them from one side to the other in the iconic victory gesture. However, surprisingly, I've also felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. To me, turning one signifies the end of her baby days. She's entering the realm of toddler-hood. 

Quite frankly, I'm terrified. Sad and scared. I never guessed those emotions would accompany her first birthday. 

I'm sad because I can already sense some of the "babyness" leaving her. Naptimes and bedtime for example. She no longer wants to be rocked to sleep. She'll tolerate being held and rocking for a bit, then she's squirming and reaching for the crib, eager to settle herself and fall asleep solo.

Heart. Breaking.

I'm terrified because I know with toddlerhood comes a whole new unfamiliar realm, one of discipline and tantrums and opinions and {even more} stubbornness and inevitable destruction in the wake of a newly walking, always exploring child. {Child, not baby. Baby I feel experienced with. Child, not so much.}

I'm scared she won't want to be my baby anymore. Eventually, she won't. That's life and that's part of growing up, but until I became a mama I had no idea how bruised that would make me feel.

Yesterday, I was in the kitchen and came around the corner to find Maylin halfway up the stairs. She's been crawling up the stairs "by herself" with me behind her for a couple weeks now, but this was the first time I caught her doing it by herself. She turned around and smiled at me so triumphantly, then faced forward and kept climbing. In that moment I felt both fierce pride and deep tenderness, like a bruise on my heart. Proud that she is confident and able do it on her own. Hurt that she no longer "needs" me to do it with her. This is when I realized I will probably feel that unique emotion, the emotion of a mama with a job well done, all my life, with all my children, in many circumstances. I pray I have the grace to let Maylin go for her sake, rather than holding her back for mine.

It is now 7:45 PM, and after a long day of Smash Cake baking, floor sweeping and mopping, and party preparing, Maylin is upstairs asleep and Michael and I are readying ourselves for a relaxing night. Deuce is still curled at the foot of the bed.

I've thought a lot today. And I only cried a little bit. Tomorrow is THE day. The anniversary of her birth. Michael and I have talked frequently how birthdays for especially young children are more for the parents' sake than the child's. The day Maylin was born was one of the most memorable and  emotional days of my life, one that I want to preserve in my memory forever. I think that's why birthdays are celebrated in the first place. To remind ourselves, the parents, of the miracle that changed our lives.

Tonight, we readied Maylin for bed as a family. Changed her diapy, put her in her "sleepy sleep" {our family lingo for pajamas}, warmed her bottle. Then we sat down, Maylin on my lap in the glider; Michael on the ottoman. Michael had his last hug from Maylin as a "0 year old." He prayed over her and over her second year, thanking God for the blessing she is while we held hands and a few tears slid down my cheeks. Then we turned on her sound machine and turned off the lights. And Maylin let me rock her to sleep. Thank you, Lord, You knew I needed that, tonight of all nights.

It was a time of closure. The ending of her baby year and the beginning of a toddler one, the beginning of a new phase in our family, the start of a new relationship with my daughter. It was right, and the overwhelming emotion I had was one of peace. This is how life is supposed to work. Maylin is supposed to grow up. I am okay with that. I am blessed by that. I am looking forward to what her second year brings.

I'll leave you with the poem I read before we turned out the lights, one I discovered tucked on a page in a children's book we bought in Hot Springs when I was still pregnant with Maylin. 

A Verse for the Night Before the Birthday

When I have said my evening prayer,
And my clothes are folded on the chair,
And mother switches off the light,
I'll still be {11 months} old tonight.
But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I'll be {1 year} old.
{One} kiss when I wake,
{One} candle on my cake!

~ M. Merykort from Animal Crackers by Jane Dyer

**Disclaimer:: I know all of Maylin's new developments and maturity are good and natural, especially with Hartlie due in T minus 10 weeks. This is just a first time mama sharing her heart about emotions concerning her first born baby that won't be surpressed by logical thinking.


  1. Happy birthday, sweet Maylin! It is such a joy to watch you grow up!

  2. Love you both very much!!! Happy Birthday, Maylin.

  3. Love you both very much!!! Happy Birthday, Maylin.