We celebrated my daughter’s first birthday this weekend, so I have to take a moment to pat us both on the back for getting through the first year of her life relatively unscathed. It’s hard to believe that the 5 lb., 9 oz. little nugget I was afraid to break now explores every inch of our house without fear, pushing past the baby gates and into forbidden territory whenever she thinks no one is looking. But I’m always looking at her – watching closely as she grows up right before our eyes. Soon, she’ll be telling me she’s at a French Club meeting when she’s really off smoking cigarettes with a boy who dropped out of school to fix cars and/or work on his music career (wait, that was me).
I finally understand why people told me to enjoy every parenting minute - because each day, your kids take a step towards independence. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it can be difficult to deal with someone needing my full attention every minute of the day, but at least I know where she is. Inevitably, my funny faces will not be enough to keep her entertained at the dinner table. I’ll soon be begging her to eat with me without her cell phone.
I know it’s been happening for hundreds of years, but I honestly believe that watching my little girl’s first steps was the most exciting thing I’ve seen in my entire life. But will I still get a kick out of things like watching her sleep after she’s been mouthing off to me?
I’d love to freeze her in time when she’s still small enough to curl up in my lap and read a bedtime story (and use the bathroom on her own, of course!). But I take comfort in the fact that after ruining my high school social life with her rules and curfews, my mother has proven to be a sensible person and one of my best friends.
The road was hard. Along with the challenges I knew I would have to face, like weight gain and lack of sleep, there were a few surprises that I could never have expected (who knew you could get tendonitis in your wrists from poor breastfeeding posture?). But I would definitely do it all over again, and look forward to watching my little nugget become a little lady.