Tomorrow Baby Harry turns one. As I reflect on the last 12 months, I realize that I am approaching this day much more soberly than I anticipated I would. The last year has been so. very. hard. I have been pushed physically to a brink I didn’t know existed. There are entire weeks–almost months–I have no recollection of living. I have been forced to sacrifice my pride daily, and sometimes multiple times a day. Not only have I gone to Target in leggings and with no makeup, but I didn’t even care that I did. I buy prepackaged everything for the big kids’ school lunches. I have even paid DoorDash an outrageous sum twice just to bring me a Starbucks cafe americano with five shots of espresso when the baby was asleep and I couldn’t leave the house.
This is my new normal.
I’ve learned I’m not so much a newborn baby person as I am a “call me when they’re sitting up and babbling” person. The last six months have been so much more fun than the first six months. Undoubtedly, this is due to us finally getting Harry off of all dairy products and then sleep training him (DO IT. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE). We laugh more now and have something approaching a routine.
I am grateful. I am grateful that his health challenges of chronic ear aches and digestive issues are not more serious. I am grateful for his siblings who show him so much love — and how his face positively lights up when they enter the room. I am grateful that Fergus, our senior rescue dog, who clearly does not like Harry has not resorted to being aggressive and thus forcing me to relocate him. Because that would be traumatic–but I would do it.
I still don’t really know what I am doing. But with the help of frantic phone calls to my mother, texts with friends, a really good baby chiropractor, and amazing day care staff who never make me feel dumb when they have to teach me basic childcare concepts and milestones, we have survived. And as I contemplate what to buy my son on this milestone birthday, I can’t help but feel like I should be the one receiving gifts for keeping this precious child alive all of these months!
I just want you to know that being the mom of a baby is hard. So if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. If you see perfect photos and hear adorable anecdotes from friends, just smile and nod and know that there is always more to the story.
This weekend, as I scoop damp Cheerios off the floor before the dog can grab them, wrestle the baby with fingernail clippers in my hand, and wash another half dozen dirty bottles, I will toast this little bambino who has changed our lives so drastically and thank the Lord for choosing me to be Harry’s mom.