Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Month 12, A Review

Dear Phoebe,

I realize that with each month I get later and later writing these, but the lateness just so happens to coincide with your getting more and more active. By the end of each day I am so exhausted I just want to sit on the sofa and veg out with your dad instead of being in front of the computer thinking about what to write. And while you're awake? Ha! Forget it. I'm chasing you around the house preventing you from hurting yourself.

Right now you're napping (or you were when I started this, like, 2 weeks ago) (and I wish I was napping too!) so I have a minute to actually exhale, ignore the mess in the living room (oops -- it's still a mess ... 2 weeks later) and write.

The past month has been busy to say the least. You finally had your eye surgery and -- from what we can see so far -- it appears your eye is fixed! The doctor said it looks "perfect". We have another follow up in August to check again, but so far so good.

We also celebrated your 1st birthday with MANY cakes (3 total) and presents (I lost count) and pictures (also lost count). You seemed to have a good time at your birthday party and so did we.

A major reason this post has been so delayed is that for your birthday, I made a DVD photo slideshow to show everyone at the party your life for the past 12 months. And -- after a LOT of bad words -- I realized I was in no way going to be able to upload it here. I am still a little mad about it.

You are becoming so much like a real person these days, it's so strange to see the transformation from lump of baby to crawling, self-feeding, opinionated baby. The books say that after 1 year you're a toddler, but I refuse to call you that until you can at least walk. So you're still gonna be a baby for a little while longer, I'm afraid.

Your new gimmick is to want to eat whatever your dad and I are eating, even if you're not hungry. And then, when I give you a piece of whatever it is I'm eating (toast, for example) you will feed it to the dog, who will eat it and then you start crying because you don't have it anymore. It's so predictable and so funny. You get the saddest look on your face like you can't believe the world would be so unfair.

In the past week or so (which is, technically, month 13, but whatever) you have started getting up on your hands and feet. I fear standing and then walking will be happening all too soon. I'm excited to see you walk, but also so tired thinking about all the chasing around I'm going to be doing, following after you.

The other day I ran some errands while you were home napping with dad. It felt so odd to be driving around without you in the backseat or trying to juggle carrying you and the diaper bag and fighting with you to strap you into a grocery cart.

I felt so ... alone. A feeling I used to RELISH. My Saturdays would be spent waking up (early, actually, because I enjoyed the morning when I got to SLEEP ALL NIGHT without worrying if another human being under my care was still breathing) and having a few cups of coffee, taking Lola for a walk and lazily perusing the Internet, before heading out for a day of shopping at antique and consignment stores, stopping by my mom's to say hi, lunching somewhere delicious and then taking a nap before going out for the night.

I loved those times. I mean, I would listen to whatever music I wanted in my car, I didn't have to be anywhere, nobody was relying on me, I was completely free.

So when I headed out the other day -- alone -- I was so hopeful. I thought "Here it is! I am free! I can do what I want!"

Except, I really didn't have that much to do. I mean, farmer's market, grocery store, bank. I tried to prolong the trip by stopping at Ross, but everything just seemed so empty.

I kept thinking about what we -- as a family -- were going to do when I got home.

When I saw the families at Farmer's Market I thought "Hey! I have a cute baby, too! I do! And a husband! And they're both at home right now because I had to get to farmer's before it closed, but I've got 'em! Want to see a picture!?"

I walked into the grocery store wondering if anyone there would know I was a mom. Not that they cared, but I wondered all the same. This is how I've been defining myself for the past year.

And I like it.

I remember venturing out to the store after you were first born and I was so tired, and so bloated with leaky boobs and swollen ankles and I felt so strange. I wanted to shout "Hey! I just had a baby! Did you know that!? I'm a mom now! I have a baby at home! She's not with me right now, but I have one! And she's awesome!"

I'm starting to realize (even though it still annoys me) that maybe that's why my mom always calls me over when we're at events "Hey did you meet my daughter!?" And I groan and go "UGH MOM LEAVE ME ALONE!" and she's like "YEP THIS IS HER!"

I want to do the same thing with you -- because that's who I am. I'm your mom. And it's a job I take very seriously and gives me a sense of accomplishment mixed with pride.

And it wouldn't have been possible if you weren't born, without so much as a wince of complaint (really - I didn't hear you cry until you were a few days old and oh my gosh can we please go back to that lifestyle?), a year (and a few weeks) ago.

I mean, look -- in the past year we have survived! I've been a mom for a (little over a) year and things seem to be going pretty well. I've done it.

We've done it. That's pretty cool, I think.

You have forever changed who I am as a person. You have changed my heart, my perspective, my priorities. You have changed me. I've said before that I wish you could get to know the me before you were born, but I guess it's safe to say that "me" doesn't really matter as much right now because that "me" no longer exists. I'm never again going to be a woman without a baby. I'm always going to cry at sappy things (I RARELY did that before). I'm always going to worry about you (sorry). I'm always going to love you so much it hurts and I'm going to squeeze you in public and shower you with kisses until you can't stand it anymore, and then I'm going to keep on doing it and tell you "I'm your mother and I love you".

I'm always going to be "Phoebe's mom", whether you are with me at farmer's market or not.

For the time being though, I mean, at least while you let me, I'm just going to keep on taking you with me everywhere I can. Because I realize the time will come -- all too soon -- when you will grow up, move away, and want your own alone time on Saturdays.

I just hope you'll pop in and say hi. Maybe we could even go to Farmer's Market together.



Jocelyn said...

I love it . . .

robyn :) said...

what you say about going out and being "free" ... you are so right! you want some alone time so desperately, but then when you get it, you feel so naked out in public. i have to force myself to take longer as well. the ymca helps me to enjoy an hour of uninterrupted exercise, but everything else feels awkward without one or both kids. i need a date! with joe, of course! enjoy your cutie :)

Kate said...

Your daughter is beautiful! My son just turned one. It's a great, but crazy time!