This past week, my husband and I have been recovering from a long month of traveling, planning, and preparing for various events that made September a whirlwind of a month. It’s been a fun and busy time for us, and I’m thankful we could celebrate some special events with so many friends and family that we don’t see very often.
During this past week, we’ve been cleaning up our house from our son’s birthday party. I guess a parent can never prepare for what will happen at a child’s first birthday.
Needless to say, our little guy slept for half of it, and then cried while eating his cake.
It was probably a little startling for him to wake up from a nap and have so many people starring at him as he ate something overly sweet that he’d never experienced before.
But, he ended up enjoying himself after he had some real food, and could move around in his little walking scooter. So, it ended up being a good birthday overall.
I can’t describe how quickly this first year of my son’s life has gone. And yet, there have also been some really long days and weeks that seemed like they would never end.
A year ago at this time, I was lucky to get in a shower each day. I still distinctly remember the first week my husband went back to work, my parents had left to go back home, and I was alone with a newborn baby in our home.
I wasn’t nervous, thankfully, but I remember one night I just wanted to take a shower. Our little guy would not stop crying and would not go to sleep. I called my husband at work, and he reassured me that leaving my son in his bassinet for five minutes crying wasn’t going to kill him so that I could take a shower.
As any parent knows, when you hear your little person crying and screaming his head off, it’s hard not to sweep him up and try and comfort him.
Thankfully, I did take my husband’s advice. I hung up the phone, put my little guy in his bassinet, and quickly took a shower while he continued to cry. It was in that moment, I realized he was going to be just fine, and taking five minutes for me wasn’t going to hurt anyone.
At the time, it seemed like a never-ending cycle of rocking my little guy to sleep, and waking up four or five times a night to feed him, but those nights quickly faded away.
The way I hold him quickly changed too.
I no longer hold him like he’s a little baby nestled in my arms. He now sits comfortably on my hip, and most of the time he doesn’t even want that because he prefers to be on the move.
One of the sweetest gifts from God is now being able to experience the little hugs my son has learned to give. It’s indescribable how much joy he brings to our lives.
My mom gave me a wonderful poem a year ago right before my son was born. It holds so many truths within it. I will always cherish it, and look over it as a reminder to never hope for the next moment in life, but rather, be thankful for the present and appreciate this moment in time.
The Last Time
From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before,
When you had freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feeding and burping,
Whining and fighting,
Naps, or lack of naps. It might seem like a never-ending cycle.
But don’t forget…
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed your baby
for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.
One day you will carry them on your hip,
then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then they’ll never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake for this.
One afternoon you will sing ‘the wheels on the bus’
and do all the actions,
Then you’ll never sing that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
the next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your
last dirty face.
They will one day run to you with arms raised,
for the very last time.
The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
until there are no more times, and even then,
it will take you a while to realize.
So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them and
when they are gone,
you will yearn for just one more day of them
For one last time.
Gratitude & the Power of a Written Letter
As my husband and I wrapped up my son’s birthday party, we also took the time to write thank you notes to family and friends for celebrating with us and for some wonderful birthday gifts.
I love the art of letter writing and journaling, so it never bothers me to write thank you notes. Some may think that’s odd, like my husband, but I guess it takes some of the load off of him to write thank you notes because he knows I enjoy writing them.
Unashamedly, I do get excited when I walk down an aisle filled with stationary, colorful pens, pretty journals, and lovely cards.
There’s a splendor in hand-written notes and letters that isn’t found in e-mails, status updates, or tweets.
Handwriting is like a thumbprint; it’s unique to each one of us. And there’s a beauty to the individuality within a letter, a journal, or a hand-written note.
One of my sisters has motivated me to continue writing letters, and to stay in touch with her through being pen-pals by using snail-mail.
She’ll occasionally send post cards, and I’ve sent her a coloring page, and we’ve both sent each other unique stationary and cards. My sister has been doing this since I left for college about ten years ago, and I have to say she’s done a wonderful job of staying in touch with me through writing.
Yes, we still do e-mails and phone calls, but there’s something special about receiving a letter in the mail.
I mean, don’t we all get a little excited when we open the mailbox and something is addressed to us that isn’t a bill or advertisement? I can’t say that happens to me all that often anymore.
Thanks to my sister, and to the Hands Free Mama book, I’ve been inspired to write twelve letters of gratitude and love over the next twelve weeks.
I don’t want to place this on my agenda as another thing to do, but rather, I want these letters to flow from my heart and to come at times when God is really calling me to write to someone. So, some weeks I may not feel the need to write any letters, while another week, I may be inspired to write three.
I’m not limiting who I’ll be writing to, so it could be someone I know or maybe someone I don’t know. But, I want these letters to show appreciation for an act, a service, or a person’s friendship.
There’s something powerful about written words that touches hearts, and I believe God has placed this on my heart to share love with others through written words.
At the end of these twelve weeks, I’m hoping to share how my letters went, who I wrote to, and if I received any responses.
I’m excited to see where this writing experience will take me, and how it may change or shape me to share love with others.