Reflections on 1 year...

  • It's been an amazing first year as a mama.  It has also been the most imperfect, messiest year of my life.  Poop smears?  Check.  Bug carcass found in drooly baby mouth?  Check.  Bathroom floor trashed with shredded toilet paper and the contents of an entire bag of cotton balls?  Check.  Add a year's worth of interrupted sleep, and my perfectionist, neat-freak nature has been pushed to its ultimate limit.  Ah, one of motherhood's greatest lessons - embrace the mess.  Life isn't perfect.  And I'm finding it's a lot more fun that way.
  • When people say, "it takes a village to raise a child," they are right.  What would we do without our small village (well, more like a few huts) of dear friends and family?  Like I said before, they kept us standing in the newborn months.  And all along the way, they've shared in difficult and joyful moments in our lives as new parents.
  • These books have been invaluable to me: The Attachment Parenting Book by William & Martha Sears, The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley, and Real Food For Mother and Baby by Nina Planck. 
  • Next, I can't wait to read Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk.
  • I love the hundreds of details that make my daughter her: the fuzzy spot on her hairline above her forehead.  How she fits perfectly in the crook of my arm when she goes to sleep, or the way she stands on her tippy toes to try to reach the most insignificant scrap of paper on the edge of a table.  And her contagious giggle when I lean over and tickle her face with my ponytail.  Oh, and her soft, puffy little feet.
  • One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, said, "Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you're conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader. He or she will recognize his or her life and truth in what you say, in the pictures you have painted, and this decreases the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of."  Over the last year, it has been absolutely essential to keep my creative sanity by continuing my art.  Some days I feel it spilling out of me, and it's as important to express myself by writing or taking photos as it is to eat or drink.  Hopefully I've helped a few people feel less isolated, as others have helped me.
  • I find myself getting emotional about breastfeeding.  We are still going strong, and I hope to nurse her in some form or fashion for another year.  Without question, it's one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done in my life.
  • The best parenting advice I ever received is, "Trust your instincts."  
  • And during the times when we've had no living clue what to do next, we realize that's part of it too.  A few times during a 2am screaming fest, Steven and I just sat on the bed and held her and cried.
  • Thankfully, His mercies are new every morning.
  • Finally, a reminder from an old post: "When my child won't go to sleep, may I be thankful that I have a child that can be active.  When I have no time to myself for days on end, may I be thankful that I have people who need me and that I have gifts to give.  When I forget why I am a mother, let me look at this sweet face and be thankful.  She makes it worth it. A million times over."

 Happy one year, Luci Isabelle!