My baby turns 1 today.

But, to be honest, this isn’t really going to be about my baby.

I’m not going to tell you how amazed I am that a year has gone by already.

I am. 

I’m not going to tell you how incredible it is to watch her learn new things all the time.

It is. 

Truthfully though, I’m going to be a bit selfish right now.

I knew I wanted to write something about Steele’s first birthday, but when I sat down to try to write about it nothing much came up for me.

Except a couple of things. But, it’s not really about her.

The things that keep coming up for me…are about me. Eeee!

I know that probably sounds strange. I mean, our tiny 6 pound 15oz baby from one year ago is now walking, climbing, and generally being a rascal (in a good way) all day long.

Steele and mama rocking chair 3 days old

It’s unbelievable and has been a joy to have the gift of this experience.

But, real talk, I just can’t believe how proud I am. Of myself.

1). I’ve showed up, as best I could, every day. 

You don’t get an option of whether or not you feel like parenting today. You just show up.

Steele never took a bottle. So, every meal for the first 6 months of her life was from my body. We’re still nursing and so I’m there when she wakes up, after naps, and before bed time. Every day.

Wouldn’t change it for the world. Just a hearty pat on the back because, real talk, that shit was hard in the first 6 months.

I also think back to being hooked up to IV for 3 1/2 days straight at 2 weeks postpartum when my C-section incision got infected. There was no choice to take a break or wait it out until I felt better.

IV hook up postpartum

Nursing and caring for an infant with this on was grrrrrrreat. 

No option to jump out of my life for a quick sec, when I wanted to.

Again, so many reminders of how mentally tough you can be when you need to show up. (And, so many reminders of how much easier things are now. OMG.)

2). I have learned how to do so many new things this year. 

This time last year I had no idea how to dress a baby, how to feed a baby, how to use the carseat, how to fold a stroller, how to comfort a baby…the list could be 1000s of items long.

A few days before Steele was born I asked Randy, “Do you know how to swaddle a baby?”

He didn’t. Neither did I.

We survived it.

I CAN DO SO MANY NEW THINGS NOW! How cool is that?

3). I sometimes can’t believe the life that Randy and I have created for ourselves. 

You might not know that my husband (Randy) and I have been together since high school. I was 15 (…or was it 16? I can’t remember because #mombrain) when we started dating.

We’ve since lived in 5 different cities together. We’ve lived apart. We’ve worked our asses off for a life we love. And, now we have a 1-year old.

Family photo fire station 1 year

I’m proud of us for making it through it one piece, for fighting for our future, for staying in it.

4). I’m proud of myself for not taking it all too seriously.

I take great responsibility in this role as ‘mama’, but I haven’t judged myself too seriously.

I don’t beat myself over missteps. I don’t worry that I’m making the wrong decisions.

I don’t feel guilty if I check Instagram while we’re going for a walk. I didn’t stress about drinking a glass of wine while nursing on Day 5 postpartum 😉

The one thing that I take seriously is creating a relationship with Steele in which she feels safe with me. Everything else? We try our best, but don’t sweat the small stuff.

Year 1 down and I couldn’t be prouder. Of myself.

(And, Steele and Randy, too!)

Jess

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