At this time, 8 years ago, I was trying to figure out if it was time to go to the hospital. We eventually decided that it was, and tomorrow morning is the 8 year anniversary of your birth.
Until I became a mother, I never really had given any thought to the fact that it's almost funny that the birthday is all about the child, because the mom is the one who did all the work. Since they obviously won't remember their own birth, the memory of the original birthday is something that only the parents will recall each year. I wonder about my own birth day.
Nothing in life changes you so much as becoming a parent. At least, nothing in my life has. Getting married, while a big change, doesn't demand so much. You are still yourself. Your spouse sees you as an equal, a peer. But to your child, you are, at first, the world. Then as her world grows, you move in to the background. I don't know how much kids "see" their parents. Certainly it varies from family to family, but so much of parenting is what goes on in the background of kids' lives.
I remember feeling so much worry when Noodle was a baby. She had some weeks of colic, and I thought it would last forever. I also thought her never sleeping well would last forever. I chose "This too shall pass," as a mantra of sorts after David reminded me, yet again, that it wouldn't last forever. Nothing does. I'm so grateful that with Noodle we made an effort early on to enjoy the stage she was at, not to wish away her infancy, or babyhood, or toddlerhood, or childhood. The most important baby item we've ever owned are the Maya Wrap baby slings. They are only "holdable" for so long. Even with my big giant boys, I still have been so glad to hold them and carry them as long as possible.
I can't believe it's been eight years. Looking at her first year album (the only one I truly commit to doing), I can remember how I felt being in charge of this little person. Since we were in grad school, we hauled her around with us. Though she was our daughter, we kind of viewed her as the Mascot of Team Gonzo. Not that people haven't and don't regularly do harder things, but we felt like the two of us going to grad school as parents was a grand challenge, an adventure. We were still newlyweds, too, really, having been married not quite 11 months when Noodle arrived.
I love who Noodle has become. Granted, I could do without some of the attitude that seems to be springing up, but I appreciate her kindness and her artistic talent and her willingness to include her younger brother in her fun. She is a hard worker (when she wants to be) and I am grateful to get to spend so much time around her. There is so much I know now that I wish I would've known 8 years ago when I was starting down this parenting road, but I guess that's the flip side of being the first child. You might have some time of undivided parental attention, but you are also the guinea pig.
Ah, Baby Z (as we called you in utero). How I love you.
And here she is at one:
That seems sufficient for now.