Two years and a couple of days ago, I had no children. I was very, VERY pregnant with our first daughter… but I had not yet experienced life with a child. Fast forward two years, and here I am with a two-year-old and an almost 3 month old.
I knew that life would be completely different with a baby. But honestly, I had no idea what that meant.
I didn’t know that my heart would swell so big, from so much love, that I was in a constant state of “almost crying” for MONTHS. Just from being so happy.
I didn’t know that the physical pain and exhaustion of my first daughter’s 43 hour labor would be NOTHING compared to the pain I feel when she gets hurt, or sad, or sick, or starts learning those hard “life is NOT fair” lessons. (Though I try to be as fair as humanly possible at home.)
I didn’t know that spit up, poop, boogers, diapers, and urine…. AREN’T that big of a deal. They were before.
I didn’t know I could be a “Mama-Bear”. And not the cuddly kind in the storybooks. But the rip-your-face-off-if-you-even-look-at-my-child-wrong, kind of Mama Bear. And I’m sure my husband will tell you, I’m kinda scary-awesome at it. (Not that I’ve had to rip anyone’s face off.)
I didn’t know how long germs would be a BIG deal. And unlike other mothers, who grow out of their “germophobia” as the number of their children increases…. Mine has gotten WORSE. I didn’t know that it was possible to battle illness. And friends, I go to WAR for my family’s health. I make no apologies.
I didn’t know how it could be possible to love the first kid SOOOO much and then be able to love the second kid SOOOO much too!
I didn’t know how much change a child goes through those first two years, until I lived them. So much growth. So much change. So much sadness over time passing, while enthusiastically celebrating milestones of growth and development. At the same time.
I didn’t understand that this constant looking toward the future, appreciating the present, and longing for the past would be so emotional. And now I “get” why my mom started crying about my graduating from college… when I was in 7th or 8th grade. I miss my firstborn as a baby, but am so proud of the little lady she is becoming… these days are so precious. ( I knew they would be.)
But most of all, I didn’t know how suddenly sadness could overcome me while cleaning up after two-year-old’s Hello Kitty party! (I mean, seems kinda ridiculous to be sad after something so fun!) That as I would be cleaning up plates and forks, and ribbon, and wrinkled wrapping paper, and remembering her expressions of delight eating cake and ice cream…. that it would suddenly dawn on me that, God-willing, I only have 16 birthdays left. 16 birthdays while she is my dependent child, living in my house, while we live in the same house, town, state… same country…. While she doesn’t have the responsibilities of her own house and family and babies….
So, here’s to all the things I didn’t know, all the things I’m still learning, and celebrations that become just a little bit sweeter when you put them into perspective.
Happy 2nd Birthday my sweet, sweet girl! You are so loved!