Monday, May 23, 2011

first birthday

It smelled like summer that day, like sweat and sunshine. It had been hot that week, but May 23, 2010 was scorching. It was a wet heat that soaked through the skin.

For a woman in labor, it was hell on earth.

Labor pain gives places new meaning. The bathroom at Andy's cousin Adam's house, where I sat on the edge of the cold bathtub while panting, completely bewildered by what was happening... the couch where I sat with Andy and his cousin Alison while I explained away my red, pained face as an effect of the heat... that exact place on my bedroom floor where I, in shocking pain on my hands and knees, wondered at the contrast of the cat's serene face...

These places were incidental before. Deep pain leaves deep memories and creates the greatest kind of significance. Pilgrim Road, a little road I take all the time, will always be the longest road I was ever on. The hospital room, as antiseptic as any, will always be my favorite room in this entire world.

Five hours of pain. Then one hour of horror.

And then magic.

It may be the trauma, or the newness of the experience, or the knowledge that your life is changing, or the body chemicals that create this significance that eclipses all other life experiences. I believe it to be magic. And I believe this love defines me.

Dear Fletcher,

Many years from now, you'll be a grown man with his own ideas who rolls his eyes at the way his mother gets emotional every time she gets the chance to hug you and tell you how you mean the world to her.

You were amazing the day you were born. You are amazing today. You're going to be an amazing man.

I wanted a baby for a long time before you finally arrived, and even I was blown away by the miracle you are.

I understood beauty the first time I saw you.

That first night of your life, you got to stretch your muscles for the first time, hold your head up, open your eyes and see what you could of this new world. In one year, you learned to crawl and walk and eat and play and deliver those coveted hugs and kisses. You learned what you want, and what you don't want. At your first birthday party, you sat on the grass in the sunshine and studied the world with your curious eyes.

There's a lot of world out there. You make it beautiful.

Many changes are ahead, and you'll continue to grow and learn. I'm going to make mistakes. Maybe you won't grow up eating all the healthiest foods and doing long division in preschool, but no one will be loved more.

You'll be a man someday. But you're my little boy today. And you'll have your mother's heart forever.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

one year ago

Exactly one year ago, I was a different person. I was hugely pregnant, uncomfortable, and impatient. I didn't know that the greatest day of my life was only two days away. In fact, I expected I'd be pregnant for the rest of my life another couple of weeks.

I remember the suspense, both the fear of and eagerness for the unknown. When I wrote my last post before meeting my son, I had only two days to go before experiencing the fast, furious, screaming, blinding, shot-out-of-a-cannon, horrible, delirious, absolutely awing handful of hours it would take to be introduced to him.

I couldn't know what was coming. It isn't something that anyone could explain.

I struggle to remember life before. Though I wouldn't have described it this way, I remember the cats being placeholders in a void I wasn't completely aware I had. (Now, the cats are more like toys that happen to think and move for themselves.)

Like trying to remember a dream, I have a sense of the unending stretches of time over which I was sole dictator. I remember snippets of the sensation of pregnancy.

I dreaded having to wait for Fletcher, before I even knew how amazing he would be. What would he look like? How would his voice sound? Would he be healthy? Would I know what to do?

One year ago today, I didn't know my son. I didn't know how to be a mother. I didn't know what my life was about to become.


Thursday, May 19, 2011


I haven't posted in a while. It's mostly because I'm busy and sick. It certainly is NOT because the baby hasn't changed.

Excuse me, toddler.

He's gone with lightning speed from first steps to walking. Sometimes, crawling is faster, but you can see on his face that he loves walking and he knows what he's doing. I think his record now is something like 45 consecutive steps. His confidence is awe-inspiring.

He remains uninterested in sippy cups, but he's willing to drink water and juice now.

He's more vocal. I'm still not 100% convinced that he associates "mama" with me and "dada" with his father, but he says them plenty, as well as baba, nana, and various other growls, whines, and babbles. Blowing raspberries is still a favorite.

Yogurt had been the only item on his will-not-eat list, until the recent mess he made with his toddler dinner of chicken, noodles, and peas. None of it would stay in his mouth. Nor would he pull the food out and put it on the tray. No, he let it all fall out of his mouth into his lap and onto the floor.

He plays differently with toys. All those little buttons and pulls and levers that meant nothing to him before are becoming interesting as he discovers cause and effect.

His laughter cures all.

As with all things related to him, it's bittersweet watching his rapid progress into toddler-hood. You'll have to forgive me for still calling him my baby for the next, oh, fifty years.