My sweet baby boy is now one; from breathing his first breaths, saying his first words, taking his first steps, throwing his first tantrums - it has been quite a year.
For this occasion, I wrote the Roranicus Rex, Destroyer of Worlds, a letter. But that is private. So instead, I will share with you what I would write to myself, one year ago...
Rory with his first Gelato Cone.
Darling and Blessed Woman,
This is it. You have been patient, at least, you were patient sometimes. You have have endured. You have been tried and tested; physically, emotionally, psychologically - some tests were easier than others. But this is it. That moment you have waited for. You, beautiful woman, are a Mama.
The little one you carry in your arms is your beloved child and you are his Mama. I know it doesn't feel real and you cannot believe that he is actually yours, but believe me? He is. Write down these moments, photograph them, but mostly just live in them. For as cliche as it is, your child will grow faster than you can grasp and you will never again have this second, this millisecond, with him.
Mama, you will get advice - so much advice. Some of it will be good, but most of it will be nonsense. You are the mama now, you make the decisions you feel are right. Trust your instincts. People will tell you that they "love this stage" and you will stare, open mouthed and covered in exhaustion from the night before. But be gracious, someday you too will be coveting the days before. Say "thank you" and move along. Time is the rosiest pair of glasses. Dear one, sometimes it will not be advice, but criticism. Know whose words to take to heart, and whose to let pass over you. There may be friends lost over such words, but there may be friendships strengthened through them as well. Keep heart.
Speaking of advice... Drink water. Carry that water bottle with you wherever you go, along with a string cheese. You won't realize you're hungry or thirsty until it is too late. And then you will be tired, grumpy, and still needing to feed your tiny one regardless.
Trust me when I say, it is okay to be frustrated. Sometimes you will not want to wake up at 3am. Sometimes it will be all you can do to not just put your fingers in your ears and bury your head in the covers. Sometimes, you will do those things. Say a quick prayer for patience, for calm, for love. Because it will not always be easy to just pour out love on a screaming little one, especially as he gets older. Practice doing it now. It is normal to get upset, it is normal to be frustrated, even angry! Don't blame yourself. If you need to take a moment away? Take one. That's what husbands are for, after all.
You will be overwhelmed, Mama, by the love you feel for this small inscrutable human. Tell him. Tell him everyday. Show him. Especially on the days you don't feel like it, especially on the days he yells at you, especially when he bites you, especially when he throws his head into his hand and screams because he cannot communicate.
Put down your phone, get off the internet, turn off the television. Spend time doing whatever it is he wants to do. Whether that is to tear all the books off the book shelf and hand them to you one by one so he can climb onto it, or run around outside eating the lettuce out of your garden. Encourage him to play by himself, but always be there to engage when he wants to play with you. Because there will be a day when he is no longer interested in asking you to join his fun. Show him how to help you do the things your doing, because he loves to do laundry with you and drawing is fun!
You were made for this, you were made to do this. It doesn't mean it will all come naturally, it doesn't mean it won't be so difficult it brings you to tears - it simply means that it can be done and you can do it. And yes, someone else might seem to be better at it, but they aren't you. They were not made perfectly for this child in this moment, you were. He will look like his daddy, but have your eyes. He will be strong willed and full to the brim of emotion! Just like his mama.
There is so much I could tell you, sweet new Mama, but I think I'll let you find the rest out for yourself. Pay attention, there will be so much!
With infinite love,