When I look back on this past year, and think back to when 2008 began, it is slightly mindboggling to think of how much everything has changed. We were living entirely different lives, and in many ways I feel like a completely different person than who I was 12 months ago. We have since moved across an ocean, but even more life-altering, was Donovan's birth. Motherhood has consumed me in a way I could never have dreamed, has changed every aspect of my life and so much of who I am. I can't think of another life event that would have such a huge impact as becoming a parent has had.
I still have fleeting moments where I feel overwhelmed by the weight of responsibility that comes with caring for a child, knowing that this is a lifelong commitment that is impossible to break, even more binding than marriage. Moments of "Oh, God, am I really up for this?" But much more often these days I look to him and melt. We're staying at my mom's house this week, and D is sleeping in a crib in the same room as us. I'll listen to him breathing as he sleeps and feel the urge to sweep him up and just hold him. He might frustrate me like no one else at times, but he also brings me more joy, and on a more regular basis, than anyone else. I realize that means putting him above Zach, which seems strange. I guess I now understand what they mean when mothers say they love their husbands completely, but even that love can't quite compare to what they feel for their children. Zach is my rock, my companion, my support, my partner in crime, and I cannot imagine my life without him. Donovan makes me laugh every day, makes my heart leap with joy when he accomplishes or discovers something new, or just when he looks at me and smiles. I have never before felt that catch in my throat like I do when I'm flying with Donovan, or crossing a bridge, or anything else that could be remotely dangerous that I just never even thought about before. There are times when I'll walk into a room after he's been playing with others, and he'll see me and smile and start pumping his arms and legs from being so excited and happy to see me, and I don't think I could ever describe in words how incredible that feels.
I remember in the first few months when I'd feel so down from being stressed out about Donovan, or feeling shackled to a baby that had to nurse constantly, feeling like I'd never have a life of my own again. Cognitively I knew it was just a matter of time, but I stil felt like things would stay that way forever. It's just so hard to get out of that state of mind and look into the future. It's funny how I already feel those melancholy memories slipping. It feels so good for everything to feel so different now. It also feels good to feel like we're at the end of the tunnel, coming out and entering a new phase of parenthood, one where D won't be quite so dependent on me. Over the past 11 months, wherever Donovan went I automatically had to follow. I'm just starting to wrap my head around the idea of that not always having to be the case, and soon enough I'll be able to be away for hours or even a day or overnight. That is utterly amazing to me. And I wonder how different it really will be, day to day, if it's naive of me to think that once he's no longer needing to breastfeed every 2-3 hours things will feel so different, but I think having that possibility, and being able to split that responsibility more on weekends and other time off, will make a difference. It's funny how Zach has a much easier time letting others take over with D when we're with family than I do, and part of that comes from the fact that there's certain things that only I, Mother, can do for him while the things that Zach does can also be done by others. It's a dynamic that's been set by this first year of parenthood, and it shall be interesting to see how that changes as this year comes to a close. Last night Zach and I went to Waterloo Records to spend a gift card, and we both kinda wandered around the store feeling lost for a while as we had no idea where to start looking for new music. It seemed like a perfect example of how in many ways parenthood has consumed us so entirely, that it's like we've buried our heads in the sand as far as anything outside our family unit goes, and we can end up feeling so out of touch. I think this is even more true for me than for Zach. My life revolves so entirely around being a mother, and there's the hope (again, perhaps naive) that after this first, super-intense year, I'll be able to expand out and come back into my own a bit, feeling less consumed by motherhood and more free to explore other interests.
As the title implies, this post is pretty random and fairly stream-of-consciousness (even more so than my usual ones). I fear that some of what I've written might come off as negative, though I don't mean it to-- I'm just reminiscing about this whole experience of the past year looking back, with a warm feeling. There's a reason I chose the name I did for this blog, almost 5 years ago when I started it. I wanted it to serve as a reminder, and an expression of gratitude, at the same time. As I look back on the past year this comes to mind once again. Life is good. I am blessed.