Quinn's first birthday is just over two weeks away.
It is with only a twinge of guilt that I confess that I've been looking forward to this milestone for the entire past year. It's a strange thing to see all the parents around you lamenting the passing of time and begging for it to slow down, while you yourself are cheering it on and hurrying it along. It's not that I haven't enjoyed this first year with Quinn at all-- I have. There have been many amazing moments with him, and watching he and Donovan learn to be brothers.
But this year has also been probably the hardest of my life. I don't know if it was the shock of caring for two souls instead of just one; me not exactly being a "baby person"; Quinn being a bit of a "high needs" baby; or experiencing what might have been mild depression...or a combination of all these. But this year chewed me up and spit me out. I have never felt worse about myself, as a mother, as a human, than I have in so many moments this past year, often questioning why I even decided to have children to begin with and why in the world did it have to be so damn hard.
As many of you probably remember from all the whining I've done here and on twitter.
I knew it would get better as time went on. As Quinn became more able and independent, as he began to crawl, to walk, to talk, able to entertain himself, etc. And it has. That light at the end of the tunnel has been shining and visible, especially lately, and it's coming closer. Already many things have gotten easier, and I enjoy him and my time with him so much more. I know the years ahead will be filled with other, different challenges, some I can foresee and many I probably can't yet fathom, but in my limited experience so far as a mother I feel that I deal so much better with the challenges of a toddler than those of a baby. At least I think so. I don't know.
I realize I'm not alone here, and that many parents face far greater challenges than I, and with much less support, too. I'm not trying to get pity and I don't mean this as a "woe is me" post. I also don't feel shame in admitting that I am probably a less capable, less resourceful, less patient mother than many others out there. I am trying my best, and for better or worse this is the mother my children have. I'm ok admitting my limitations, maybe because I know (or, at least, hope) that my strengths will be enough to carry me, and them, through.
(As an aside, I am suddenly reminded of all the times I've heard my mother lament how she made this or that mistake with us, how she wished she'd done better. I always thought she was so silly so thinking those things as clearly she was a great mom to us growing up. Like with so many things, now that I have my own kids... I think I get it.)
I am glad to have all the pictures, the letters, my writings from the past year so I can remember and cherish the good parts- the sweetness, the triumphs, the love. And I am more than happy to hold them while closing this chapter and saying "Good riddance!" Here's to what's ahead.