One year ago today, Finn slowly crashed his way into our world. It's a good thing I didn't have a birth plan, because he wasn't going to follow it anyway.
For all the control freaks out there, you know what I mean when I say there is no controlling a newborn. The uncertainty of every single moment is enough to make your head swim. It doesn't matter how many ways you played the scenario out in your head, a newborn will find the one scenario you didn't prepare for (I never would have imagined needing 6 outfits in a diaper bag!). In those moments, the only thing I could do was pray that the motherly instincts everyone told me about would kick in. And they do, it just takes time, and prayer, and more time.
This isn't a popular thing to say about your child, but Finn broke me. Both physically and emotionally, he brought me to my knees. I pictured an easy transition and instant love for the role of motherhood. I believe in being authentic, so there were many people who asked, "Don't you love being a mom?" and were dumbfounded when my response was, "not yet." Motherhood is a daily surrendering of myself. For the first time in my life, I can't just power through this, I NEED God. There was a very real period of transition between desperately wanting my old self back and yet wholeheartedly wanting to love being a mom. Finn forces me to surrender and I can tell you now that through it I have found such freedom, but it was a process.
The emotional intensity of being a mom has changed me. I can't walk through Target and hear a baby cry without tearing up and simultaneously feeling like I need to pump (even though we've been done with that for months). It doesn't matter if a thousand people offer to watch him so I can catch up on work, take a break, run errands... the reality is that as much as you think you want to do those things, you love the chaos of being a mom more. The moments you do sneak away are blissful, but you secretly can't stop thinking about them. You feel like you forgot something the entire time you're away and you walk like you are carrying something on your hip even though you're not. In the beginning those feelings were uncomfortable, it takes time to settle in.
So to my sweet baby on your first birthday... thank you for showing me how to love without reserve, give up my own plans for far better ones, teaching me that living selflessly is so much better than living selfishly, forcing me to slow down and be present because every moment for you is a first, and loving me unconditionally even when I bring all of your earthly belongings with us to the grocery store. You are a perfect reflection of the the one who made you and you are helping me become who I was meant to be.
To my fellow moms, the work we do might feel mundane, but it is ever so important. So many times over the past year I've thought, "I've arrived," only to find that we are onto the next phase (growing, teething, transitioning). Rather than feeling defeated, I am learning to enjoy those ever so brief moments and hold tight to the new phases as they come because the days may feel slow, but the weeks go by so very fast.
To the dads who think their wives might be losing it when they get a text in the middle of the day that says, "When you get home I AM OUT OF HERE" but when you try to push them out the door that evening they just won't go… sometimes she just needs to finish what she started. And a hug, lots of hugs.
To everyone… to the daycare providers who love on our kids while we're pursuing something God has called us into even though our heart breaks a little bit every time we walk out the door. To the babysitters who let us have date nights and don't complain about the 101 text messages asking if everything is ok. To the people who give us looks of compassion rather than frustration when we are trying to get groceries after work with an overtired baby... THANK YOU.
Thank you for giving us grace as we navigate this ever changing, eternally important, confusing and chaotic phase of being a new parent...even if it means we shed a few tears, don't stay out as late as we said we would (or sometimes later than we said we would), or bump into your cart because we're distracted, exhausted, and trying to keep it together.
I may not have had the easiest transition into motherhood, but all the bumps and bruises along the way have strengthened my faith, marriage and resolve in a way that nothing besides having a baby ever could have. To Zac, we made it through our first year as parents. To Finn, happy birthday to the sweetest boy we could ask for. By His grace, it gets better and better everyday.
"Give all your worries to Him because He cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7