My baby turns one this week. I'm only just beginning to come out from under the wonderment.
I have a baby, I have to remind myself still, sometimes. I have a baby who is my buddy, who grips me fiercely with one hand while she walks around our house, who leans in and collapses into me when she's sleepy. I have a baby who has two teeth on the bottom and four teeth on the top; who scrunches up her nose when she smiles. I have a baby with eyes that gleam a dark navy, that fill with tears when she accidentally bumps her forehead into my mouth, leaving a tooth-shaped bruise like a third eye.
Because it's important to be honest about parenthood, I confess: In the beginning I thought Please go quickly. Let the days be fast and furious. Let me fast forward to this day, when she is one, when I won't have to wonder what she wants and why she's crying. Let me zip through 365 days. An entire Rent song.
Well. It did. And I am sorry about that. And part of me wishes for one early day to be dropped into now so I can relive it. Because I think I'd do it all differently. I think I'd appreciate it more.
I try not to be secretive about the fact that I think I did those first few months all wrong. That I handled things poorly. But I also try to be gentle with myself, because what is the point of all that regret? I did the best I could, those early days. I'll do better next time.
One year ago today I went into labor, waking up before sunrise, wondering what that sensation was that was causing a low-grade, dull pain to spread across my back. It took me hours to realize this was it, this was labor. It was all happening.
What's funny is, now I know that it's always all happening when you have a little one. Every day, something is happening. A new facial expression, a new sound. A new ability, a new love.