One year old shots, courtesy of Auntie Jen Photography.
If I had a very typical pregnancy and healthy labor and birth, then I feel this first year has been nothing short of extraordinary. Though I read articles about first time moms being overwhelmed, lacking sleep and a chance to shower, suffering from disconnection from friends and family, maybe even struggling to bond with their babies, I have dealt with none of these ill-effects. We traveled with her, nearly effortlessly, to Italy. She is tolerant of large crowds and days of just the three of us, she is loving and playful and energetic. She doesn't sleep for long, unless I lay with her - so we nap together, or I get a lot of reading done, or I do activities in 10-30 minute bursts (which is shortening my attention span).
Tonight she crawled into Jen's lap and dragged a book with her. Her auntie was only too happy to comply.
She walked across the living room Friday night, astounding us all! The entire house, moments earlier buzzing with activity, hushed to watch this feat of brilliance. Then when she noticed us staring, she promptly sat down - and we all cheered.
Susannah is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined a baby could be. She charms everyone with her personality and beauty, but she is not all sweetness - mostly she is sassy. As she grows, she is becoming more like her mama (a bit of a bossypants). When you take toys away, she stares at you and then yells in your face "AAAAH." Then she ignores you for several minutes, to make a point.
The day is over and my heart is bursting. Yet, at the end of the average day, I still feel (at the least) treasured by my husband and lucky to be a mother to my sweet girl. Sometimes I wonder, is this kind of happiness...normal? Aren't I supposed to be waiting for the other shoe to drop? How long can one person be so incredibly happy?
My life is so ordinary: I am an overeducated stay-at-home mom. My husband provides for me and our baby girl.
But it doesn't feel that way at all - I feel the weight of what I am doing. I know that I am changing the world because: only people change the world, and children are only very little people, and I am in charge of forming a child. I feel I am doing more to affect the world here in my home than I ever could on the outside. That deep, heart-level satisfaction is what makes me so deliriously happy - not every day or every moment, but overall, in the aggregate.
Over the past year, that's what I've tried to express to people when they query me about why I'm not working, why I have decided not to work, and why I went to law school at all. It is a very right thing to do good work when it is in front of you, and to do it well, to the best of your ability. But when better work comes along, work for which you are more suited and naturally enjoy more, you abandon your previous good work for the better work - even if that means the time you spent training for the good work is counted as 'lost' by some.
Happily inspecting blocks gifted to her by Tia Jennine
I have found my better work - my best. I am able to do it and this is the season of life for it. I can count none of my time as lost, since I did what I was called to do in each moment and to the best of my ability. But what I would count as loss would be missing out on Susannah's babyhood, to pay a debt I do not owe - to other people's expectations, to time I already dolled out, to a diploma I rightly earned with no strings attached.
After a whole year of motherhood, I am as happy as when I first saw two pink lines on that fateful stick. I am proud to mother my child and proud of who she is becoming. I am profoundly grateful to have, at last, found my life's calling - and to have found the one whom my heart loves, Mr. Oram, to share in this great work. It is grace, only grace, that has given me such blessings. I only hope to be a blessing to others in return, to return to love what love has made.
One whole year of incredible blessings - not a moment wasted.