Sunday, February 28, 2010

The End of the Beginning

I have been thinking for days about this post. And what I would think when I approached this time... But I can't continue to put off the inevitable. It's still happening, whether I like it or not, or if I am ready for it or not. But it is coming. The end of the beginning.

I return to work tomorrow. E begins full time daycare. I am sure it will all be fine. But I am somehow so sad. I knew it was coming, I felt fully prepared for it. And now that it is here, I am sick I feel so sad about it. So in honor of the first 4 months of E's life, and my first 4 months of motherhood, I dedicate this to her.

I remember the day that she was born, it will forever be ingrained in my memory. It was the most challenging and painful thing I have ever endured. Yet when she came into the world, she immediately made all the pain recede and all that remained was undying love. Love so immense that I could never do it justice in words.

I remember her arrival bringing tears to Daddy's eyes. A man who does not get choked up easily (I mean ever).

I remember the high of her birth that brought both Daddy and I through a 48 hour period sleepless, and yet with so much energy it was exhilarating.

I remember bringing her home from the hospital. Nothing felt as strange as walking out of the hospital with another human being. This little person was ours. And yet it just felt strange. Who were we to take her home? Who were we to assign a name to another human being? And yet when we got home, the piece and quiet of just the three of us was comforting. It was right. It had been 10 months of preparation, and finally everything just felt right in the world.

I remember the first night she was home from the hospital. I couldn't figure out how to juggle a not sleeping newborn with a sleeping Daddy. We couldn't figure out how to get her asleep, keep her asleep, get sleep ourselves. We were scared we wouldn't meet all of her needs. Fast enough or at all. It was an immense responsibility. And it was something we did not dare get wrong.

I remember a long conversation about the wipes being VERY wet because her pajamas got wet every time we changed her. Don't tell E but it took us weeks to realize she was peeing while we were changing the diaper and it wasn't the wipes... *sigh*

I remember Daddy going outside to rake the entire .5 acre of leaves with a 5 day old newborn. And thinking he was nuts. But he did it. And somehow, all felt right in the world. We were a family, and this was how it would be. Daddy taking care of things outside, and Mommy taking care of things inside.

I remember the first day Daddy went back to work.

I remember Grandma coming to visit. I was scared of the first day alone with E. How could I possibly endure all of the exhaustion and be alone with her all day, and up with her all night. But I did it.

I remember spending endless hours sitting in bed or on the couch, just holding E. Her sleeping in my arms. Crying to my mother that I couldn't figure out how to get her to sleep while being put down. I long for those days now. I wish she would just snuggle into my arms for hours and hours and just want to sleep against me and not do anything else in the world. Those days are gone for good.

I remember realizing that we had finally established nursing. And how proud I was of myself, and her. For hanging in there and not giving up, and for finally hitting our stride so that we could do it with ease. It was right about this time that I realized it was WAY easier to nurse her in the middle of the night. Prior to that I had been giving her bottles.

I remember crying to Grandma that I didn't know how to both nurse her all day and night and still get pumping sessions in so that I could go out and establish a stash for when I returned to work.

I remember going for her 2 month checkup, and her getting her first round of shots. It was heartbreaking, but she was a trooper.

I remember packing up the newborn clothes and switching them out for 3 month clothes.

I remember her first starting to smile. She did it best for Daddy. We'd be sitting in bed in the morning while Daddy got ready for work, and he'd talk to her and give her a big smile, and she'd laugh and give him a big smile back. She still smiles best for Daddy. She's Daddy's little girl.

I remember the first time she rolled over from her tummy to her back.

I remember the first time she picked up an object.

I remember the week she spent fascinated with her hands. But it wasn't nearly as rewarding as the week she realized there were little tiny wiggly things on her hands (fingers) and proceeded to spend every waking second sucking on them.

I remember the first time she realized she could not only pick up an object but she could put it in her mouth.

I remember the first time she rolled over from her back to her tummy, right in front of Daddy and I on a Saturday afternoon.

I remember the first time I gave her Rice Cereal. And she promptly spit it all out. But opened her mouth for more!

I remember going for her 4 month shots. Daddy was with us this time. I'm not sure who hurt more, E, Mommy, or Daddy. The love of a father for his daughter could be summed up entirely in his face in that moment when she started crying. The pain in his eyes, was heartbreaking.

I was someone who thought I knew what love was, and then I had a child. It has filled me with such love, total dedication, admiration, and unbelievable appreciation that I can't even begin to express it. But today is the end of those days. It is the beginning of the next stage of our lives. Someday E will be able to read these pages, and when she gets to this stage... I just want to say...

It's time for your life to branch out and truly begin. So welcome to the world my Baby Girl.

Mommies, Daddies, Babies... stay strong, live independent... and as always, can anyone tell me Who Dropped the Pacifier?

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