Since we left the hospital, our first week and a half as parents has been a series of little milestones and victories.
1. The most emotional victory for me was being able to lay down all the way flat. This may seem small, but this milestone in my recovery from surgery meant I was able to leave the chaise lounge in the living room and rejoin my husband in our cozy bed. There was something about sleeping all by myself in the hospital bed and out on the couch that made me feel like a part of me was missing. I cried (a ridiculous amount) tears of joy the night Penny and I joined Dan and the dogs in the master bedroom of our home.
2. In the first few days of her life, Penny lost a normal amount of weight and got down to 4 lbs 15 oz. After that it was time to get serious about putting some fat on her, and time for me to “feed, feed, feed!” (to quote our pediatrician). And feed I did, and eat she did. Another huge victory came at our pediatrician’s office when Penny was 11 days old and she weighed in at a strong 5 lbs 8 oz… just above her birth weight.
3. Dan’s favorite little milestone was Penny Jane’s first ray of morning sunshine which she shared with him on our porch when she was 5 days old.
Honorable mentions in the milestones category: Penny’s umbilical cord fell off, she went on her first stroller ride, had her first (and second) manicure, took her first bath at home, and visited the homes of both sets of Arizona Grandparents.
The Profundity of Having a Child
Having children is something most girls dream about and practice for their whole life. I know I did. Playing “house” as a kid and then M.A.S.H. as a tween. Even when my little sister was born (I was ten) I wanted to help with everything and hold her and play with her as much as possible.
Motherhood has been calling me for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t wait to have kids. I even think one of my college entrance essays was about having children. My hypothetical children had hypothetical names and faces and futures… Not in a creepy way. It was just that the certainty that someday I would be a mom was always present in the back of my mind.
Now I have a child… and it’s nothing that I could have ever prepared for or dreamed up in some hypothetical fantasy.
I suppose the same goes for getting married. When Daniel and I were newlyweds, I remember thinking how profoundly different “getting married” was than I always thought it would be. As girls and young women, I think a lot of us spend an unfortunate amount of time preoccupied with boys / the search for a husband, like we are actually going to “find” him. I know I myself wasted a lot of years fixated on being with “the one” (until I stopped searching, and my husband found me… but that’s another story).
But there’s no way to know what being in a marriage, or being pregnant, or being a mom will feel like until you’re doing it. We romanticize marriage and parenthood throughout our younger ages, without a clue that it’ll be NOTHING like the futuristic highlight reel running through our brain… that it’ll be so much BETTER.
Speaking of Milestones
Maybe all this goes for all the big milestones in life. We romanticize some, we dread others, but they all come. I have been reflecting on this a lot this week as I watch my tiny baby grow and change a little bit every day, while also following Facebook posts of family of friends’ children going to their first days of kindergarten, high school, leaving for college, getting married, having babies...
I cannot quite wrap my arms around the concept that our little monkey will some day do all of these things too. But I can get pretty close, as my family faced another huge milestone this month (other than Penny’s birth!)
|Saying 'Bye For Now' to Aunt Leslie|
My baby sister left for college today.
We said goodbye last night at my folks’ house, which also marked our first dinner outing as a little family-of-five (yep, dogs came too). Then this morning my mom and dad drove her away from their house with a packed Ford Expedition, en route to Tucson.
Even as I type the words… my baby sister left for college today… it still doesn’t feel real. As I said before, I was 10-years-old when Leslie was born. I remember her first day of kindergarten, teaching her how to shave her legs, her maid of honor speech at my wedding, how excited she was when I told her I was pregnant. And so much in between.
I am so incredibly proud of my sister, and I am so excited for my her, but I already miss her terribly and I can’t believe she doesn’t live twenty minutes away from us anymore. It’s been a very emotional day for me. I’ve been trying to keep it together and not steal the moment from my parents who are entitled to shed more tears than me… I will have my day to sob about MY baby going off to college in eighteen years!
And such are the milestones of life.