Thursday, April 19, 2012

reflections on the first year

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken." C. S. Lewis

I've been undone with love, four times over. One thing that I think is universal is that when you have a child, it has your heart. It is both the most wonderful and terrifying experience. A year ago Harper left the safety of his watery womb abode and entered this wide crazy world. I am so very thankful for every day I have with him.

I just put my baby to bed. The same little routine as most nights, he nurses until his eyelids are heavy, we sing Jesus loves me. I turn on his watery noises and give him a kiss. Sometimes he starts to whimper but mostly he drifts off fast. Tomorrow he will be one, a whole year already past, seems strangely fast. When I reflect on this first year with Harper, my heart is so full. I'm smitten, that is all there is to it. The progression of the first year is astounding really. From this tiny, fragile creature pulsing inside my belly to this playful little person taking his first steps toward me like a proud, drunken little robot.

So many thoughts have been written about motherhood, some that resonate with me deeply and others not at all. All I know is my own experience, my story of our first year. I'm not sure if it's because he's number four or because he may possibly be our last (although I pray and hope that adoption is somewhere in our future). This first year with Harper has been an incredible source of joy. He is easy to love. He has creamy skin and big, dark, beautiful eyes the color of coffee and earth. His soft little body wraps around mine like a monkey. He waves with his hand facing himself, claps, says "Ma ma ma," and adores his brother and sisters. I'm astounded at the wordless bond and love conversations we have with our eyes and expressions. All of my other kids slept through the night pretty early on, except for Harper. He still won't take a bottle or cup and is very attached to mama-milk, which is fine with me. I love nursing. It creates reason for me to actually sit in a day and stare at him. We hum and he plays with my fingers and he pauses to look up and smile, such a beautiful way to bond and nourish him. He also has this habit when he's sad of the lower lip tremble. It ruins me. I know he should be asleep or otherwise content but I can not resist the lip tremble, so pitiful:) Until very recently Harper did not sleep through the night. For a long time he had a knack for waking up to nurse as soon as I fell into a deep sleep. It's definitely been an exhausting year, with sleepless nights and school schedules. Napping has proven extremely elusive for me ever since child number two. Yes, child number four put me into a category of tiredness I had not known before. It has not always been easy but Harper's presence has just multiplied the love and joy in our family. I feel that way about all my children, like If I loved them anymore I would burst.
I don't really know how to be a mother. I am always learning, having my firsts right along with them. It is incredibly humbling seeing the selfish parts and weak parts rear their heads in the face of so many little needy people. I know with certainty though that it's an incredible part of the journey and better than any dream and aspiration I could have ever thought up. I have the good Shepherd who gently leads those that are with young and He pours love through me into them. That is all I need.

This" day seems like yesterday.Here's to 365 days of loving you sweet baby. Happy ONE Harper Pax!