In two weeks I’m throwing a birthday party for a one year old. Her name is Ruby, and she’s my daughter. Maybe it’s because she’s my first child, but I don’t know how a Mom is supposed to navigate a child’s first birthday. I’m an emotional mess. Tonight as I was rocking her to sleep, I realized that she would be ONE in 17 days. And then that subconscious countdown clock was permanently embedded in the back of my mind. It’s there, and it’ll reach 00:00:00 soon. I just looked at her beautiful sleeping face and started to tear up, because this sadness wasn’t what I expected at all. I expected joy that she is a healthy, smart, beautiful, growing little girl. I anticipated a smidge of pride that we made it as parents for a whole year. But surely not sadness, I mean…what could I be sad about?
When Ruby was 1 month old, I couldn’t believe how fast the month went. Of course, I commemorated the day with a fun photo. And, barring Mom brain, that fun photo was taken each month. And then… we reached 6 months. I played it down, but month 6 kind of rattled me. She was half way to a year. And at a year she’s no longer an infant. When I search Google for some bazaar medical question it won’t include the word “infant.” Instead it will be, “horrific TODDLER diaper rash.” I don’t even want to talk about that word…the T word. It’s forbidden.
I’m very very good at avoiding. I can avoid better than almost anything else. So I fill my time with work, home, party planning, pinterest. But at night, when it’s dark and all I hear are the sounds of a white noise machine and the creaks of the glider it hits me that my baby won’t be a baby forever. And like it or not, that scenario happens every day.
As a Mom, I’m overjoyed when she says my name or crawls at lightening speed toward me. But each milestone means that another one will come soon. And one day, Lord allowing, those milestones will include worlds like graduation, degree, and wedding. And then I become a puddle of mush because I can’t imagine not being able to hold her forever.
However, beyond the tears and fear of change lies the truth. She isn’t mine. Ruby June is the Lord’s child. She was somehow, miraculously, given to me to lead, love, nurture, teach, and shelter. My purpose is to teach her how to navigate this world…on her own. But right now, the best part is that grown-up Ruby is still a while off. And in two short weeks, we will have the space and time to celebrate her first year of life.
Real Life Question: Moms, how did you handle your child turning one? Any coping mechanisms are appreciated.