As we spent this New Years Eve afternoon with my parents in downtown Winter Garden, and I stumbled upon this sign in that spoke to me. Through the ups of downs of infertility for 5 years, I often wondered when we would be parents, but I knew somehow, someway that we would. This year I am happy to be ringing in the new year at home with family and our baby boy. Happy New Year everyone, and may 2017 be a good year for you all. 🌿
Currently sitting in my driveway in our parked SUV with Max taking in the last few minutes of his afternoon nap in his car seat, this mommy is using this time as a breather for a few moments, and turning her attention to her much neglected blog.
The end of the year is hectic for a lot of reasons, for most people decorating for the Christmas, prepping for visitors and shopping for the holidays takes up a ton of time. For me, this year was exponentially harder because of my job, and trying to balance time with my boy and end of year at work.
I am a real estate and corporate acquisitions attorney, and I had hoped that moving to inhouse counsel at a large corporation would help create a better work life balance, but the expectations as an attorney remain challenging. As the end of the year draws near, banks and companies want to wrap up any pending deals, and despite best preparations and planning ahead, things always seem to be a bit of a cluster. This year was no exception, and I spent the first two days of my Christmas break closing a transaction with conference calls every 15 minutes at some points.
And unfortunately my husband has the same gig, but at a law firm. As we were waiting in the Orlando airport to board our flight to my husbands hometown just outside Milwaukee, I was frantically checking emails and messages and taking conference calls while my husband was tying to do the same. Add a 14 month old who craves climbing over the seats and wandering around the terminal like a pinball machine, things get even crazier. Somehow I managed to close my deal, and hopefully my husband is wrapping his up soon so we can both enjoy a few days of “real” vacation with our son, absent emails and turning marked up drafts of purchase and sale agreements back and forth with the other side.
Max is still sleeping… Good, he needs the rest.
On top of the crazy work stuff, our poor boy had a nasty cold earlier this month and is currently cutting his one year old molars. He is usually an first class snoozerton, usually going to bed between 8-8:30 and sleeping for about 10-11 hours straight.
However, the molars have him waking for 2-3 hours a night and the only way to calm him is to hold him. While I love knowing that just holding him in our arms is enough to hold the pain at bay (along with some Advil of course), but after nearly two weeks of this I am hoping this is almost done. Even after he is sleeping, if you put him down he wakes and stands up immediately calling out “momma, momma, momma, maaaaamaaaaaa…”, and knowing he’s in pain now and not just being a restless sleeper, I just can’t let him cry it out. I gladly welcome all the chaos though for this sweet boy, but I just wanted to explain how I managed to get a little off track keeping up with my blog this month. (And yes, he’s still sleeping and I quite possibly look like I am binge shopping on my phone in my car to all my neighbors as a feverishly type away…)
Through it all, we finally made it to my husbands home in Wisconsin where we visited with his family, and my sister drove a few hours north from her new home in Valparaiso, Indiana so that we could see them for the holiday. While this isn’t Max’s first Christmas, it was the first he was aware of what was going on around him. He enjoyed opening packages on Christmas morning and playing in the snow for the first time.
His first time touching the snow was a bit shocking- I put him down to touch it after he was reaching for it and I’m not quite sure it is what he expected. After properly bundled, we found that he loves the snow, and actually prefers eating the snow and giving the snowman fancy kisses.
When we got home from Wisconsin, discovered Santa had visited us and Max was ecstatic to find a vacuum cleaner under the tree for him as he’s recently become obsessed with my swiffer, so much so that he now has his own baby one, as well as broom, mop. (Yesterday at the mall I had to stop him from trying to grab the cleaning person’s mop when I let him out of the stroller to run around for a bit.) Don’t worry kids, he also got a basketball hoop, soccer net, and some books about poop among a few other gifts.
My parents just arrived from Pennsylvania for a long weekend, and we spent the day at Disney Springs shopping and eating lunch while daddy finished up his last deal of the year at work.
But I have to say among all the traveling, decorations and gifts, my favorite moment so far this holiday season was so simple and removed from all the hustle and bustle…
Two nights ago as I just finished cleaning up from Max’s dinner, I had not eaten yet so I grabbed a beautiful red apple out of the fridge. I was hoping for a few moments to unwind as I turned the TV on to the Disney Channel as a sat down to eat it. After he heard me take my first bite he turned around and opened his mouth showing me he wanted a bite. As he walked over a leaned down to offer him the apple, and as he took it from me he took a bite and still chewing it, he crawled right up into my lap and sweetly offered me the next bite, holding the apple for his momma. Then he shifted off my lap sitting next to me like a big boy, and we sat there quietly watching PJ Masks as he continued to eat the apple and offer another bite to his momma after each of his own. (I also love that his tiny nibbles make it look like a tiny rabbit has been eating away at the apple.). While it may seem so small, to me it was amazingly touching to watch him eat his big old apple in such a grown up way but all the time taking care of his mommy and sharing it with her selflessly as a tiny 14 month old. I am so blessed to call that boy my son, and with each month so excited to see who is growing up to become, next year and beyond.
With the end of the new year rapidly approaching, I sitting by the fire with a glass of wine on my back porch and reflecting on how much I learned this first year as a new mom.
My best friends are mommies that are at home with their babies and kiddos during the day, as well as the mommies that are in the boardrooms, working 9-9 in the office and then some. As different as our day to day lives may be in a few ways, we all face the same types of challenges. How to accomplish an impossible list of tasks in a given day, a given week, while showing our babies all the love we want them to feel, having relationships, not letting down our friends and family with the time we never seem to have enough of anymore, and trying to find a few moments to collect ourselves at the end of a week, take a deep breath, and remember what all this craziness is really for.
I want to tell you: You, my little man, are amazing. The reason things in this life matter.
Love, life and the blessing of having your family, whatever that family may end up looking like, is all that matters in the end. Mommies, daddies, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandmas, grandpas, great grandmas, friends, brothers and sisters.
Family, my little man, your family is amazing. Each and every moment we have with it, and each and every person that is a part of it.
This time last year I was still on maternity leave, with little expectations of me other than doting on this new little man… Granted at the time, I was still freaked out about the prospect of keeping this tiny human that depended solely on us alive on a day to day basis, but those worries soon subsided. Looking back a year later, I feel a new confidence that I could certainly handle those challenges again. I did it once, right? That’s what challenges teach us my little man. We can handle one obstacle, and then the next. That is life. That’s how we learn.
Throughout this first year in daycare and with daddy and me at work, we faced the dreaded hand foot mouth (or just “mouth” as it was in our case, and rest assured, mommies can get it too), rotavirus (mommies can get it too), bronchiolitis, half a dozen ear infections, teething and countless other stumbles along the way. I learned that babies can get constipated for 5 days and then seemingly explode. I learned that babies can’t go to daycare with poopy butt or a fever over 100 degrees (challenging when both parents are working and no family lives in town).
When working from home with a sick baby, I have been on important business calls while changing diapers in my pajamas, my hair in a messy bun and no shower in the last 24 hours and brushing my teeth, well forget it….
I happen to have a job that can have an unforgiving schedule at times, and gets super busy toward the end of the year. This does not correlate well with my holiday schedule… I want to show my little dude the joy Christmas, and all these neat new things he has never seen before. (Experience moments like listening to him trying to sing Christmas carols and clap his hands in joy at the tree lighting.) There are seemly impossible mountains I have to climb in the next couple of weeks before the official holiday and it can all seem impossible and overwhelming. It happens to all of us from time to time.
When things seem overwhelming, I take a step back and remember the five years it took to build our little family of three, the struggles of infertility. I think of how long I have waited to be in this exact place, and I think of the people nearing the end of their lives who would love nothing more than to have these type of challenges in front of them.
At the end of the day, all the challenges, frustration, fear and chaos is just life. They build our confidence, build up better people, and make us stronger in the end. And the reason I tackle these challenges with so much passion is you my little man. Because we want the best for you. Because we want to show you how to be a hard worker. Because we want you to succeed in life and feel enveloped by love and amazing experiences.
When I feel things stirring in my brain, I take a step back and count my blessings that I have you and our beautiful family, and realize at the end of the day a job is just a job, a list is just a list, but you and our beautiful family are the reason for everything. I take take a deep breath and savor the sweet smell of your freshly shampooed little head while I rock you to sleep, and my mind is instantly at ease. Soon enough you will be older, I will be wiser, and realize that you will not need me in the same way you do now. I know I will long for each of these little moments back again. As long as we have you, all is right in the world my little man, and I can handle the rest with ease.