I'm shaking my head and asking the question all the mothers before me have asked on the eve of the baby's first birthday. How in the sam hill did we get here? I was pregnant. I remember that. The baby was born. I remember that, too. Then things get fuzzy and begin traveling at warp speed. But here we are. One year later. Sigh. Why does it always have to go so quickly?
I've been a mama for 10 1/2 years now. That, too, is impossible. I remember being one baby's mama. Isaac luxuriated in the bath while Jim and I watched his every beautiful move. He had set naptimes and a bedtime. We read an endless amount of books before bed. We snuggled on the couch for hours.
I see other families with one baby and I remember that time with him.
Asher's life is different. He often bathes with siblings and there's not much luxuriating and never both parents present. He catches sleep when he is good and ready to, which is not nearly often enough. We read a few books before bed. There are no hours spent on the couch, but he gets lots of snuggles from being carried to and fro throughout the day.
I also have enough experience in the mama department to know that this is the easy part. Yes, his sleep could improve. (FYI: I am employing the use of an understatement in my writing there.) Yes, everything takes longer with a baby in the house. Yes, I was this close to all kids getting their winter woolens on without help and sitting down for a few minutes at the beach while they swam.
But when Asher trips while speed crawling, he looks to me with only trust in his eyes, knowing I will help him and make him feel better because I've been able to in every situation of his little, big life. He's never cried because a friend hurt his feelings. He's never been so hurt that I couldn't swoop him up and hold him tight and make it all better. He's never missed out on something really important to him. He's never made a really horrible choice.
He's smiles so big his cheeks swallow his eyes and grunts, baby signs and cries, love in a pint sized, ample thighed, 8 toothered baby boy.
We didn't expect a cuatro baby, but he has added so much to my life and our family.
It is chaos. It is love.
It is harder than I expected. It is better than I expected.
Here's what I said to God tonight as I nursed Asher to sleep, his fingers in my nostrils.
"Thank you for this gift."
This fingers in my nostril, never get any dang sleep, ooh ooh ah ahing like a monkey, silly smile, bath splashing, Goodnight Moon loving, has his siblings wrapped around his little finger, chubby Chooch, baby cuatro, Asher boy, gift.
I don't know why I get to be mama to these four kids who teach me and make me laugh and drive me bonkers and love me every single day. I don't know why we got the happy surprise of Asher Michael.
But thank you. Thank you, God, for this gift. We are so fortunate, happy, blessed. Which is pretty perfect since Asher means fortunate, happy, and blessed.
So, in 29 minutes he's one. He'll wake me up plenty of times throughout the night for us to celebrate. I'll rock him and nurse him and wish he slept better and cherish the way his chubby, dimpled fingers grasp my index finger and his eyes that are brown or green or hazel or we don't know yet sparkle as the swift passage of time threatens to steal this baby away from me and plop a toddler in my lap. But, one or four or ten or 14 or 38 or 99, he'll be my baby and I'll love him.
Happy birthday, Asher boy. Mama loves you.