Asher is one.
I typed that and just sat here for about three minutes letting it sink in. Even Isaac said, "How can Asher be one already? It seems like he was just born yesterday!" Yep.
I keep waiting to feel okay about him turning one. I keep waiting to remember a defining moment with him that ensures I am doing okay. I keep waiting to feel like I did enough and was present enough for all four kids during this past year. Like I wrote down enough of his stories to remember when I'm old and blue haired. Like I didn't spend so much time trying to get him to sleep that the others felt slighted. Like I didn't spend so much time teaching Isaac, Audrey, and Elliot that Asher felt slighted. Like I took enough pictures. Like if I ruined him by not getting him a babysitter or not having him fall asleep in his own bed.
In my head I know this is ridiculous. Good grief, these kids know they're loved from the tips of their toes to the littlest hair on the tops of their heads. But in my gut I feel like I missed something. Like I am missing something.
And, again, I know this is ridiculous. I'm not writing this so people can tell me what I'm doing right. I'm writing this because maybe you do the same thing. You listen to the little dumb voice that says you're not doing something right. You bypass all the good things you do in a day and focus on what went wrong.
Asher's babyhood is just so different from the other three kiddos. I touched on it in my last blog post. With three kids in four years and our decision for me to stay home with them full-time, we were home and playing and reading a lot. There were daily walks and music class and lots of time to just be. I'm sure I'm romanticizing it as tends to happen. I know I was tired and lots of little people needed lots of attention and help. I remember wondering how my other friends seemed to have it so together. When I asked them they admitted they didn't.
Why do we do that? Think we are never enough. Compare our worst day to someone else's best day. Pick apart the day and hold tight to the very worst. Obsess over a number on a scale or the gray of our roots or the size of our jeans or the wrinkles on our forehead.
Asher is one. He loves forehead kisses. He loves to be held. He loves bathtime. He loves music and dancing. He loves being outside and going for walks and swinging high. He loves food. All of it. He loves to nurse. Again with the food. He pulls up on furniture and cruises along. He laughs at his siblings and accepts their forehead kisses, but doesn't like tight hugs. He says up and mama and dada and hi and all done and ooh ooh aah aahs like a monkey and oof oofs like a puppy. He signs bath and all done and sometimes eat and more. He is a rotten sleeper. He screeches like an injured pterodactyl with hearing loss far too often. He wants me to hold him. Exclusively. He's not a fan of dogs or cats.
He is loved. And he knows it. So do his big brothers and sister.
We aren't perfect. I'm not a perfect mama and they aren't perfect kids, but gosh darnit, together we are pretty great.
And I'm not missing a darn thing. I'm here. With the people I love living a life I (almost always) love. How lucky am I?
Maybe today is your kids' first day back to school or maybe you're getting started with a new fall routine or maybe your baby is growing up too quickly or maybe you're getting used to life with an empty nest or maybe you're saying goodbye to someone you love or maybe you're fighting a terrible illness. I don't know what you're going through today.
Here's what I do know. Most of us are doing our very best. Most of us beat ourselves up way too much, expecting much more of ourselves than we would expect of others. Most of us spend a lot of time asking "what if" questions instead of embracing the life right in front of us. Most of us are pretty great.
So here's my advice to myself and to you, too.
Happy Tuesday! Look at that. It isn't Monday so we're already winning. Go forth, smile big, believe in yourself, and be awesome!