There is something so special about being the first child. I was the fourth child in my family so don’t let this post offend you. I am simply pointing out what makes the first baby special. Look for a blog post soon about the next child in our family. Happy reading!:)
My Darling Aniston,
I feel so strange today. Today, you turn 4 years old. I.can.not.believe.it.
I remember thinking it was pretty weird how people got emotional about time passing by. Everyone tells you the same thing, “Cherish these days because they go by fast!”. I never fully understood how right they were until now. (Let’s be honest – in that blur of early days at home as a new mother, some of the days dragged by.)
Now I know exactly what they meant. They were warning me to cherish these moments because you will be wishing you could relive them later. Just wait until I write a blog post when you start driving, graduate high school, or get married. Let’s not talk about that.
YOU WERE OUR FIRST BABY. There is something so special about being the first. Let me try to put it into words.
I know it doesn’t happen for everyone like this. It probably doesn’t happen for most like this, but I prayed for you to be created. A couple of years after your Dad and I got married, I would lay in the dark and whisper prayers to God that I would become a mother (and if possible, could I ask for a girl?).
When you came along, I just had a feeling that I was pregnant. I felt completely at peace and full of joy. The fact that I could feel you moving inside of me was like a little secret just between the two of us. We waited to find out your gender until you were born, but I had a feeling all along that you were going to be my daughter.
I had a pretty easy pregnancy. I wasn’t sick and because YOU WERE THE FIRST baby, I could go home and put my feet up when needed. I was busy with lots of things but decided to stop with most of my after school activities to spend time thinking and planning for you.
We decorated our gender neutral nursery with all of the beautiful things my mom (Grandma) made just for you because YOU WERE THE FIRST. We talked about you, installed the carseat, packed our hospital bags, and we were ready… or so we thought.
I was in labor for many hours and at some point screamed at your dad that I was NEVER having another baby. (I changed my mind later because God has a way of making you forget about the pain.)
Everyone was crying in the delivery room and your dad yelled, “It’s a boy!”. I couldn’t see anything but just knew he was wrong. I knew I was going to have a little girl. Apparently he was confused by the umbilical cord. 😉
Later that day, your dad said he wouldn’t trade you for a million boys and I knew you had already completely stolen his heart. Those first few days in the hospital were so special to us. I can’t tell you how many times I caught your dad staring at you with the most content smile on his face.
And so my dear, let me begin…
YOU WERE THE FIRST to show us what is is like to have parental instincts. We had a little trouble getting you to breastfeed because you didn’t want to latch at first. Later that night I was completely exhausted and in a pretty deep sleep. The nurses had taken you to the nursery for a few hours so I could get some rest. All of a sudden, I popped up around 1 AM, called the nursery, and told them you were ready to eat. The nurse told me I could go back to sleep and they would bring you to me later. I insisted you be brought down and you immediately started drinking away happily. I tried to rouse Dustin in my excitement that I had my first parental instinct from across the hospital!
Since then there have been other strange ways that parental instincts have kicked in. I remember a friend watching in amazement as you tripped and fell and I was able to throw my arm backwards and catch you without even looking. A few months ago, I walked out of the church service and down to the classrooms when I felt something wasn’t right. Sure enough you were crying because you had fallen down and hurt yourself. Those are just a few examples of how we are forever connected.
YOU WERE THE FIRST to keep me up all night. I stared at you for hours completely sure that something disastrous was about to happen the first week or so we were home from the hospital. I called my sister (a surgeon) to tell her that you had been throwing up only to learn that it was a spit-up. Any time you made the slightest peep, I picked you up trying to soothe you and actually just caused you to really wake up from your sleep. I changed your diaper EVERY time the line turned slightly blue, again causing you to wake up from your much-needed sleep. I refused to let you “cry-it-out” worried you would feel abandoned. (Eventually when you were about 15 months old, I finally let you cry one night and from then on you have slept like a champ.) We are figuring out this mother/ daughter thing together and it is perfectly imperfect.
Every now and then, you walk down to our room in the middle of the night and spend the rest of the evening with your arm around me and my arm around you… just the way you like it. We both don’t sleep too good like that, but it is so worth it to cuddle with you.
YOU WERE THE FIRST to show us what it is like to relive your childhood. All of a sudden the birds are fascinating, running water from the tap is exciting, pots and pans make a fun sound when hit with a wooden spoon, and a car ride can soothe you and wash your worries away. The lights on the Christmas tree are magical, fireworks are much too loud, scooting down stairs on your bottom is the most exciting thing ever, and blocks are made for stacking into tall towers. Every holiday is the best day ever now. All because of you.
YOU WERE THE FIRST to flip our world upside-down. I was pretty independent and had bought my grandparents’ house before your dad and I were married. I was used to taking showers whenever I wanted and planning week-long vacations without a care in the world. Even if I plan a night away now, I spend the majority of my time thinking about you. There are rough days and exhausting days, but the relationship I’m building with you is so worth it!
YOU WERE THE FIRST to remind us that our money, resources, and FOOD are no longer just ours. I remember the day I drove through Chick-fil-a and all of a sudden heard a voice coming from the back say, “Fry-fry peeeeez!” (french fry please!). My mouth dropped open and I turned around with horror. “Did I just hear what I think I heard?” Then again, “Fry-fry peeeez!” There was no mistaking it. My one-year-old who was facing backwards in her car seat watching a video somehow realized I was about to get french fries. My food was never my food again. From then on, the Starbucks baristas never understood why I was trying to whisper my order to them. 🙂
YOU WERE THE FIRST to dance with your daddy. He loves dancing with you…. so much that it has become a nightly ritual to dance to one song every night before bed. Every time he has given you a bath (that would be most of your baths) he cranks up some music on his phone and you 2 (now 3) have the best time.
YOU WERE THE FIRST baby to travel with us. I learned how to switch you to my Solly wrap, fold up the stroller with a quick yank, and pack a carry-on bag with various toys & snacks to keep you busy on 8 hour flights. (I’ll go ahead and publicly apologize to the man you cried “PEE-a-boo!” to for hours upon hours.) We delighted in seeing you in your little tutu bathing suit at the beach. NOBODY ever looked cuter in a pair of gigantic sunglasses than you, my dear.
YOU WERE THE FIRST to show us how valuable our family members and close friends would be in raising you. Help was just a phone call away and I needed it. When I am teaching kindergarten, I rest easy knowing that Aunt Heidi & Grandma are showering you with love and attention. So many people play such a huge role in your life and raising you to be the lovely woman you will become. Our family came together when you started your patching journey and covered you with support. I will be forever grateful for the role they have played in your precious life.
I could go on and on…
YOU WERE THE FIRST to give us a glimpse of God’s miracles. I stand in amazement at His ability to knit you together in my womb. (Psalm 139:13-18)
YOU WERE THE FIRST to show us what it is like for your heart to walk around outside of your body.
YOU WERE THE FIRST to make me giggle when you came out in your own choice of clothes and covered in Mommy’s lipstick.
YOU WERE THE FIRST to make me feel prouder then I have ever felt before. That first dance recital brought me to tears.
YOU WERE THE FIRST to pick strawberries with me, have tea parties with all of your stuffed animals present, snuggle under a teepee, pretend a weeping willow tree was our clubhouse, go on treasure hunts with, read books with, and so many more precious memories.
YOU WERE THE FIRST to welcome your new baby sister… and later UNwelcome your sister wondering aloud if she could go back in my belly or back to the hospital for a while. There has never been anything better than seeing you become her little teacher and her best friend. She adores you and imitates every movement you make. I am soaking all of that up.
YOU WERE THE FIRST to demonstrate that the days are long but the years are oh-so short.
And now when your face crumbles and you say, “I never hold you anymore, Mommy” just remember… YOU WERE THE FIRST and nobody can ever change that.