Saturday, August 18, 2012

That's a Year, Folks.

Today we are having a little get-together for Evelyn's first birthday with family and a few close friends.  Calling it a "party" is stretching it, but there will be cupcakes and presents.  Every day people tell me to soak up every moment and not take it for granted, so I am taking a break from packing today to celebrate her first year.  I'll post some photos later of her kitty cupcakes. :) Well, it's still actually a couple days short of Evelyn's first birthday, but I'm afraid the boxes and the moving van will overshadow my opportunity to write a sappy, cliche entry about what my first year as a mother was like.  So I decided to write the entry now, and I decided that this is my blog, so you can put up with my sappy cliches.

Let's start with the obvious.  I can't believe Evelyn has been alive for a whole year.  In so many ways, this year has seemed like eternity for us.  We've moved [almost] twice, I got my Master's degree, I lost my Grampa and my good friend Ryan, and I got called to my first pastorate.  It's not every year that all of that stuff happens.  But when I look at Evelyn, watch her trying to figure out how to walk on her own, and listen to her laugh and see her personality develop and grow, I feel like it's impossible that in 366 days (it was a leap year!) she went from the little baby that came out of my body to the practically-toddler she is today.

I was born to take care of people, and therefore fell into the role of mother pretty easily.  It feels as natural to me as breathing.  There are moments when I feel like my only option is to love her so deeply and so purely that she's the only thing in the whole world that ever mattered, and there are moments when I need to get away from her; when she annoys the pants off of me.  But the magical feeling of being someone's mother far outweighs any bad moment.

There is an empowerment that comes with being a mother.  For me, a lot of it is about this realization that she was created inside of me, I grew so that I could carry her in there, I gave birth to her, and I nourished her through breastfeeding.  That is all so important to me, but when it comes down to it, none of that makes a mother (which is exactly why you are no less a mother when you adopt or have medical problems in birth or can't/don't breastfeed).  What makes a mother is this superpower that comes when you have a child-- this love that defies all rationality, that makes you do crazy stuff, that makes you constantly reevaluate your life.  Keeping another human being alive through nurture is perhaps the most empowering task we are entrusted with.

I'm not a morning person, and I hate waking up early with an intense passion, but every single morning when I see her little face at 7:30 a.m. I can feel myself glowing with excitement that I get to be her mom for another day (then I pull the laptop out from under the bed and pull up Sesame Street on Netflix and pretend to watch it with her in bed, but really I always fall back to sleep).  I'm also not someone who is generally content with the way I look, and I am always able to find flaws in myself.  But being a mother (especially to a girl) is helping me to realize how important it is to love myself.  I don't want her to be down on herself, so I need to have the confidence that I want her to have.

I now understand why every parent thinks their child is the best one (I fear I'm going to be that PTA mom).  So, because Evelyn is the best, I also want to use this entry share with you some of my favorite things about her.  She has an artistic soul.  She will stare at a piece of art for as long as her attention span lasts.  She has done that since was was opening her eyes.  She's also a caring soul.  She knows when we are upset and she tries to sooth us with kisses, and often will even offer her pacifier if we are sad or sleepy.  She likes to take care of our dog Nos by petting him and giving him her food.  One of her favorite things to do is watch Nos eat.  She loves cats like every little girl should.  She will be laying under the kitchen table pretending she's a cat like her mommy used to do in no-time.  She is full of expressions, so you always know what's going on in her mind.  She doesn't hide anything.  She lets herself be vulnerable so you'll hold her and pay attention to her and she lets you know when she'd rather just play by herself.  Maybe every baby does, but I think it's a baby virtue.  She loves books.   She knows how to turn the pages by herself.  She likes everything her daddy likes.  They share favorite foods-- blueberries, watermelon, tofu, milk, and they both love Mommy. They also have the same face.

Overall, this has been an immensely successful and amazing year.  Every day I am more crazy-in-love with my husband, I am more certain about my call to ministry, and I am more excited about our life together as a family.  Taking the day off to celebrate this year is exactly what we should be doing.  Then Maic and I are off to Ripon with the moving van while Evelyn stays back with the G-parents from Tuesday to Friday.  Looking forward to a couple of full nights' sleep, but knowing full well (another thing I learned this year) that I'll probably be up all night worrying about her.


  1. This blog is simply breathtaking, Joanna. I love the photos. I so wish there had been something like this for me when I was a young mom. I wouldn't have needed the pastor part since I was a teacher then. But, for a working mom, the observations about the milestones, dealing with routine baby stuff and other people's expectations would have been so helpful. To be a young mom, and a new pastor and a wife and to have access to this blog is such a gift for those in the same place! God bless you and your family!

    1. Thank you Alana! You made my day! I'm so glad you find it meaningful.


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