When she was first born I was thrilled to meet her, relieved that everything went well, and simultaneously excited and horrified at the reality that this little human's life was in my hands. The first few months were a getting-to-know-you period where I met this person who had been living inside my body for the past nine months. My new roommate was demanding, and I had to learn to love her amidst all the chaos, but I fell in love with her all over again pretty quickly. When I think about the rest of that first year, I mostly think of us face-to-face, with goofy grins.
The second year, which most dub the terrible twos, now seems a breeze - at least toddler behavior-wise. Milestones were met, walking and talking began in earnest. A real little person was in my life. Probably the greatest challenge for me was having to watch her get sick, or fall down and get hurt, and deal with all the worry, while trying to care for her and let her know that everything would be O.K. The rest of the year blurs with the third year and was a real struggle for me, as chilhood illness really took over, and it seemed that the two of us were sick all the time. I also started to lose who I was, my identity, and I think started to resent the whole motherhood gig. With added pressure from work from folks who aren't parents and just didn't get what it's like to be torn in two, to be wholly responsible for another's existence - well, it didn't help and tended to make a person cranky...
But we both started to get healthier, thanks to some lifestyle changes, staying out if range of some things and simply growing up and out of other things, so during the fourth year I started to find my own voice again. She became a bit more independent, and I could take some time to express myself, through my blog, or just be able to have a conversation with another adult and have her not be the only focus in the room, as four-year-olds are not as endlessly fascinating to folks as babies are.
This year we are circling back to where we were in year one. She's old enough to get her own breakfast on the weekends, so I can sleep in and get some me time. She is so smart and funny that we can get giddy and laugh or share a family joke. Or I can just sit and watch her in amazement as she tells a story or in delight as she dances, It's not quite the same stare at each other with goofy grins as before, but our worlds have changed, we are both older. But as I've observed before, life is not so much a circle, but a spiral, and we are in similar positions to the ones we were in five years ago, but now we are on a loop farther out on the spiral. And it's a good place to be.