Monday, April 1, 2013

approaching one

One day old
Emerson is on a fast train rapidly approaching the one-year mark. And I have two things to say. Number one: why? I mean...WHY?! Can she please just be a bitty baby for a little longer? Can I go back to this time last year?! Seriously, can we not do this? Thanks. Number two: I hate you Pinterest (but also, am completely bat shit obsessed with you….thank you for existing…p.s. follow me y'all). You, all mighty P, have significantly compounded the stress/pressure some mamas feel (hand raised right here) to throw a party for their one-year-old. The same one-year-old who will never remember her first birthday. I've been casually collecting ideas here and there for this event, but yesterday typed "first birthday" into the search bar on both Pinterest and Etsy…and nearly collapsed in an anxiety attack. Too. many. ideas. Too. many. COMPLICATED/TIME-INTENSIVE. ideas.

This time last year: 36-weeks
Aww, the belly. I so miss the belly!
So, number one. Yes, I often always write about the conflicting emotions that are part and parcel with motherhood—that unrestrained joy/overwhelming mournfulness combo that plagues most mamas. The simultaneous cheek massage (on account of all the smiling) and tissue box conundrum, as it were. It's in the air most days, but there are obviously times when it's especially potent. Major milestones, for sure. But, the day that your child is no longer measured by days, weeks, or months…..I can't even. I've still got about six weeks left with a 0-year-old and I'm already getting dramatic (hence the recent dive back into my photo archives from the first week of Emerson's life that is totally monopolizing this post). 

I mean really….
I'm just waiting for the day that Emerson grows a full head of hair, talks to me in real words, then gets up and runs across the room. It feels like that will all happen in an instant, and then she'll be gone. I can't help but already dread the day she moves out of our house….and I don't want to share her with the world, damn it! I mean, I'm not supposed to say that. And I don't really mean it. But, sometimes I do. Sometimes, I can't help but feel selfish and impractical and overprotective. Because, that's my baby, world! I grew her, and held her in my belly for nine months. I felt connected to her—body, mind, and soul. I birthed her. My muscles, my strength, my love, pushed her out into the open. I was the beginning of her life. And she has not strayed from my body for more than an hour or two since then. So, how can I imagine a day when our lives are running parallel instead of completely intertwined? Right now, it's simply impossible and anxiety-provoking to consider.

But, I will share her with the world. Of course. In fact, it's already one of my biggest joys. I feel so fulfilled and ecstatic when I watch her interact with family, friends, and other mamas and babies at our groups and classes. And to see how she is received by them….just amazing. It's so comforting to watch a support system/community/safety net grow around her…to watch people fall in love with her. So, I'm glad the world is there to receive her, but I will forever hold tightly (in spirit) that 8-pound newborn with her enormous cheeks, curious eyes and heart-melting coos. How can I ever let her go?

And then there's number two. Is it just me, or do all moms feel this pressure to throw well-styled, extravagant (as far as effort and detail…or money) parties? I am not a party thrower. Other than the occasional small dinner party, it's not really in my constitution. But, more importantly, it's not something I have the time/energy/desire to take on these days given I am the primary care provider for my child. We don't have family nearby, we don't have a babysitter, or a nanny, or daycare. And my husband is out of the house most hours that Emerson is awake. So, it's me. All me. When do I have time to sit and craft/cook/shop/decorate the day away in preparation for a Pinterst-y party? Pretty much never, folks.

Yet I am bombarded with pictures in my FB newsfeeds of elaborate children's parties my "friends" have thrown, and an insane amount of info out there on the inter-webs when searching for just a few, simple ideas. Pinterest, for instance, can really make a person feel like they are totally failing at life. Like it should be no problem to make a fantastic spread of food and desserts from scratch, sew party clothes for the entire family, make all the decorations and invitations and favors by hand, and have a pristine house on party day thanks to the slew of 30-point "how to perfectly clean your entire house" lists you have pinned. And, of course, make all of the above really cute and creative and just pure genius. Maybe I had the time for that when I was childless, and maybe I will again in the future, but as the mother of an almost-one-year old without any help, I say, "back off, internet."

For some reason, though, just knowing all these Pinterest-y ideas exist makes it impossible for me to ignore them. I so want to ignore them, I so want to keep it simple. But, I'm drawn to create and as obnoxious as I find all the party planning boards out there, I am also inspired by them. Because, those cakes and handmade decorations are beautiful. But, I hate them. But, they exist. And they are beautiful. Sigh.

So, I am throwing a party for Emerson. And, I will somehow, someway, probably put way more effort into it than need be. Because, I can't deny that it feels like a MAJOR milestone for me. For us, as a family. And as crazy as throwing a party is going to make me, I count myself blessed for having extended family that wouldn't dream of missing Emerson's first birthday.

Can you just stay right there forever, sweet Emmie?
Here's hoping I make it through the next six weeks without an anxiety attack! What will send me over the edge first: my baby turning one, or throwing a party for our entire family?

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