Monday, July 6, 2009

On the eve of my baby's first birthday . . .

. . . I'm sitting here crying. I don't know if I can even put it into words, what I'm feeling.

I've known, of course, that his birthday was approaching. But tonight as I sat with him in the dim light of his bedroom, nursing him to sleep, it hit me that the next time I see him (okay, let's be honest: he'll have me up 2 or 3 times tonight, so what I really mean is, when I see him in the morning) he will be one year old. At 1:29 a.m. tonight, it will be exactly a year since he came into our family . . . and I just suddenly feel overwhelmed.

What a year it's been. I still remember my labor with him, and giving birth, like it was yesterday. How it felt like the pain of pushing him out had the power to kill me . . . and then seeing what a surprisingly tiny baby he was, and I was filled with wonder, and exhaustion. And I had no clue - no clue - at that time . . . and not for hours and hours afterwards . . . that he was different in any way from any of my other babies.

Over the last year those seeds of love that were implanted in my heart when he took root in my womb have grown into a massive forest. I have experienced grief, and fear, and acceptance, and love, so much love. But I find myself feeling scared about this next year suddenly. I've known on some level that his first year would be easy in some respects. He's been a baby, and not a lot has been expected of him as a baby. This next year, he is expected to become a toddler. Will he walk? Will he talk? Whatever delays he might have just might become more apparent over the next year, and as much as I want to be able to say that I have found 100% acceptance, the truth is, maybe I haven't. If I had, I wouldn't be scared, right?

There is a part of me that wishes I could keep him a little baby forever. That I could shelter him and protect him from the world. I rocked him and rocked him tonight, thinking that if I just kept rocking him, somehow tomorrow wouldn't come and he wouldn't turn one and he would still be my little baby. Silly, I know. And I also know that in truth, when he wakes up in the morning, he'll be the exact same baby that I put to bed tonight.

Ahhh, these emotions.



14 comments:

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

I know Lisa. I so wish we could keep them little forever. Protected in our arms always. I know your fear, I share it.

Following Him said...

Finn is a wonderful addition to your family. Sure he struggles, but you all open his struggles with OPEN ARMS! He is a miracle baby and will always have the love of his family!
~Elyse

heather said...

The first birthday is HUGE! I can't put into words the way I felt on Morgan's 1st birthday. It was an incredible milestone for me. So much had changed in my life. It was a year of learning, change, growth, acceptance. I think the biggest thing for me was the difference I felt in regards to Morgan on her first birthday compared to the emotions and pains felt on her actual birth day. I have a little something I wanted to send to Finn for his bday so please email me your address. I'll be celebrating in SLC for you and your family! Happy 1st Birthday Finn!

Monica Crumley said...

A big happy 1st birthday to your little guy. I know what you're feeling. You wonder how life will be for him this next year, but remember that life really does go only one day at a time and not to think too far beyond the present. Enjoy Finn every step of the way. He's going to surprise you in great ways this year with all his new milestones. The walking thing -- I thought it would bother me. JM is 19 mos and cruising -- getting stronger but still not standing independently. It might be September, it might be November or beyond. No use to get too worked up about it since I can't force him to do what he's not ready to do. Finn will show you the way. :-)

Jeanette said...

I am creeping up on Sydney's 2nd birthday and have some of those same emotions. I remember this time last year and feeling so much of what your described. I echo Monica's words on taking it one day at a time. Happy Birthday Finn... and happy milestone for you Lisa! You made it through the first year and have come out of it so strong.

Karly said...

Happy birthday to sweet, Finn. You are doing wonderfully, Lisa. And don't worry, the second year is not harder or easier...just different (at least to me).

datri said...

Birthdays are still really hard on some level for me. So many emotions.

The Marquez Family said...

Yet again your words just move me to tears. You have captured what I think all mothers feel as they look at their babies on that night before the first birthday. While the wonders and concerns vary so much with each baby, the overwhelming love, the memories, the hopes and the fears are all there. Finn continues to touch so many lives.

Brandie said...

Goldie's birthday is much harder for me than my other children's. All the emotions come back. On her first birthday I also had a sort of triumphant feeling. Like "we made it!" So, congratulations! You did it! You survived the first year! :) It just keeps getting better.

Kim said...

I didn't think I would act any different when Mattie's first birthday rolled around, but I was filled with so much emotion. Happy Birthday to that sweet Finnian!

Tricia said...

Happy Birthday to one of the most beautiful little boys I know! (And happy birthday to one incredible Mama as well!)

Jen said...

None of what you're feeling is silly. I think we all feel that, about all of our children. It just has this extra weight to it when the child in question has Down syndrome. So much more meaning.

I hope Finn has a wonderful birthday.

Critty Critty Bang Bang said...

So, I'm a new reader and I have to say that I'm very much drawn by the heartfelt way that you immortalize your thoughts via blog.
I work with the special needs adult population as a residential care provider in a group home with individuals with various degree's of mental retardation, downs, and a plethora of other diagnoses, so I know how trying (and heart warming) the day to day can be.
I'm sure your darling baby boy will grow into a warm, nurtured adult who will touch the lives of many, much like my clients.
*=-)

Lisa said...

Your post made me misty-eyed tonight. Sheridan turns 1 in August and I'm feeling some of the same things. Finn will always love his mama and will always be your baby. You will protect him, but he will also do amazing things as he gains more independence. Happy First Birthday, Finnian!