Tomorrow, my baby turns one. I cant really wrap my head around that, because, it seems, that he was just born. I know thats something everyone says, but its exceptionally true this time. I feel like Im just coming out from under that new baby fog and now he’s so grown!
I love watching him grow. Every day there is something new that we make him do over and over a hundred times, because we all just think this baby hung the moon. But, with every new milestone met, there is a hint of sadness, knowing that its the last first, for this family.
I have 4 beautiful children. They are my world. Thats the problem. I have no idea how to be without a baby on my hip. For as long as I can remember, there was always a baby. It started when my youngest brother was born. I was 9, almost 10, and he was mine. I know now, how crazy I drove my mother trying to be his mama, because I now have a little mama of my own. As he grew, there were church kids and neighbor kids to fill my arms. And then there was our Eva. If I could go back in time, I would go back to when she was tiny and I would relive every one of those moments and commit them to memory much better than I managed to. I would tell myself to go ahead and feel how good motherhood felt, even though it seemed my world was crashing around me. My parents divorce, trying to figure out married life, trying to get careers started, buying and renovating a house. We had so much on our plates. By the time Levi came, we were established. Motherhood seemed second nature. Transition was easy. But, as we dealt with his health issues, he developed a big resentment towards me. “Mama makes hurts” he would say. Now things with Emma were all around easy. She was a delightful baby. Always happy as long as she could cuddle. Darren and I were both working and working too much. Adjusting to three kids was intense. By the time she was 4 months old, I knew I wanted to be home with her, with all of the kids. I felt like, I got it right with her. Things were so fluid. I nursed her until she was almost 2. We co-slept. So in tune. We were a unit. And then back surgery and POTS threatened to take away my mobility. I spend a good portion of her second year on the couch.
You could say, that there are things I wish I could change about each childs first year. You cant go back in time, you can only move forward.
And then the miscarriages. I knew that if there were another child, I knew, I wanted things to be so different. I wanted life to be slower, more intentional. I wanted to sink into the sweet newborn smell and really take it all in. I wanted to be so present in every moment. Loss has a way of changing you completely so that you understand, so well, the things that actually matter.
When I found out I was pregnant with Lukas, I was so afraid. I was afraid to get attached. Afraid to plan. Afraid to feel really. I was in a sort of denial for most of the pregnancy. I was just not sure my heart could handle losing him. I wanted to embrace the pregnancy. I wanted to experience it all fully, but I just couldnt let myself. I had hoped, through his birth, that I could find healing of sorts. I wanted an all natural, empowering birth. Nothing about it went as I had envisioned it. That first look and first latch, I had dreampt of it for months. I dreamed about how I would hold him and just love him so big because he was here. Instead, I shook, too weak to hold him myself for some time. Then there were after birth complications and pain. And the babymoon I had dreamed of, coming home, well, that never happened either. Instead, we were thrust into life as a family of 6, with a dad that wasnt present because when harvest comes, the farmer must go, ready or not. None of it, none of it went like i had planned.
And through it I learned, that thats life. I learned that being able to roll with the ups and downs of life was crucial to being able to actually enjoy it. I realized that I had a choice to be miserable because nothing was going my way, or to make the best out of what I had. I had a perfect example of how to do that in my Lukas. Ive never seen a baby as relaxed as he was. Content to go here or there any time. Content to be handled by this sibling and lugged around by that one. Content to just be held and be.
He and I, we quickly molded. Our connection is strong. Its so good. He has healed my soul in ways I cant even put into words. He has shown me, that I am enough. Im not a perfect mother, but I am perfect for him. To see those eyes look into mine, and feel his soft hands running up and down my arms while he nurses. Its simply what feels like home. Its not that I love him more than the other kids. Of course I love them all so completely. Its just that, I love him so much deeper than I knew how to love before. Realizing that I couldnt take the gift of a child for granted, realizing that every pregnancy wasnt promised, realizing that my health wasnt guaranteed, all of these things have given me a new appreciation and understanding of just how precious his little life is.
I know, that Lukas will be the last child. Its not what I want. I want to continue living on this baby high. I want to continue to have somewhere and someone else to put my focus on. I want to continue to exist in this identity, the identity of a baby mom. I have no idea how to function without a baby. I want to continue to sit on this baby induced high. I want another chance to perfect this thing called motherhood. The days ahead are uncharted. Its frightening. Frightening, because I have no idea what Im doing. Ive had 4 chances at being a baby mama, and I finally feel like I have it sort of figured out.
What it basically boils down to, is that im feeling like a child being pulled out a a candy store. I know whats here is good. I finally even know what candy I like best, and I dont want to leave! But its time, its time to leave. Change is frightening, because its unknown. Its so easy to remain in your comfort zone, but remaining there, doesnt allow for growth.
So here is to the next stage. The days of nursing and baby wearing and co sleeping and sloppy kisses and kissing boo boo’s, they arent gone, but they are numbered. The days of being needed to tie shoes and button shirts are counted. The last Ulrich is entering toddlerhood. He’s growing up, whether his mama likes it or not. And as he grows, Ill have to grow too and we will discover this new stage together. <3
Happy birthday, Lukas Abram Ulrich. You complete us with your laid back personality and love to cuddle; with your ability to make us all laugh and your ornery attitude. We love you so much!