Today, my baby turns 1.
This. Is. Tough. Sloppy Joan is our third baby, and we’ve always planned on having three babies. This time, we’re not putting bottles and bouncies and Boppies away, we’re giving them away. It’s surreal.
When you’re 17, and you sit around with your girlfriends and talk about “10 years from now,” it’s kind of like you’re speaking your dreams out into the universe with the hope that God is listening, will take note and, as time passes and He sees fit, they will be distributed down to you one by one until you have everything you’ve ever wished for. So now, as I watch my baby girl smash bright pink frosting into her perfect little face, I’m realizing that my heart is full of all the wishes I had for my “10 years from now.” And that’s kind of … I don’t know … scary … overwhelming … beautiful.
I know eventually it will feel liberating – the thought that one chapter of my life is closing. They’re all here. I will [more than likely] never be pregnant again. It’s not that I have nothing to do now. We are in the throws of the next chapter, which is raising humble, strong, capable young ladies; a task booby trapped with a frightening level of estrogen. It’s just that I put so much energy into planning and anticipating and carrying these little lives, and now I have all of those emotions, without the control. My friend Kelly says that having children is like having a piece of your heart living outside your body. Sometimes I can physically feel that sentiment. Like, you know In Madagascar when Alex looks at Marty and he’s a talking steak? That’s the level I’m talking. I picture these little pieces of my emoji-looking, bright red heart, walking and crawling and dancing away from me. Torture.
Sloppy Joan had a rough first year, much of which was spent in the clutches of various ailments, the worst of which being the longest case of the flu ever and RSV. I rode, sitting on a stretcher, in the back of an ambulance at 2 o’clock in the morning holding my naked little angel, both of our hearts racing – mine from a fear like I’ve never known and hers from the virus – and I prayed in the most direct conversation I’ve ever had. I pleaded for this birthday to come. I begged for her beautiful, long life. So, I suppose I shouldn’t spend too much time analyzing the wrapping paper on my most amazing gift, now should I?
This little girl is the brightest ray of sunshine and the happiest of all creatures. She loves buttered noodles, waving and dancing. She’s finding her voice and rocks one prominent tooth on the bottom. Her butt crack is, I promise you, one inch longer than any other butt crack you’ve ever seen on a baby, and her daddy loves to hold her up before bath and say, “It’s been a long-ass day.”
If the sentence that is our growing family ends here, she is the perfect punctuation mark. Happy birthday, my sweet Sloppy Joan.