Friday, January 23, 2015


A crazy thing happened on Wednesday, January 21: Sullivan turned one.

This is not a crazy thing to anyone other than me, I think. If I were to take a poll of the lunch crowd on Scarth Street, I would probably find that 100% of people know that after a child has been out of the womb for 365 days, they technically "turn one". It's not crazy.

But it's crazy.

The night before his birthday, I did a little DIY 'spa night'. "Because," I reasoned, "one year ago, I was doing exactly the opposite of relaxing and pampering myself. I was in labour. So now: facials."

I gave myself two facials right in a row. I don't think you're supposed to do that, but my skin was so happy about it. It was much nicer than labour.

I was going to lay on the couch with my second face mask on and eat stuff and watch Jimmy Fallon clips on YouTube, but when I opened my computer I couldn't help but click on my January 2014 folder first. I spent the rest of the night flipping through pictures and seriously choking up. Where did that year and that tiny little wrinkly baby go? How did he grow up so fast? What if the rest of his life goes this fast? And did I soak this year up enough? Did I take anything for granted?

I watched a whole year go by. I even looked back at the awkward belly selfies that never found their way to any kind of social media (in retrospect, my maternity style could maybe be described as 'too cheap to buy real maternity clothes, thank goodness for rubber bands and thrift store t-shirts'):

Then I came to the crazy-eyed "this baby is coming tonight!" hospital shot, followed by tearful us-meeting-him pictures. I flipped back and forth between these pictures again and again, glad to have such a perfect physical representation of how terrified but excited we were before he came, and how at peace and in love we were after.

It brought back all the fears and feelings and weird, Twilight-Zone fog that hung over that first week of his little life. The thankfulness that flooded my whole entire self when they put him on my chest and I saw that he was fine and that he was real and that he was perfect and that he was mine. The realization that this moment had finally come, and that it was nothing at all like I'd imagined it because I had no real point of reference here other than what I'd seen in sitcoms and what I'd heard from other moms - neither of which could actually even come close to preparing me for this kind of love or this kind of pain or this kind of responsibility.

And now it's a year later. It still feels very new, but also like he's always been here. He knows me now, can run across the room and give me a hug when I call him. He likes blueberries and mixing bowls and watching cars out the window and going for walks and bath time. Every evening he excitedly greets Barclay at the door as he gets home from work, which is something that I'd always pictured when I thought of having kids. He has two front teeth with an adorable gap and huge brown eyes. He still hates sleep, but he's getting better at it. And I'm not ready for him to get even one day older.

In honor of his birthday, we fed him his first cupcake (+blueberries) and then went and got take-out noodle boxes and ate them in the car by the lake while he slept in the back seat. We talked about that day, and this year, and the ones coming up. It felt like the right way to celebrate, even if the birthday boy was, you know, unconscious.

Because it wasn't just a birthday party, at least not the kind I've ever experienced. It was also the first anniversary of the day Barclay and I became parents. It was a celebration of survival, kind of. And it was a kick-off to another year. Another year full of change and goodness and hard things and sweet moments and learning and growing and figuring this kid out.

PS: Hey, Sullivan. In case future you reads this someday: You don't even know how much I love you. It's crazy.