February 25, 2015

Todd at 6 months old – February 25, 2015

My baby Todd will be 7 months old tomorrow, and I still can’t get over how much he’s added to my life and my marriage.  I know it sounds cliché, but my heart really does overflow with love a thousand times a day.  Every morning is Christmas morning!  My heart melts every time I open Todd’s bedroom door, peer in, and I see him grin back at me so big.  He starts each day excited!

It still feels surreal that Eric and I actually created a little person!  We both trip out frequently because there really is a baby in our house.  Our house?  We have our own little family now.  It’s still weird!

I ask Todd all the time, “Where did you come from?” but I know that he was a gift– from God, the higher power, the great source, whatever you want to call it.  I’m not religious, but I do believe in “something” even if I can’t put a label on it.  I know for sure that we have Todd because we were meant to experience this kind of love and happiness.  Todd was meant to be born!

Yes, I was honestly a very happy childless woman.  We’ve had a very happily childless marriage.  It was a choice that we made over a decade ago and it was not a decision that I ever second guessed.  I felt very secure in it, and I loved our active child-free lifestyle.

All of this means that I can’t get over how quickly I could switch to the “other side.”  How did I become that woman who now loves being a mom?

I’m going to be really honest here.  Before I had my own, the thought of having kids (or even just one kid) used to sound just too mundane to me.  It lacked excitement.  It lacked fun.  Most of all, it sounded like way too much work!  You know that saying about how being a mother is the hardest and most rewarding work there is?

Yeah– well, all I heard was the “hardest” part.  And sure, maybe some people might find that sort of thing rewarding, but I wanted something different for my life!  It wasn’t for me, it wasn’t for Eric, and it wasn’t for us as a couple.  We had our freedom, baby!  We weren’t burdened with such a big responsibility!

No one pressured us to have kids, but my sister did try to gently clue me in quite a few years ago.  She told me it was better than any activity that you could do:  Better than the best ski run!  I politely nodded and remained unswayed.

Of course, I’ve loved being an aunt.  My bond with Ashley is beyond special:  it’s the closest thing to having a daughter.  But, being an aunt was always good enough for me!

So now here I sit in a totally different place.  And what have I learned?

Number one, my life has new meaning.  Now it’s all about caring for and nurturing this new little person.  I’m Todd’s mama and I want him to have a great life.  It feels so completely natural now, that I’d want to do everything in my power to help him grow up healthy and happy.  He’ll know for sure that he is loved and respected.

Number two, if parenting is mundane, then I don’t seem to mind!  There is a beautiful simplicity to life right now.  I’m so fortunate that I can stay at home with Todd.  I needed the break from work.  I’m a homebody, and I’m enjoying the slower pace.  Surprisingly, in some ways I feel less burdened with responsibilities than before.  (Odd)

Number three, watching a baby grow and discover the world is completely entertaining!  There’s nothing boring about my days, and every day brings new explorations for Todd.  (I’ll admit that I like reading children’s books, too.)  I get to be a kid again, and that is fun!  I smile and giggle and laugh for new reasons every day.

I look back on my life “before Todd.”  My pleasure and entertainment in life came from very active recreational activities like skiing and mountain biking.  I thrived on the movement and the adrenaline that those pursuits released.

I do sometimes think about how Eric and I can no longer get up before the crack of dawn on a Saturday and go bust our butts on our bikes all day somewhere, way out in the mountains.  Part of me misses that.  But I’m finding that I don’t miss it nearly as much as I thought I would.

I feel confident that my life filled with strenuous outdoor adventures is far from over.  It’s been modified, but that feels okay!  I’m going to love sharing my “former world” with Todd when he gets a little older.  I’ll experience that rush of endorphins again…as I ski and hike and bike with Eric and Todd.

I know it’ll be sooner rather than later when Todd first experiences the thrill of sliding on snow…and that will be a thrilling day for me!  In the meantime, I’ve had plenty of fun taking my turn skiing while Eric watches Todd in the lodge.  Before we know it, we’ll all be shredding the cords and tearing up the pow…together!

Number four, I get it now!  It’s true:  It’s different when it’s your own kid.  I couldn’t get it before because I didn’t have Todd.  No amount of simply “telling me” was going to work.

An acquaintance at the Mission Ridge ski area this winter told me that him and his wife are still on the fence about having kids.  At the time, Todd was about 4 months old.  I reminded Nate that we weren’t at all on the fence (we were as far away from the fence as you could get!)…and yet now we’re so happy that we have Todd.

I still think about that brief chairlift conversation from time to time, and it’s one reason why I’ve been wanting to organize my thoughts on this topic and actually put it down “on paper.”

If I hadn’t become unexpectedly pregnant with Todd, our lives would have gone on as they had before. That would have been great!  We wouldn’t have known what we were missing, as they say.  But since we were surprised in the best possible way, I’m grateful that Todd came along exactly when he did.

I’m glad that he didn’t come sooner, and I’m glad he didn’t come later.  He came along at the perfect time.  I wouldn’t go back and change any phase of my life.  I feel like I’ve gotten to live and enjoy life “both” ways.

That’s the beauty of having a first child past age 40!  For 20+ years, Eric and I enjoyed the “unburdened” lifestyle of the childless, with all of the “pros” that go along with that.  Now we’re in the midst of our next life adventure with child (singular!)  Now we get to experience the depth of love and all the cool things that go along with having a kid.

Yes, sometimes parenting is very hard work.  Yes, I’m positive there’s lots more hard work waiting for us in the future.  It doesn’t take much to figure that out!

But, Todd is clearly more than worth all the hard work…

I get it now!