My response? "Hell, yeah!"
I think of today not so much as young Master Sam's birthday as the anniversary of the day I squeezed a head the size of a canteloupe through my lady bits, coinciding with the exact moment I stopped being the size of a Hyundai. If you don't see anything to celebrate in that, go away.
Okay, I'm being facetious (sort of). It's not all about me. I really am amazed and dazzled and generally mindblown about the fact that this little person, who didn't even exist such a short time ago, has already been with us for a whole year. You know how you always hear parents saying, "It goes by so fast"? That's because it's disturbingly true. And I'd be lying if I said that doesn't make me a little bit sad.
But that's the trade-off, right? Every day I say goodbye to the Sam that existed yesterday, because that kid is gone, vamoose, outtahere, and he's replaced by the Sam of today with his handfuls of charming new ways and habits, which I know I'll be saying goodbye to tomorrow. To be a parent is to exist in a perpetual state of anticipatory nostalgia, and if you don't think I get a little choked up every time I think about it, you are wrong, mon frere.
At the same time, though, getting to live with Sam has taught me to live in the present the way nothing else could have. I'm a planner by temperament, and while this trait is certainly useful in several aspects of parenting, its tendency to make you live primarily in the future is not helpful when you're trying to roll with the day-to-day lifestyle of the stay-at-home-mom. For that you've got to roll with the punches, because plans? Babies mock your plans. Your plans exist solely for the purpose of being mangled by derisive babies. You may as well just pass your Palm Pilot to your newborn and tell him to keep it in his diaper for all the good your lists and plans are. It's taken me a while to learn this, but that lesson has finally sunk in. It's humbling and all, but dude, after this past year I'm so humble I could probably make one of those convincing Oscar speeches that make you believe, "Hey, I think she really IS giving her parents and God all the credit."
Hmm. Maybe this entry is all about me after all. Well, Sam can get his own blog. They're free, so it's not like he can pull out his old "But I'm a baby. I don't have any money" excuse, because let me tell you, that one's getting pretty old.
I had this idea that I'd write a couple of lists of how things have changed since Sam came along, starting with this partial list of things that I now consider "occasional lifestyle treats" rather than "cornerstones of my existence" (note the importance of semantics in making these distinctions):
- sleeping for more than three hours in a row
- sleeping in, period
- eating a hot meal
- combing my hair more than once a day
- wearing an outfit completely free of snot, drool, vomit, pee, or poop
- going out after 7:30 pm
- listening to music
- drinking coffee
- being covered with as many as five different bodily fluids at the same time
- singing shamelessly loudly in public
- talking to strangers
- talking to really weird strangers
- drinking more coffee
- overcoming worries
- bonding with super-cool women
- drinking still more coffee
- smelling the roses
- putting myself second
- nourishing human life
- being the absolute epicentre of someone else's existence
Happy birthday, Sam. I promise I'm fully here in the moment of being with one-year-old you, but someday you're going to be seven or fifteen or twenty-eight or forty-two, and I'm going to be there telling you about what an awesome little person you were as a one year old. And I have to admit, that sounds pretty nice, too. See you then.