We moved into our home at 24 weeks and I was hyper focused. Getting the house ready, taking our Bradley Method classes, doing my exercises, reading anything I could to get ready for your arrival. The third trimester began and with it came intense swelling and carpal tunnel. I was in so much pain all of the time, but I was so excited to meet you and continued to eat my whole watermelon a day and drink my goats milk (I know.. pregnancy cravings are so crazy!). At 41 weeks and two days pregnant, I finally got to meet you. Only after about 48 hours of labor, of course! You were so resilient and so strong, even stronger than me that whole time! I had lost a lot of blood giving birth to you so we had to stay in the hospital a little extra longed than normal mamas. Everyone was so wonderful taking care of us there, I didn’t want to leave! I was so scared to take you home! Your dad was amazing the whole time, being such a good nurturer and amazing coach. One of my favorite memories in the hospital was when the nurse had to give you a bath and I was still unable to walk the second day you were here on earth. He was taking notes in his work handbook on how to properly bathe you (I have pics to prove it)! Even in the beginning, he’s always wanted to do everything right for us. When we got you in the car seat we couldn’t figure out how to work it and we were so flustered. This kind front desk employee at Bronson helped us get you strapped in accordingly and off we went.
Home, safe to the house that we searched for so long for after living at our parents, getting adjusted back to the place we grew up so you could be close to family and friends. Home, to meet Frank, your dog-brother! Baby girl, you were and ARE, absolutely perfect. I remember those first few weeks of your life, not vividly but I do remember them. Even just one short year ago it’s funny how things can fade. I’m so grateful for all the pictures/videos that we have of you to remind me of those tender moments that we shared together. You were definitely a mama’s girl right from the start, and I wanted to do everything I could to breast-feed you, so I did. Honestly, you taught me how to give you what you needed and even though it was painful and trying, it was so, so worth it. Your dad again, was an amazing coach. We made it through and are still breastfeeding to this day! Thank you, for letting me cradle you, hum you songs and pray together as you drift off to sleep. I will cherish these precious times, my love. I will always cherish YOU. Watching you grow and seeing your personality shine over this last year, dear Nora, has been what I think my entire life was supposed to be about; being YOUR mom. I knew it was supposed to be a mother and a very early age, but I had no idea what being a mom really meant. I didn’t know it would be so hard, through the tears and the nursing and countless months of not sleeping, trying to make things safe in the house for you. Trying to balance work and family and a marriage and a household, six chickens and a dog. I guess you just don’t know, until you know. At 35 years old I’m more humble now that I have ever been. I know now that I waited my whole life for you. To hear your first giggles and to see your first smiles. Watching you discover your body, your tribe, your surroundings. Feeling your little hand on my chest as you would fall asleep, just to reassure yourself that my heart beat was close enough to you to feel comfortable to snooze. How did I get so lucky? I’m not entirely sure, honestly. I just know that I am. You are so smart and so incredibly beautiful, inside and out. You’ve always been healthy, SO darn funny and your smile and bright eyes light up any room you walk in to; and you’re just a year old! Watching you learn, playing with you, watching your relationship with your grandparents flourish, seeing how you are with animals and how you wake up every day with a smile on your face, ready to have fun and learn in any situation, makes my heart burst with pride. I know that your dad and I were supposed be together to have you, sweet bear. It’s something I know deep within me. You are truly going to be someone in this world that makes a difference. A REAL. Difference. Nora, you are someone that’s going to continue to grow strong, healthy, intelligently and with grace, to make this crazy world a better place. I know this, because I am your mama. I promise to always make you feel safe, loved and nourished in every way. You have given me countless gifts in just the short year of your incredible life, it’s the least I can do, to give back to you.