Warning: this will be a sappy and lengthy post.
At just about 33 weeks pregnant, hormones have finally taken over. Tonight, I had "one of those days" where jokes I would usually laugh at just weren't funny, everything anyone said was taken the wrong way, mix that with feeling under the weather and being sleep deprived-- needless to say, it was not a particularly fun day. The whole family is sick; I spent my morning buying medicine for all of us, so by the end of the day, I was happy when Riley and Eric both decided to go to bed early, and I got to relax on the sofa and watch tv with Indy at my feet.
And then, the beast woke up (the beast being Riley, not Eric).
I let her cry for a little bit, hoping she'd fall back asleep, and that didn't happen. After internally battling myself as to whether or not I should try to soothe her, I gave in and decided to check it out, make sure she wasn't up with a fever or stuffy nose. I open the door to a crying baby, one hand on her crib rail and the other clutching her blanket close to her face, and I just couldn't help but giggle at the sight of her. I picked her up and took her to the glider, and I just cuddled her and shushed her. After a very short period of time, she closed her eyes and fell asleep in my arms. Now this might seem insignificant to you, but I honestly cannot remember the last time this squirmy baby fell asleep in my arms-- it just doesn't happen, folks. And it got me thinking to when we first brought her home, when we were trying to figure out the whole parenting thing. When we were getting to know her as much as she was getting to know us. Riley and I spent a lot of time in that glider, and tonight I realized how big she's gotten, how much she's grown and changed, and "bittersweet" is the best word I could come up with, although that doesn't seem to be very accurate either. I looked at my beautiful daughter's face and I just swelled up with pride. I held her in my arms, feeling Connor's kicks, reminding me that there isn't much time left that Riley will be our only child. With that thought, I got a slight sense of guilt-- will she not get the attention she deserves from us? Will she resent us having a baby so soon after her? And then I looked at her again and thought about the possibility that we are giving her the best thing parents can give their children-- a sibling. Another person to love and another person to love her. And all of a sudden, it felt like things were a-ok again. I let go of today's struggles and thanked the Lord for blessing me with a beautiful, healthy and growing family. And with that thought, I took a deep breath and savored that moment with Riley. She may not be a baby anymore, but she will always be my girl, my first-born, a being on this planet that has taught me more about myself in one quick year than possibly any one else I've ever been blessed to meet.
This first year of motherhood has been wonderful, challenging, frustrating, humbling but above all, rewarding. I've learned to trust myself in ways I never knew I could (or had to). I'm thankful and proud that my marriage has been strong enough to not just survive, but flourish the challenges of new parenthood. And although I have my moments of panic in anticipation of another baby on the way (because let's face it, the memories of sleepless nights and functioning like a zombie is still fresh in my mind) I get very much encouraged reminiscing of our time raising Riley, and how even the toughest of times pass by too quickly.
I don't really know where I'm going with this post, if anywhere. I just had a moment tonight where I just realized, truly realized how much I love being a mother to Riley. And now, more than ever, I am excited to meet this sweet, little boy that's growing in my growing belly. I cannot wait to see how our family will change and grow with this newest addition. Feeling so blessed!