I remember the day we brought her home.  It was cold, cloudy and snowing lightly. It was mid January and I was terrified.  I never thought I would be a mom.  Not that I didn’t want to be, I just never thought it would happen.  But there I was, sitting in the back seat of our car, staring at my daughter as my husband drove us all home for the very first time. It began my first year as a mom, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. 

The first weeks went by in a blur of feedings and diaper changes. Moving faster than expected because of the exhaustion that had set in from the little amount of broken sleep I was able to get. I wish I could remember every little moment, but I can’t.  There is one moment I do remember so vividly.  My husband and I, staring at this tiny person asking each other how we were going to do it.  How we would make it through.  And just how we would keep this tiny human alive. 

We managed fairly well I think.  By the time she was three months old, we had our game plan figured out and we had become somewhat adjusted to our lives as parents.  It was far easier for him than it was for me.  Things happened that I didn’t expect. 

When she cried, I couldn’t leave her.  I couldn’t let her “cry it out.” I couldn’t even let my husband take her.  I had to do it.  I had a physical and emotional reaction so strong, and I never saw it coming.  When she cried, it felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest and I had an all-consuming need to comfort her and do whatever I could so she could stop. That feeling still hasn’t gone away, even now.  While it’s better, it still lingers. 

I remember at six months thinking she was turning into this amazing little person.  Her personality was starting to come out.  She was smiling for reasons other than gas.  She was a joy to be around, and I wanted nothing more than to do just that.  

After the insanity of the first few months, everything seemed to just fall into place. She starting cooing and jabbering away, rolling over, even crawling.  Every milestone made me overjoyed and proud, even though it had little to do with me. 

The biggest realization that I’ve had through my daughters first year is the idea that I’ve never loved anyone else so completely. I’ve never felt a love for another human being that I feel for my daughter.  I know that I would do anything for her, even if that means letting her fall and make her own mistakes.  I’ll be there to pick her up.  

I know I’m not perfect, and becoming a mom has taught me that lesson even more. I can’t always be there for her when I want to be, and that doesn’t mean she will fail just because I’m not there.  In fact, it’s just the opposite.  She will succeed and flourish even without me. 

All I can do is my best, and that means teaching her everything I can and hoping it sticks. Here’s to a wonderful, and memorable first year and many more to come.