May 27, 2012

What a difference a year makes.

I can't figure out why or how I have let Geel's first birthday slip past this blog unannounced.  She is, in fact, the reason I started this whole thing.  Well, really, if you boil it down the real reason would be me and The Man's lack of trying hard enough not to have Geel.  But let's not split hairs.

I would love to say that I haven't written anything before now because we were having some nice quiet family occasion.  The truth is we ran around like nutjobs driving four hours away to have a party with extended family since we moved so far from them.  So I really just did not make the time.  We did have a quiet after-dinner celebration on the night of Geel's birthday:  a mini ice cream cake with one candle and just the five of us, quickly followed by the notary lady who came to our house at 7 pm so we could sign our refi paperwork.  Woo Hoo!  I'm not sure if I was happier for that or for my baby girl turning one!  I mean, Sally the notary is helping me save $300 a month.  Geel is costing me WAY more.  You do the math.

Anyway, this year--as I often say to everyone, especially those about to have their first child--is the longest and fastest year of their life.  And mine, consequently.  And although this is the third time for me, it still holds true.  It is hard to believe she is one.  It is hard to believe she is walking, and talking (like a one-year-old) and learning so much every day.  I can literally see her brain getting bigger every time she discovers something new.

I think because she has Moo and Slim (and BabyFirst TV) to mimic every day, she seems so much smarter and advanced than they were.  She says actual words--not articulately, but she has a measurable vocabulary that she uses and adds to daily.  Dada. Mama. Juice. Cheese. Shoes. Bye-bye. Night-night. Ball. Apple.  That one I am particularly proud of.  A-ppuh.  Two non-repetitive syllables.  I love it.  She has turned me into the parent I never wanted to be--the look-what-my-incredibly-smart-baby-can-do parent.  I am annoying, and I don't care.  I talk about it all the time but not really because I think she's so much better than any other kid.  I mostly bring it up because I am incredulous.  I want to compare notes with other parents because I can't believe she can really do this shit!  I want to make sure I'm not going crazy.

But even with all of this brilliance happening I cannot escape the haunting thought that there are times when I wonder what I would be doing if she wasn't here.  My mom has said to me multiple times this past year, "I'll bet you just can't imagine your life without her now."  I think the first time she said it I kind of laughed it away and bit my tongue.  But the truth is that I can and sometimes I do.  Even now.  I would be lying if I said I didn't wonder some days, how much easier some things would be without her here.  More income.  Fewer expenses.  More time with Moo and Slim.  Less laundry. More sleep.

I mean, I have no illusions that my life is crazier or harder than anyone else's.  My kids are healthy (for the most part), my husband has a good job, but we have struggled since The Geel arrived, since I cut back significantly on working outside the home.  And I have since juggled re-entering the diaper zone, three part-time jobs (outside-the-home and concurrently) and our finances.  Even though I KNOW that all that is WAY easier than dealing with things I know other moms do--chronic and debilitating illnesses (their own and their children's), no job (serious financial turmoil), home-schooling (a breed of self-torture I will never inflict upon myself) and any other unexpected calamity life can throw at any one of us.

I have often been told (and occasionally thought) that The Geel must be here "for a reason."  Not that I could figure out what THAT was.  I think I have been waiting this past year to be hit over the head by something that laid it all out for me, that showed me "the reason" with bells and whistles, lights flashing and choirs of angels singing.  More often, too often I am thinking that she is the reason for so much else:  why we don't go out to eat anymore, why we couldn't take Moo and Slim back to Disney (as we had planned), why I should cancel my data plan and the cable we shouldn't be paying for, why we should be living with so much less and maybe be grateful for what we already have.

Fact is, The Geel did not ask to be brought into our lives.  She was not inflicted upon us and though she may have been unintended, she was no accident.  In all of her tiny brilliance, with all that she is learning every day, she is teaching us something far greater--that we have room for one more, we have love for one more, we have more to learn ourselves and with her, our family has more.


  1. Thanks for making me cry:)

  2. That was excellent. Love that Oprah quote too. According to Joanne apple was my first word - the first and possibly last time I overachieved. ;)

  3. Great post! And you are so correct in that the first year is both the longest and the shortest. I think I enjoyed it a bit more with my second one knowing that, albeit in a rather bittersweet kind of way.

  4. I cannot even put into words how much i love this and relate. I feel the same about #5! I turned into THAT parent...but i at times think how easy life would be right now w/o her. But i'm sooo happy she was our surprise. But wow - 5yr gap between her and #4 and i am re-learning everything. And at times, i want to shoot myself. PERFECT post.

    1. Thanks, Mama! I don't know how you even do it! (although, I did check out your fam pics on your blog, so I know how you do IT)
      So glad you liked it and commiserate. I so enjoy your writing and it really gives me a boost when people i admire read and enjoy and relate! So anyways, next time i'm heading "home" my kids always need a break from the 4 hr drive. We might "accidentally" run into each other somewhere.....


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