simplicity, patience and compassion

It's hard to believe that a year ago this week was the last week I spent as a full time teacher. Little did I know when I walked out those doors, I would not be returning. One of the hardest decisions I have made turned out to be one of the best. There is nothing I love more than spending my days with my sweet Riley Quinn. I cannot believe she will be one in just two short weeks. This has been the absolute most incredible year of my life and I pray it can only get better from here.
just a few minutes old. 

5 days old

6 months

11 months 

Tonight, as we began our nighttime routine, I thought back on the last year. How scared I was when it got this close that I was actually about to bring a baby home. I would be trusted to care for a life. Not a dog or a fish... a HUMAN! What was that hospital thinking?!?? Well.. apparently they knew I could handle it. He knew I could handle it.

After our bath, like every night, we read our books (yes, the same ones she picks over and over even though she has a million to choose from!), got jammies on and played in the playroom. We snuggled and read some more books. I just sat thinking to myself... "it's really been a year." A year of trying to figure things out. When we thought we had something figured out, something else was in question. How much formula should she be taking? How much should she eat? Is it Ok to eat peanut butter? How often should she have a bath? 

As a mom we are judged constantly. Judged for not breastfeeding (even though we tried our damnedest!). Judged for putting monograms on clothes (they're going to grow out of it so fast!). Judged for not working and being "lazy." (Because you know... being a mom 24/7 is definitely not a job!) *I'm hoping you are noting my sarcasm in this last paragraph... I don't think anyone should judge. We can just pray that we are doing the best we can do to provide a wonderful life for our children. And by wonderful i don't mean they have to have everything. By wonderful, I mean they need to be loved, fed and provided shelter. 

Tonight as I opened the fridge to get our her milk, a plum fell on the floor. She picked it up and played with it for a minute. Then I looked up and this silly little girl was chowing down! I let her eat half of it and took the rest to give her with breakfast tomorrow. I didn't want to ruin her dinner! She's just so stinkin' smart. 

As I look back on my first year of being a mom, I think I have done a darn good job. I have a happy baby, a healthy baby (and a pretty darn smart baby if I may say so myself.) I honestly can only remember a handful of times where I have been truly scared or stressed or panicked. I can't really think of the word I am trying to put there... Those difficult times revolved mainly in the first 6 weeks of figuring out (or not figuring out) breastfeeding and allergy issues and deciding if I was going back to work or not. I have to give so much thanks to the love, support, help and guidance from my family for being there for us so much. I couldn't have made it through this year without every single one of you. My mom and dad and husband the most. One or all of them are "on call" 24/7 if I ever need them. THAT in itself is an incredible blessing. I am thankful to God for the patience He has given me. I think I even surprised my husband. I will never forget the first few weeks home with RQ, he said to me "wow, I really thought you were going to be a stressed out basket case." (or something along those lines.)

As I finished reading our last page of "Goodnight North Carolina" tonight, I received a text from an old co-worker that reminded me of this time last year. She said "Last year this time.... :) happy early bday to ms. riley." As I thought back to the fact that this was my last week working full time, and being with my friends and co-workers, I realized that this was the plan God had for me all along. He knew I was supposed to be a mommy to this sweet, spunky, wild little red headed baby girl. Nothing makes me happier. The simplicity of laying on the floor reading books... sitting at the table watching her eat... walking down the street listening to her "sing." Standing in her room, watching her sleep.

I was always scared that I wouldn't have the patience I needed. God has given me challenges and helped me through them. He has given me so much strength and patience. As a teacher, I tended to lose my patience more quickly. (Although, I got better the longer I taught, it made me nervous.) I didn't want to be the parent that screams all the time. I have seen women screaming and raising their voices at infants and it has always broken my heart.

I think back to my past weekend trip to Target with Riley. We were there for groceries and it was packed. We walked all the isles, talking and I would tell her what we were going to get next. She of course was waving and high fiving everyone who walked by. At one point she was reaching for me and wanted out of the basket. I gave in and took her out. I then realized I couldn't push the heavy basket and hold her at the same time. When I told her it was time to go back in, she straightened her body with all her might, threw her head back and arched her back as to not put her legs anywhere close to the leg holes in the cart... She was silent. Not throwing a fit, not screaming... just silently with her body saying to me "Mom, I'm not getting in that basket!" People were looking and laughing and guess what... I was almost in tears from laughing so hard myself. After I called my mom laughing while parked in the middle of an isle at Target, she did get back in the basket... To her defense, we had been in target for likely an hour and she was in the basket the whole time being so great. When I got in the car, I continued to laugh about this situation and I even called my husband to tell them about it. I was proud of myself. In a situation where I could have easily lost my temper or had a meltdown... I didn't. (I did however get my child back in her seat so she knows who is boss!) I pray this patience continues for Riley as she grows and tests my limits further. I am in no way saying life is perfect. But I am so thankful with exactly how my life has turned out!

I could keep typing and tell Riley stories all night... Instead, I will leave you with this. If you have in fact read this entire blog of blabbering... :) 

Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. 
Lao Tzu 

~let go laughing


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