My little girl is no longer a baby. What? How can this be? It seems like just yesterday my doctor placed her in my arms, all 7 pounds, 9 ounces, and 21 inches of her ... born on an ordinary Thursday evening, 23 days early.
And now, she's 1!
As of her one-year check-up with the pediatrician, which happened this week, that little infant weighs 20 pounds and is 2'5" tall. She has teeth, six ridiculously cute ones. And her copper-colored hair, which fell out when she was about 6 months old, has now filled in and is starting to curl.
She's almost talking, this one. She says what appears to be "hi" and "bye" while waving. She can blow kisses, complete with the "mmmwah" sound (she did that for the first time on her first birthday). She recognizes us and gets excited. She calls the dogs (and cats) "daw" and her Daddy "Da." (She has mimicked us saying "Mama" but I don't think she's officially attributed it to me just yet.)
And to almost everything new she sees, she points and explains, "Ooooohhhh!"
We think she'll start walking any day. She maneuvers around the house upright quite efficiently by just lightly holding onto furniture. And some of her peers have already started to walk, just taking off one day and lurching about like drunkards.
But it's like I woke up one day and she had turned into a little girl. She looks so young in her "baby" pictures now. I held a newborn recently, and he seemed so incredibly light and tiny after toting around our girl every day.
At first I thought that maybe it's because I spent the first six months of her life in chemotherapy. That maybe I missed some of her growth because of the fog of chemo. But, no, all of my mom friends say the same thing, that they grow so fast. Blink and you'll miss it.
Our couple friends with kids told us the same thing from the start: Enjoy it. It flies by.
I guess it's true.
And the other thing I initially attributed to chemo that I now realize is just a mom thing? Tiredness.
All during chemo, which was essentially the first six months of our daughter's life, I slept like a ROCK, something I had never done before, having been a former insomniac. I fell asleep easily (too easily sometimes), and stayed asleep. It was awesome.
Not so awesome? Being tired. Relishing the idea of staying in rather than going out. And finding the idea of going to bed early a treat.
I used to think that my mom friends went to bed early to be responsible because they knew they had to get up early the next morning with the kids. I now know they go to bed early because they're effing tired, so tired they can hardly stay awake. And that has nothing to do with chemo.
Being a parent is draining, no doubt about it. We have to be "on" when we're around our children, and we can't help but be on high alert as well. So when they finally fall asleep for the night? We can finally exhale. Sit down. Have a glass of wine. Watch an episode of Project Runway.
If we can stay awake, that is.
But I wouldn't trade it for the world.
This past year has been the best year of my life, cancer and all. We got through it without breaking our kid. Two 40-plus-year-olds with no parenting experience, and we figured out things just fine. I can't wait to see what the next year holds.
Actually, I can wait. I'm in no hurry at all.
Images via Brooke Kelly Photography