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Dear Naia: On Your 1st Birthday

Dear Naia,

I can’t believe that an entire year has already come and gone since you made your dramatic early entrance into the world. It’s enough to make even the most cynical person in the world, nostalgic.

Those first few months with you were but a blur of sleepless nights, progressively more challenging diapers and an unwelcome feeling of restriction. You see, I never wanted a child. It was only when I met your father, and he insisted that he HAD to have one, END OF STORY, that I gave in. Motherhood has never been my first choice.

By the time we started trying though, I was sorta kinda ready. Not completely ready to give up a lifestyle that I’d fought for and dearly loved, but ready to make whatever sacrifices were necessary. At 42, I felt that I’d already lived a pretty full and amazing life. A life that a lot of people dream about. I’d lived in different countries, partied the nights away, met all kinds of people, had great friendships, traveled the world, and fallen hopelessly in love.

If there was ever a time to have you, it was then.

But I had serious misgivings, and secretly hoped I wouldn’t get pregnant. I was 42 after all…it was definitely within the realm of possibility. But of course I did. And my thoughts turned to the very real possibility that I would be cursed by a demon child, as a lesson from the Universe, about patience, unconditional love and surrender.

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And then you were born.

And you were the exact opposite of a demon child. You were the best possible baby that could ever have existed. So sweet, happy and easy that we couldn’t quite believe you were real. How had we gotten so lucky?

Still, I’m not gonna lie and tell you that I fell madly and instantly in love with you. That I cried at the sight of you, or felt any overwhelming emotion at all. I knew you were mine, and that I was responsible for you, and that I cared for you, but love?

Love took time.

It took the fact that you never cried. That you slept through the night after 4 months. That you nursed easily, ate everything I gave you, and never complained, even when you’re inexperienced parents made mistakes that caused you physical pain.

It took your first tentative smile. Your first adorable giggles. The crinkles around your nose when you grin. Your determined attempts to lift your oh-so-heavy head. How you kick your legs in excitement and shriek passionately when you’re happy. That you stubbornly refuse to wear a hat.

It took the unbridled sound of your laughter. The cleverness in your bright, beautiful eyes. Your persistent and unflagging desire to see, touch, and explore everything around you. That you already know how to turn on my iPhone, and pull the safety covers off electric sockets.

It took the feel of your little arm around my neck. Witnessing your 500 million different sleeping positions. How you grab my hand in the car and smell me, like I’m some kind of aphrodisiac, when you want to fall asleep. How you wake in the middle of the night, and quietly sob “mom,” before snuggling your head in close to whatever part of me you can find.

Today, you’re incredibly, unbelievably a year old. And I’m unabashedly, unashamedly, wholeheartedly, foolishly in love with you. Happy birthday, my sweetest love.

You are, without a doubt, the best parts of me and your daddy. I can’t imagine a world without you in it.

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Well this was totally captivating. What a little cutie she is. And I totally understand – I never wanted to be a mother either, and never became one, but it sounds like you’re doing just fine! Alison

    October 5, 2016
    • Honestly, from a lifestyle point of view, I’d still choose NOT to have a child…even now that I’ve got one and she’s a complete angel. People always told me I’d change my mind once I had a kid, but I’m afraid it’s simply not the case. Who knows though, it’s still early days, and my opinion might still change yet! Glad you enjoyed the post. ๐Ÿ™‚

      October 7, 2016
  2. Happy Birthday Little Sweet Naia

    October 5, 2016
  3. Meagin Huisman #

    Hey Shelley, I loved that you shared your true and honest journey about becoming a mom. Congrats on completing your first year adventure and Happy Birthday to Naia. Here is to many more years of being an amazing parent with your little girl. ~ Meagin

    October 5, 2016
    • Hi Meagin! Your first comment on my blog!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Yeah, motherhood definitely wasn’t my first choice, and it has indeed been somewhat of a “journey,” but one that our little Naia Bear has made as easy as possible. Thank goodness – since I’m not sure how I’d do with a demon child on my hands. :p Miss you. xoxo.

      October 7, 2016
  4. Wow already one year now! Congratulations for the first big anniversary ๐Ÿ™‚

    October 5, 2016
    • It’s crazy actually! I feel like I was just writing the post about her birth, but here it is already a whole year later. Unbelievable how fast the time has gone… ๐Ÿ™

      October 7, 2016
      • Yeah, in few months will be Nathans 3rd birthday already, just insane!!

        October 8, 2016
        • Everyone always says how fast it goes, and even now that we are experiencing it ourselves, I can’t quite believe HOW fast it’s really going. :0

          October 10, 2016
  5. I was not looking to cry before I started work today … what a sweet tribute to not only your incredibly dear child but to the very, very complicated facets of motherhood that only mothers can know and understand. Happy birthday to Naia, the little traveling wonder, and congratulations to you parents who, I think, must be a big part of why Naia is such a sweetheart!

    October 5, 2016
    • Oh…um…really? ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I totally agree with you that there are things that only mothers can know and understand…sometimes it feels like I joined a secret club all of sudden. I have much more sympathy for parents now, where I used to just feel mostly annoyed by babies and kids. What can I say? I’ve never had too much maternal instinct I suppose. Thank god we lucked out with Naia, the sweetheart…not sure how I’d cope otherwise!! :p

      October 7, 2016
  6. You do know how to make me cry, don’t you? Haha! Such a sweet and tearjerking post, Shelly! I’ve only been a part of Naia and your lives for 5-6 months? and I’m already feeling so emotional by this post. It’s beautifully written! I played the video and Basil (sleeping in the other room) was asking what’s that? Haha! She’s an ‘angel’, the perfect, cutest baby I’ve ever seen. And you guys are doing such a fantastic job! Hugs to the little one and see you soon.

    October 8, 2016
    • And we are so glad that you’ve entered our lives! Here’s to many more years of friendship and adventures (all over the world)! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for coming to Naia’s 1st year celebrations…the little demon slept 10.5 hours in a row last night – it felt so strange to have dreams again. Haha! Let’s hope she keeps it up… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      October 10, 2016
      • She’s the cutest little demon I’ve ever known! And thanks for making us a part of your lives! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve forgotten the ‘terrible’ summer already. Haha!

        October 10, 2016

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