Monday, September 29, 2014

A Year of Claire-ity

I am sitting in our living room reminiscing with my wife, Kaylee, about the past year.  What a year. Why? Because this is the year that we became parents to the most amazing little girl who stole our hearts, named Claire Jewel.

I will be honest, I have always been fearful of being a parent.  I think it comes from my childhood and dysfunction I grew up in. I knew too much how the families can affect children, and especially parents to children.  Fear gripped me when Kaylee came bouncing down the hall to tell me we were pregnant with Claire.  Fear paralyzed me, it gripped me, it had me in it's vice.

Then I decide to just have faith.  Yes, there are times when I worry about things, like  how I respond to my sweet little girl.  I have fear that I will become like my past.  Then I let it go.  It's not easy, but faith never is.

By the time Claire was set to be born, I had started to see that just because I had known a way it didn't mean it was the only way it had to be. I can honestly say the fear of the past was lifted off of me.  I really enjoyed the last few minutes of our family being just the two of us.  

Then Claire was here.  She was screaming at the top of her lungs while enduring the Apgar tests. Not really knowing what to do, I just started talking to her.  "Hey, little girl, you're okay." BOOM, she stopped crying and looked over at me.  I turned to tell Kaylee just how precious she was.  She screamed louder than before. I turned and said, "Hey sweetheart, you are okay,"  She stopped crying and turned her head towards me.  She knew my voice and it brought her peace.  I felt the tear roll down my cheek.  This was surely God's way of showing me everything was going to be alright. She was comforted by my speech.  The world stopped and at the moment she had me wrapped around her little fingers.

The first two weeks of her life were, well, the hardest thing I have ever endured. Anxiety filled my every minute.  I mean between the new schedule, the amount of concern over pooping or not pooping, is she getting enough milk when nursing, is she staying awake while nursing, is she crying because she's hungry, is she crying because she's in pain, is it gas, are we missing something, is she at her birth weight, as she lost weight, and all those terrifying things .  I had taken off work for two weeks so I could "help" Kaylee.  I am pretty sure other than waking for a few minutes during late night feedings to talk to her, I wasn't much help.  Actually, I felt helpless. I couldn't do anything than change a diaper, a lot of the responsibility was squarely on Kaylee's shoulders.  She accepted the challenge and did so amazing.  I cannot express how proud I am of Kaylee and how great of a mother she is.  She really earned her cape as superwomen.
We fell in love with her. Although, all she did was eat, poop, and cry, we knew we had something special.  That something grew and grew.  She smiled at us, and acknowledged us, and was comforted by us.  This year I learned a lot about why people do this parenting thing.  I also learned a lot about myself.  Kaylee and I's daily conversation now include dialogue about poop and if Claire has had enough of them for the day. We talk an awfully lot about poop.  Really, is rather bazaar how much of our talk is about poop.

I learned also why mommy blogs are so popular and why they are so dangerous.  Usually a mom "discovers" that she's the great mom since Mary herself and they espouses her views on a blog, and in-so-doing effectively making all other mothers feel inadequate Also there are a lot of moms who are judgmental.  "You aren't breastfeeding?"  Is the new,  "You are a terrible mom."  The mommy shaming is ridiculous, and mothers should calm down and realize that there is not just one way to raise a child.   It's like no one can do anything right.  This is the only negative that I can recount from the year.

Sitting up, crawling, and then walking.  These three phases should come with an instruction manual.  I mean, it's like the craziest time, but fun all at the same time.  Then little Claire said, "dada." I thought, if she only knew how much power she had when she says that, she could take over the world, well maybe just get anything she ever wanted from me.

I can't tell you how much I love being her dad. It's just the best.  The first year didn't lack in troubles but it never lacked in love.  I realized throughout the entire process that all the fears I had were really unfounded, and that I love this little girl named Claire like none other! And my wife is literally superwomen. Life. Is. Good.

There is a song  that is a Schoolhouse Rocks song, that I have always loved. I will leave you with it.   Three oh, it's the magic number... A man and women had a little baby, there is three in the family, and it's the magic number.