This last year has felt slow, in the most wonderful way. From 4:15 to 8 every week day (and more on weekends, of course!), I was just with her. We were together. Sometimes we cooked, sometimes we folded laundry, sometimes I just sat on the floor and watched her explore. For the most part, I didn’t try to direct her activities. I didn’t share our moments on Snapchat or a Story. We smiled at each other and made each other laugh (and of course, sometimes there were tears!). We read books and stacked blocks. We hinged and unhinged the guitar case a million times. We listened to music and sang. We rolled around. We took lots of walks. We sat on the porch, quiet, and watched the tree in our front yard wave in the breeze. We tried to pet the cats. We took baths and ate dinner. Later, we climbed the stairs a million times, played with puzzles, danced, shook the tambourine.
Photo by Nancy Ray
Since my most important job was to be present, it was easy to succeed and to feel accomplished. I am her mama, and in that role I felt like exactly enough. I had everything I needed to give her exactly what she needed. I didn’t feel guilty, distracted, or frenzied. I left my phone in the kitchen, so I wasn’t tempted to look at it. I didn’t do everything right, but I felt purposeful and content BECAUSE I very specifically narrowed my focus to only this one thing while I was with her.
Did that mean I took and shared fewer pictures?
Did that mean I had to stay up later some nights to finish Etsy orders?
Did that mean I wrote fewer blog posts?
Did that mean I read fewer books?
Did that mean our house was often messy, and, let’s be real, a little bit dirty?
Did that mean it took weeks for me to get back to some emails?
Was it worth it?
Throughout this year, I constantly heard my grandmother in my head: “I just tried to enjoy them.” Well, I enjoyed every – and I do mean every – moment with my little Junebug. It was the best year of what has been a beautiful life, and I know John would say the same.
I didn’t spend too much time mourning how fast she was growing, and I firmly stopped myself from thinking too much about the future. I just sat in the present, with her, with John, and it was good. I am doing the same now.
Whenever I feel a wave of sadness about how she’s no longer a little baby, I remember something else a wise woman in my life recently told me: we are not called to keep our babies little, but to raise them well and help them grow. Yes, yes, yes, amen!
So to our sweet, cheerful, funny, smart, patient one-year-old June Chen Thomas: We love you. We are so grateful you are ours. And we are so excited to see what your next year holds!
P.S. Thank YOU for your encouragement, enthusiasm, ideas, and wisdom this past year! You made my first year as a mama even sweeter. Very thankful for this community and the ability to share! So much love to you all!!