until next time

And so my final post for who knows how long is coming later than promised. I suppose that’s only to be expected as a hiatus draws near, as the gears of this blog slowly stop turning and finally grind to an indefinite halt.

Next week FJ will be eight months old. This has been the most difficult and most joyous eight months of my life. I wouldn’t change it for anything that could ever be offered to me in heaven or on earth, but motherhood is nothing like I expected it might be.

I don’t know what I expected, exactly. Easy was never a word that came to mind, and yet there was no way for me to fully grasp what it is like to take care of a human 24/7–how simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating it truly is.

I have always loved children. I was *the* babysitter from 13 to 18 and it was my only job–a job I adored. I thought I had an inkling of what was in store. But this is nothing like babysitting. For one: the job. Never. Ends.

It changes though; it has changed already. A once completely immobile, dependent (but don’t get me wrong–incredible) newborn is now crawling and full of life. She is our sassy little firework, making every day new and exciting. In many ways those changes have made life easier.

And babysitting certainly didn’t hold the pure and encompassing joy of being a mother. It’s the joy of seeing her hold a flower for the first time, press her palms into dewy grass, breathe in the smells from a coffee bag or a spice jar. It’s the smile that erupts from the simplest things, like pressing the buttons on our elevator or seeing her dad come home from work. It’s in giggles and tickles, in the way she looks while she naps, snuggled up nursing as the soft light in our bedroom kisses her round cheeks and long lashes. The way she pants when she is excited. Her round legs. The sweet, milky smell of her breath. What joy.

Being FJ’s mom is truly an honor and a privilege. I only hope I can do half as good of a job raising her as I want to. I wish a life of happiness and love for my sweet girl, a life of adventure and believing in herself and in the beauty in the world and in others.

And in truth I will miss these days dearly. I can already feel it, her babyness slipping away into the body and mind of a toddler. But that’s my job, isn’t it? To help her grow up, not to keep her young forever. I’m raising a future woman, not a forever baby. And though I will miss these sweet days, thank goodness for that.

FJ, I promise to unconditionally love and accept you for as long as I live. If I ever forget that along the way, please point me to these words. You deserve nothing less.

Until next time, dear friends.