How to sum up the first year as parents

Like an old friend who, after a while, you awkwardly avoid because you haven’t spoken in so long, I have of late abandoned my dear old blog.  I am sorry.  The past year has been quite the blur of chaos.  Forever feeling one step behind as life and it’s new challenges come rushing in to trip us up.

It’s not for lack of wanting to write.  Or for not having anything to say.  I’ve had plenty to talk about in the last few months: ending maternity leave, how a growing child constantly changes the family dynamic, miscarriage and its affect on marriage…  There’s been plenty going on but, like an old friend who loses touch, I haven’t felt that connection to write for a while.

That is until today.

As I put our daughter down for her (wonderfully regular and rather lenghty) afternoon nap, I decided it was time to write in a journal that Andrew had given us for Christmas.  The journal aims to capture key moments and feelings over 18 years- to be presented to your child on their 18th birthday.  Wow.  With our daughter’s first birthday just around the corner, it was time to complete the first entry.

Having loved writing our thoughts together in our Bump to Birthday journal over the last couple of years, I was excited by the prospect of continuing, and giving her the most precious gift of memories later down the line.

As I thumbed through the untouched pages of this 18 year journal an unfamiliar emotion came over me.  I can’t quite place if it was excitement, intrigue, sadness, nostalgia or a mix of them all.  Here in my hands is her childhood.  Pages of adventures as yet unwritten – memories not yet made.  I do hope that there will be wonderful adventures in store for us over the coming years.

The journal gives you prompts on things to write about, but the task of summing up our first year together was difficult.  How can you sum up that first year of being parents?  How can you ever express the way it turns your world upside down and inside out?  How can you ever capture the millions of micro moments that have made the roller coaster a most enjoyable adventure?

In a couple of weeks she will be turning one.  I knew it was going to be a marked occasion but I never imagined how significant this milestone would be.  Not just for her but for Andrew and I as well.

It almost feels like we can breathe a sigh of relief.  We made it.  We got through the first year.  Not completely unscathed but we did it.  And we did it together.  I can only imagine the next 12 months will bring fresh challenges but having survived a year already, I know we have what it takes to get through the rest.  So bring them on!

As for our  daughter – she has grown into a most curious, charming and beautiful little human.  From discovering her hands, her feet, her face… her voice, it’s been incredible to watch her transform.

People often talk of the bittersweet experience it is to raise a child and I never understood it before.  Each tiny achievement is a cause for such celebration and pride, with the shadow of sadness and loss not far behind.  Every challenge that she overcomes, every new skill she masters brings her one step closer to independence, and one step further away from us.

But, we still have so much more to teach each other, so many more adventures to experience, so many more cuddles, kisses and bedtime stories to keep us busy.  So I’m going to focus on all of those things, ensuring that next year is even more difficult to put into a few words in a journal.



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