Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Year of Changes

I've made it a mission in my life to streamline responsibility. An adult life with no responsibility isn't that fulfilling, but a life with too much? Not for me. That's why when I got pregnant with my son, I figured I'd be good on that front for a long time. I knew being a parent was the most responsibility I'd ever take on. So, I was a good pregnant girl: I ate right (as in, everything), exercised (after I gained twenty pounds in my first trimester) and took my pre-natal vitamins (chased with ice cream). I read all the books and patiently listened to all of the (cockamamie) advice everyone (strangers) threw my way.

When I went into labor, everything went smoothly and according to plan. There was no way it could be so easy. I had no pain, thanks to the epidural and was just waiting for the show to start. So, when the doctors and nurses swarmed in around me, slapped an oxygen mask on me, started rotating me and doing things only bad people who must be punished deserve, I was terrified. In the four minutes it took the OBs to perform the C-section, I finally understood what responsibility meant. Having avoided a surplus my whole life, and never having more than the barest minimum, I looked with total relief and love at my baby screaming, safe and sound in the doctor's hands.

Sure, it's an important job--the most important I've ever had, no doubt. I'm so fortunate to have such good material to work with. He's a solid, happy and bright little boy (there's no point in me waxing poetic about his angelic cuteness--I'm biased). As I reflect upon the last year, I'm filled with gratitude. It's a privilege and an honor to be responsible for loving him, guiding him and teaching him to be the best human being possible. I can't even believe that the little man who staggers around like a drunk, with his silky towhead hair and gappy white-toothed grin, is the same baby I was afraid I was going to lose a year ago today.

As I watch him stack his rings, play with his blocks and push his trucks around the living room, the realization has dawned on me that my responsibility to him is just getting interesting. Of course, I'm responsible for keeping him healthy and safe, but beyond that, the real work is in making sure he becomes the best person he can be. I'm responsible for promoting and shaping the best of his personality and for curbing bad habits and behaviors. His personality reveals itself more every day, but it's amazing to see that the foundation, his determination, persistence and his willingness to work hard to overcome obstacles, has been present from the day he was born and lifted his head, already interested in moving beyond mommy into the great big world.

Happy birthday, little man. Holding you for the first time was the best moment of my life and being your mom has changed me for the better, so thank you. I look forward to helping you become the great person I know you're going to be.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to your son.

I read this quote somewhere it always stuck with me by Willam Thackery.

"Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of little children."

Nora said...

Aw, River. You made me tear up a little. Thank you.

My goal is to be at least half as good a mom to my son as my mommy was and still is to me.

Mitchell said...

I doubt you've got anything to worry about there, Nora.

Nora said...

Well, Jude's the best role model. I couldn't have had a better mom, so I have that going for me. Thanks, Mitchell.

Cody Heitschmidt said...

Just getting to know you and Jude, Mitchell speaks highly, and Jude's comment on my end cracked me up and made me thing at the same time. I am sending my money to Vegas and betting the kid is gonna be just fine!!!!!!

Ratherto said...

First of all Happy Birthday to your son. I hope he has a wonderful first birthday.

To Nora, even though parenting is a long tough road, at least you didn't have a girl. I would rather have four boys than deal with one teenage girl. I'm just kidding.

I know your little guy is going to grow up just fine. He has great parents and he shares his birthday with some amazing famous people. First Roy Orbison, great singer. Most importantly though, Lee Majors. Where would we be without the amazing acting of Lee Majors. Whether playing the young cowboy in The Big Valley, fighting evil as The Six Million Dollar Man or jumping off of buildings as The Fall Guy, he got me through some tough times as a kid. I have the Fall Guy season 1 on DVD if you want to borrow it.

Finally, in all seriousness. Riv's quote made me think of one that I hold dear:

"Men are what their Mother made them." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Birthday little guy! You've already got two great parents so you're ahead of the game already.

Nora said...

Thanks, Ratherto. It's 9.20 right now and I was JUST thinking sheesh, what an emotional day. Then I read your birthday wishes to Junior Junior, and beamed.

Lee Majors. Imagine that.

It's been a great day. The baby was a star, seemed to get today was special. He got so much love from everyone. It was better than all of my birthdays put together. I'm so lucky.

Autumn said...

I love you! I loved you before you made that little munchkin that makes my heart do a little dance all over the place, but you have grown into such an even more selfless, loving, responsible, intelligent and amazing woman than ever and I am so glad to ride this life long roller coaster with you and your not forever little guy. You a good mommy Nors and it sure is fun to watch! xo

Nora said...

Aw! Autumn! Thank you. The pork belly and I love you ever so much. You're the best friend to me and auntie to him and we're so lucky to have you.