Max Turns ONE (July)
In my dreams, Max would have had a little first birthday party, complete with a BBQ and maybe even swimming with friends. After we moved far away from Phoenix and far away from our friends, I realized that wasn't going to happen. Which was honestly really sad for me.
I'm not one for throwing parties. And I definitely think birthday parties for kids (especially babies!) are WAY overdone and absolutely ridiculous. But I wanted something. To be honest, my motive was completely selfish: I wanted to celebrate US! We survived a year of parenting! A terrifying, emotional, overwhelming, exhausting, and wonderful beyond anything I could expect year. I wanted to celebrate how far we'd come, how much we had changed, how much we had grown. We have learned so much in a year, much more than I ever could have imagined.
Instead, we were in Utah, far away from Craig and from our friends. Even my dad went out of town on Max's birthday, so it was just me, my mom, and Max. But we tried to make the day as special as possible for the three of us. While my mom worked at the temple in the morning, Max and I went to the pool. After a long afternoon nap, we took Max to Ready Set Play, which is literally a big indoor playground -- perfect for the St. George heat! He LOVED running around that place. It was almost completely empty too, which was a bonus for us.
That night we picked up Chick-fil-A for dinner and treated Max to his very own birthday cupcake. My mom ordered one plain from Sweet Tooth Fairy and made her own almond milk frosting on top since we're still dealing with that pesky dairy allergy. Max was getting so worn out by our day that he was uninterested in his dinner (except for the apple juice) and kept rubbing his eyes, but when we brought out the cupcake, he DESTROYED it. It was hilarious. I didn't know what to expect since I know some babies are not interested in cake smashes, but Max went to town... and ate the whole thing.
The days surrounding Max's birthday were filled with memories and emotions. I cannot believe how much has changed. I remember my last few weeks of pregnancy wondering if I had made a mistake. Wishing I could take it back. I was so terrified of having my baby and being responsible for him. I was so sick of being pregnant yet so paralyzed by the future that I wanted my old life back. Oh how I wish I could have understood then what I understand now.
Motherhood is certainly more than just bearing children. It is incredible how much it changes you - your body (obviously), your heart, your desires, your mind, your spirit. Your world is different. Your perspective is different. And it's something that you can't ever understand or realize that you're missing until you become a mother yourself.
I think what I love most about it is how much and how quickly my relationship with God has grown. I thought I had a pretty good relationship with God before I had a baby, but it's amazing to look back and see how much clearer I see things now. I understand Him so much better, as a loving parent who wants what is best for us, and I understand the intention behind the plan of happiness like I never have before. It is so empowering to me to understand what women are capable of and what incredible things God has destined for us. I know with even more conviction that families are of God, and that this is exactly what God wants for us!
Above all, I've come to realize what a miracle motherhood really is. If you stop to think of the miracle it is that humans are sent to this earth entirely dependent on their mothers (who don’t have a clue what we're doing), you realize that the most beautiful thing about being a mother is the partnership formed with our Heavenly Father and our Savior. That not only are our children growing exponentially every day, but that we, too, are learning and growing in ways we didn’t think possible. God really knew what he was doing when he sent us to earth in families.
Happy birthday, Baby Max!
Max at O N E Y E A R: has just two bottom teeth. Says uh-oh, buh-bye, and all done. Signs for more, all done, and milk. Asks for "more" (food) all. day. long. Drinks a bottle of almond milk every morning and night. Walks and crawls about an equal amount, but can't stand up on his own yet. Babbles in gibberish. Has had 3 haircuts. Has so much energy and excitement for life. Called King Max (king of the wild things), Maximus, or Maximilian. We love him, we love him.