A Year of Growth

photo (7) I'm sure you've noticed it's been quiet here the past week. As someone who calls herself a writer, it's been somewhat concerning why I haven't felt the desire to write. I'm still sorting through it, but I think it has something to do with the fact that we recently celebrated a year of life and I was stopped dead in my tracks by how much we've all changed.

I wanted to take a step back and think really hard about the past year. Did I make the most of it? Did it feel like a year, or did it go too fast? Did I miss out on anything? I am glad I have documented so many memories here, because I've been able to fill in the blanks on her baby book by going back through our posts. But, my priority is to be present when I'm with my family. Looking back I know there were times that I was simultaneously writing a blog post in my head while Rooney did something cute that I wanted to write about. It's honestly kind of crazy how much time I spent documenting memories, and I just want to make sure it's the best use of my time.

That said, I had a blast putting this post together. These are all the family photos I could find from the past year. I was amazed that there are 12 photos total - almost one from each month. I didn't remember that we took a lot of these.

family1 family2 family3 family4

Rooney has obviously changed a lot. Her hair has grown, she gained 15 pounds and she can almost walk.

Although it may not be as obvious from the photos, I think I have grown more than anyone else in our family.

Maybe not on the outside (although my hair is much longer, which I am stoked about), but on the inside, yes. Each day has been a new lesson in shedding selfishness, experimenting and learning, flexibility, striving toward excellence instead of perfection, sticking together, taking risks, forgiveness, aligning priorities and being honest with each other.

For some people, I think parenting comes easy. We do not count ourselves as part of that camp. We had a tough year and we are certainly thankful that we have a Perfect Parent to rely on when we fail.

People have asked me if I cried at her birthday party. I didn't. I think the strongest emotion I felt was relief. Happiness, but also relief. Relief that we survived the first year. Relief that she was only sick a few times, and it wasn't anything more serious than a fever. Relief that we didn't get pregnant again before she was 1 (whew!).

That was the emotion I felt after her delivery, too. Relief.

I wonder if that's healthy? Or common? Will I go through the rest of this life holding my breath and then feel relief when we reach a certain point? I think if we get her married before she gets pregnant, I will certainly feel a sigh of relief. Though it wouldn't be the end of the world if it didn't happen that way, it's what we wish for her. These are things we talk about.

We've done a lot of reflecting on what life was like a little more than one year ago - our last days as a family of two and our first days as a family of three. We've come a long way, but we know we both still have a lot of growth ahead. In the next year, that little mouth will be full of teeth. She'll be walking, running, talking, and feeding herself things like carrots and cookies.

As for me, my hair will (hopefully) be even longer, and my heart a little bigger.

P.S. Do you see the way she is hugging me in that 12-month photo? Best feeling in the world.