Today, my daughter is six months old. This seems incredible to me, life-altering and commonplace all at the same time. I look at her and can see glimmers of the little person she is becoming, my little baby slowly evolving to my little girl, and it’s wonderful and terrifying all at once.
The first few months were crazy chaos, not unlike being thrown into the deep end of the swimming pool and being forced to swim with no knowledge of swimming other than YouTube videos and books and forums and the advice of others on how to swim. “You move your arms like this and your legs like that, and you create a sort of buoyancy, see with your body, and it’s all really natural and really easy and honestly— anyone can do it. It’s instinctual. You’ll figure it out.” You become a mother in stages: I remember how my life changed instantly in the moment I saw those two pink lines, my joy followed by the complete and utter revision of life as I knew it. Everything, from how I ate to how I felt was amended for the health of the baby. No caffeine, no artificial sweeteners. Organic. The best vitamins, the best everything. Don’t get too stressed, the baby may feel it. My entire worldview was altered, and from that moment I was “mother” and yet so little trulychanged. In my heart I was mother to the child that would be, but I had no concept of knowing what mothering would be, what it would look like when I wore its delicate crown.
Right before Emmaline was born, I remember trying to squeeze in as much “us”time as possible. For 9 months all of our conversations had been around her– how we would be for her, as parents. What we would and wouldn’t do. But at the very end, the final chapter of my pregnancy, I wanted to slow down all the sudden. I wanted to go back to 11 months before and relive those moments just a little bit, to experience my life as not a million pound pregnant woman in the summer heat. I wanted to feel sexy and beautiful and my husbands wife. It’s not that I didn’t want to not be where I was, I just wanted a quick rewind, a chance to remember and relish and recall– because prior to being pregnant all our energy had been all about getting pregnant, and it was hard and we were sad a lot, and we felt like everything was futile. But then it all changed, and we were pregnant and spent months rehearsing parenthood and on the Eve of just that– of it all being real, I wanted to step back and just be husband and wife, a thing we would not “just” be again.
Now, we are his and her, and baby too— husband and wife and child; family. And these six months– my, how they have flown. How we have grown together in our new roles as parents. And how it has changed us in so many ways, changed us to know a different kind of happy, a clarified definition of tired, a strange new articulation of ourselves. It’s beautiful and wonderful and yet still alien at times.
So, on my daughters 6 month half birthday I realize that the chaos has died down a bit and we’ve really settled into our new normal. My house is starting to be cleaned on a regular basis, and I’m not zombie tired all the time. I’ve figured out how to get stuff done (like blogging again!) and how to wear the mantle of mother, but also as wife and lady who works and person who needs a few minutes to herself every day.
I have no idea what the next six months will bring, but I do know this: today, my daughter is six months old, and she has made my life different abs wonderful, and I can’t wait for tomorrow and the day after, but would be just as happy for it to slow down and crystallize this moment, this day, this hour— so I can savor and reflect and relish all that it means to be a mom to a six month old.
Here’s a peek of her getting her 6 month photos done today, where she sat up totally unassisted for the first time.