I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Year of Lasts

It’s Haley’s first birthday next week, and I believe a child’s first birthday is primarily a celebration of the fact that the parents kept said child alive for 365, or in this case, 366 consecutive days.

I’m not embarrassed to admit, I’m pretty proud of this. I’m one of those people who struggles to keep houseplants alive, and my husband and I felt it important to raise and potty train a small four-legged mammal before we attempted a little human. (And if my dog’s behavior is any indication of our abilities, our kid will be peeing on the brand new sectional couch in about a year.)

Although we’ve kept her alive, we’ve fallen short in a number of areas. For instance, I’ve found her crawling around with a dog toy in her mouth on numerous occasions. She thinks the toilet is her own personal pull up bar. She eats macaroni and cheese and/or pancakes daily. Her vitamin drops still have the safety seal on them in the medicine cabinet. Speaking of the cabinets, we still haven’t installed the childproof locks in the kitchen. We didn’t buy her winter mittens until the stores phased into swimsuits. And she’s well on her way to thinking pointing and grunting will get her whatever she wants.

Despite all this, we’ve watched her grow and change and learn about the world. She can hold up one finger when you ask her how old she is. She’s walking all over the house like a champ (and doesn’t need to use the toilet to get on her feet). Her culinary tastes have expanded to include black beans, broccoli and olives (don’t judge me, this was huge.) She sleeps through the night and doesn’t cry when you dunk her during swimming lessons.

As I reflect on this year of firsts, I’m trying not to forget some of the lasts, too. I wish I remembered the last time her head would fit in her little newborn cap. Or the last time I saw her gummy grin before her two teeth poked through. How is it possible that in this year of firsts, we’ve already encountered some lasts?

I haven’t done a lot of fiction writing this past year, but I did journal a baby book for Haley. And looking back, it’s the most precious writing I could have done. It forced me to slow down, ponder each day, and store up the moments of Haley’s first year.

Your turn: Do you journal? What type of journaling do you do? How often do you look back at your journals and reflect on where you've been and how you've grown?


  1. Amy, What an absolute cutie Haley is!

    I loved your transparency--admitting to things like the safety seal on Haley's vitamins. A lot of moms can relate. ;-)

    I'm glad you journaled for Haley. The book will be precious to both of you. And I'm sure you'll find it useful when you do get back to writing more fiction. Later, it's surprising how hard it is to remember the timing of some of those first's when you're trying to write about fictional babies.

  2. Hey Roxanne, thanks!

    Thanks for appreciating my transparency. It's hard to let go and show the world you aren't a perfect mom. I've already enjoyed reading her journal, and the prayers I wrote for her, and I love that it might come in handy in fiction land someday. Thanks for all the encouragment you've given me through our friendship, I love you!

  3. Amy,
    Having raised four children...and lived through it (or should I say my kids lived through it). I can honestly say you are doing a great job, despite some of the things you listed. If you hadn't said some of those things, then I'd say you weren't normal. :-) In the future, your journal entries will show her you were a mother who loved her dearly, and the greatest gift we can give our children is our undying love.

    As for me? I journal about gardening...although I'm now living in the high-desert state of Nevada, it will probably be more of a journal of trails and failures than flowers! LOL

  4. Jennie, LOL! Knowing what I know of your kids and their pursuits, I'd say you were, and are, a stellar mom!

    It's funny how the lists of shortcomings doesn't seem like that big of a deal when you can look back and know you loved your kiddo(s) the very best you could.

    I can't wait to hear more about your garden successes and trials in the state of Nevada!

    Have you ever done vegetable gardening? One of the things we talked about in the Spiritual Parenting class hubby and are are going through at church is starting a veggie garden with your kids, since there are so many incredible stories in the Bible that use gardens and growing to teach us lessons. Like I said, I can't keep anything green alive, so any vegetable garden we did would be less of a lesson in sowing and reaping, and more of a lesson in FAITH! :)

  5. Ames, I can't believe she's going to be a year old already!! I remember when you shared about being pregnant!! You are such a wonderful mother. So what's wrong with her chewing on dog toys--she's learning about sharing. :D

    I've lost my nomination for Mom of the Year so many times. I can look back and laugh at some of those moments. And other moments--my heart aches with regret. But that's in the past. I simply live in the present and continue to be the best mom I can.

    My boys are young men now and I know God has their futures mapped out.

    As for journaling, I do a lot in my scrapbooks, but I also do prayer journaling during my devotional reading. I've slacked on my prayer journaling, so your post is a great reminder to pick it back up.

  6. Hey LJ,

    You're right, I've since filed the "chewing on dog toys" in the "it's not going to kill her" file. :)

    Thanks for sharing, I'll remember your line about losing the
    "nomination for Mom of the Year" forever! I love your reminder to live in the present. Sometimes it's hard when I think about things I could have/should have done differently.

    You are a great mom, your boys will make good choices, and God's got them in his hands.

    I wish I was a scrapbooker. I'm taking her 1st years pictures and putting the highlights into a Shutterfly book I'm making, it's been so much fun to look back on.

    As for prayer journaling, that's a great reminder for me, too, I wish I had some of the good and hard times written down to pull back out when I need them.

    Love ya!

  7. I think you just pulled on the heart-strings of every mother!

  8. How special!! Yes, I journal and have about 20 of them on my bookshelf. I started back in 1989 when we were first married. I showed some of them to my writing students to encourage them to journal.

    I even showed them the entry from August 1989 when I first wrote down the synopsis of my book, The Dragon Forest. They couldn't believe it took me 21 years to see it published!

    My favorite journal is the one when I was pregnant back in 1994-95. I went through a high risk pregnancy and wrote down all the ups and downs, tears and anger I felt during that painful time. Looking back, I can see God's hand throughout. Now I have it to show my son and someday his wife and kids.

    Thanks for this post! Treasure every moment with your little one...