MOTHERHOOD MILESTONES: ONE YEAR

“Hold her a little longer, rock her a little more, read her one more story, you’ve only read her four. Let her sleep on your shoulder, rejoice in her happy smile. She is only a little girl for such a little while.” – The Paper Heart Family 
SO. MANY. FEELS.
Our baby girl turns ONE this week and I’m a mix of excited and emotional.  I’ve been busy planning her party and making sure it’s extra special, but at the same time, I’m wondering where in the heck did the time go?! 
This past year has been hard.  But it’s also brought more joy and love that we even knew existed.  We’ve grown so much and learned so much and are better because of our sweet girl who teaches us about life every single day.  
As I reflect back on these past 12 months, there are so many things I want to share.  But gosh, where to begin.  I’ve learned so much this year.  I’ve learned that my body is insanely strong and and resilient and that sleep deprivation sucks, but it only lasts a little while. I’ve learned to lower my expectations – basically about everything.  It’s very hard for this controlling, perfectionist to sometimes let things go.  If the dishes don’t get washed, fine.  If the laundry never gets folded, fine.  If I only shower once a week, fine.  If there is dog hair everywhere, fine.  None of these things matter, but what does matter is that I have a healthy, safe and happy baby.  
I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to be present and appreciate the season. Lilly always seems to remind me that sometimes I’m glued to my screen way too much.  Because of this, I’ve learned to put down my phone and really enjoy the moments I have with L.  And if I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that time goes SO FAST.  So be present and enjoy every second with your loved ones.
I was an anxious, over thinker before having a baby, but now my fears are tenfold.  Motherhood comes with a whole slew of fears that I never even knew existed.  In the beginning my fears were all about SIDS, making sure she was getting enough breast milk, and how she would adapt once I went back to work.  I worried about her development (physically and mentally) and worried that she was where she needed to be.  I worried about transitioning her from nursing to bottles and how she would do with formula (that is a whole other post).  
My fears continue to change, but they are always there.  I worry about her sleep and if she’s getting enough.  I worry about the new foods we are introducing to her and how she will react to them.  I worry about her falling and hurting herself now that she’s on the go.  I worry that she will eat something she shouldn’t.  I worry that we are giving her enough new experiences and exposing her to enough new people. I worry that we will forget to teach her important life lessons and that she won’t be prepared for the real world.  I truly worry about it all.
Through all of these worries, I pray and hope that we will raise her to be a kind, caring, confident, and accepting person.  
I would say the greatest triumph this year has been my ability to better adapt to change.  Before L, I hated changed.  I would drag my feet and worry until I was blue in the face to avoid change.  Becoming a parent makes you have to embrace it – it’ll sure be a long and bumpy road if you don’t.  L has definitely taught me time and again that she is always ready for growth and becoming more independent far sooner than I am.  If I don’t adapt to her changing, then I’m going to miss out on a whole lot.  
If you’ve made it this far, you are a gem.  This has been a post full of emotions and I cried more than once writing this.  Motherhood is messy, chaotic, and challenging, but it’s so much more than that too.  It’s beautiful, rewarding and full of so much love.  
L has completely changed our lives and we can’t imagine things any other way.  We absolutely adore our sweet, giggly, independent, loud, assertive, smart, and beautiful girl.  She sure makes life a whole lot brighter.  
So cheers to my sweet girl and her FIRST BIRTHDAY!! 
Sláinte,
Shannon 
p.s.  L’s outfit details are linked below.

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