November 27, 2011

One Up

This week my kid turned one.


He's still a baby. He looks like a baby (no teeth and not much hair) and has little interest in walking thanks to an expert crawl, so I think that firmly keeps him in the baby and not toddler category. Still he is now a tiny person with likes and thoughts and belly laughs all his own.

I'm not exactly sure why this milestone seems to have snuck up on me. I've had lots of time to prepare, but somehow way back when I was enormously pregnant...


...when he was born (nearly a month early) on Thanksgiving night...
 

...when I measured his age in weeks...


...then in months...


...it seemed like I still had plenty of time. Time to enjoy his "baby-ness" and also to figure out what I was doing with my own life. To decide when or how or if I was "going back to work". Even when he hit the nine month mark and all the books and sizes clearly listed 9-12 months as the range...


...I just didn't see this "one year" thing coming. I managed to be indignant when people would ask when I was going back to work.... I JUST had this baby after all!

But the truth is that this birthday marks a laundry list of spectacular achievements for my son and also a kind of achievement or life decision (even if it's by default through lack of decision) for me.

Until now I had a career that I love(d), that was important to my identity. My husband and many of my friends are in the same field and so it's really a lifestyle and not just a job. I expected that like many of my piers, I would want to go back to work at an office somewhere between 3 and 6 months. But when the time came it just felt all wrong for me. I didn't feel any of the cabin fever that I've heard described and, while I missed a million and one things about work, there were a million and two things I loved about staying home (the first million being my awesome kid).

So I stayed. When I was asked (and I'm always asked) I would say 6 months, then I was going to enjoy the summer before returning in the fall... and now people are slowly starting to ask less. I am continuing to work on small projects and to teach, so I am not totally out of the game, but in terms of picking up where I left of at an office, it no longer seems possible. Somewhere as the months ticked by and the seasons passed, my primary identity changed from a career driven woman to a stay-at-home-mama. Am I okay with that? Honestly it changes daily and I know I will continue to find the right balance, but today I think I just might be. And I'm even starting to think that I'm kind of good at this gig.


And despite my lack of love for all things technological (isn't this facebook thing ever going to blow over?!) and my paperweight of a computer, I am trying out a blog. I never kept a baby book and it's a total bummer that I don't remember exactly when Little Smith learned to roll or crawl or say "the cat" (sounding more like "te ka"). If nothing else it can serve as a reference and a bit of a diary. I have no idea what this next year will hold. I've never been less certain about the future but also never more aware that my current path may be is the right one. It's an adventure.

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