Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving Thanks

I remember the day before Thanksgiving last year, vividly. It was snowing; the very first snow of the year. I got up early to go get bagels before we got on the road to spend the holiday with my family in Pittsburgh. I was eight weeks pregnant and we hadn't told a single person. Not my parents, not my sisters, not my in-laws, not our friends. No one.

I drove through the quiet, snowy street of my neighborhood feeling a heady combination of emotions. Excited that we were going to have a baby. Worry that something would go wrong or had already gone wrong and maybe we weren't. Wonder at the surprise of it all.

It's terribly cliche of me to say, but I can hardly believe that it has been a year.

Having a baby - becoming a mom - has been nothing at all like I thought it was going to be. And yet, almost five months removed from those first turbulent, emotional, terror and tear-filled weeks, I think that maybe, just maybe, I am starting to feel steady and solid again.

At first I wanted to write that I am feeling like myself again, but that's not quite right. Because I am not the same person I used to be; I won't ever be that person again. Becoming a mom changed me in ways that I am just beginning to understand and appreciate. But I think that the most important parts of me are still in there, intertwined with the parts of me that are now charged with keeping another human being that I created happy and healthy and safe. And he is.

Life. It is complex and tricky and things don't always go the way we want them to or the way that we planned. I think that what I have learned most of all over the past five months is to be gentle with myself, and to embrace the not-knowing and just forge on ahead because motherhood is the steepest learning curve there is. I have made mistakes, both big and small, and I will undoubtedly make more.

But every night when I put my thriving, happy baby to sleep and sit on the couch with my man and a glass of wine, enveloped in the quiet of my house after a day filled with noise, I realize that I am doing as good a job as I know how to do, and really, that's the most that any of us can ask of ourselves. And I understand now more than ever that I have a life that's good. A life that is happy and rich and layered with beauty. And all of this? It's kind of miraculous.

So on this Thanksgiving-eve, as the sun starts to set over my little slice of the world and as I get ready to head for home, I am feeling a heaping dose of gratitude for the path I find myself on, for the people who walk it with me, and for this life. Exactly the way it is supposed to be.

And I am thankful.

For a growing family.

And my own little one.

For this smiley little boy. The one who was meant to be mine.

For sisters.

And for the kiddos who come from them.

For best friends.

For home.

For this life. Mine.

Happy Thanksgiving.