We’re in the midst of “birthday season.” Last year, several friends and I all welcomed our babies into the world within a few months of each other. We didn’t plan it that way, but around this time in 2012, it seemed like someone was always on her way to the hospital for the big event.
Two weeks ago, my college roommate and closest friend celebrated her daughter’s first birthday. Last week, my husband’s buddy and his wife, who we became friends with while working in Texas nearly 10 years ago, officially became the parents of a 1-year-old. Today, my baby girl and I are headed to a first birthday party for the daughter of another friend and colleague. Reese has never attended a birthday party and — let me tell you — she’s excited. She “helped” me pick out a gift for the birthday girl, but as soon as we got home I stashed it in a closet, lest she think it was hers to play with. I had a tough enough time coaxing it away from her in the store.
In two months, it will be my family’s turn to host a party for Reese’s big day. Before then, though, we’ll help two more friends mark their children’s special occasions. And soon after Reese’s birthday, another of my husband’s buddies will celebrate the big 0-1 with his son.
While wrapped up in this whirlwind of gift-buying, card-signing and, of course, birthday cake, it struck me that the first year of a baby’s life flies by in absolutely no time at all. It seems like my friends and I were all decorating nurseries and enjoying our baby showers yesterday. How is it that we have — or are about to have — toddlers under our roofs?
It’s a little ironic, really. Parents spend the first couple of weeks thinking, “I can’t wait until the baby gets a little older so she’ll start sleeping through the night. Things will get easier then.” Then, as the first birthday approaches, parents start thinking, “I miss the days when the baby was so tiny I could practically pick her up with one hand.”
Also, it never gets easier. Sure, the baby starts sleeping through the night, but as she ages, new challenges arise. Now that Reese can crawl and pull herself up using every available shelf, chair and table in our house, my husband and I spend most of our time keeping her away from electric cords, the dog and pieces of furniture that she might pull over on herself. It’s almost as exhausting as sitting up with a newborn half the night. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world, and neither would any of my friends who are in the same boat.
So, to all the parents whose little bundles of joy have hit or are approaching the one-year mark, let’s be sure to savor this time while we can — even the close calls with furniture-tipping and dog-terrorizing. Hey, at least we’re a little more well-rested — hypothetically, anyway — for the next leg of the adventure, right?