Saturday, May 14, 2011

Noah's First Birthday

Traveling is tiring! And what is with this hat??

A year ago today, Noah arrived in the world.

I remember reading a long time ago that people don't undergo an automatic transformation during the trial of dying. Most people encounter the enormity of death as they've encountered life. That stuck with me, and I think it applies to parenthood, also. On the one hand, Noah's arrival was immediately life-altering. On the other, we remained very much the same-- no special wisdom, I didn't immediately become less selfish, I kept many of the same dreams and hopes. I remember being surprised that, a few hours after Noah was born-- a totally new life, remember-- it seemed ok that Eug watched the Celtics playoffs in our dimmed hospital room. And yes, the three of us squeezed on the bed and watched that episode of Lost that was late to post on Hulu. After 9 months without caffeine, I had a diet coke 30 minutes after Noah was born.

I'm not saying that his birth didn't change us in a deep and fundamental way. Just the opposite. But the small events-- the choices of what to have for breakfast and why, where to live, how to spend my time today (whether or not to watch Lost again from episode 1, season 1)-- play a huge role in defining how I learn to parent. And parenting seems to be the sum of a lot of moment-by-moment decisions. Will I give Noah a kiss right now? Will I let him put his little finger in the electrical socket? How will I try to communicate with him during bathtime? Will I get stressed about the amount of banana he seems to be eating? Is it ok that he just peed on the floor?
I've never looked better...
And over the course of the year, these small moments added up. Even as I continue to dream big, my career goals are much less ambition-driven. Marriage is still a huge part of my life, but in a different-- gentler, more giving, less everything-needs-to-be-perfect-right-this-moment-- way. Growing into a person of grace looms large. Dealing with my issues seems more important, as I see myself through the eyes of a son (who will inevitably inherit some of my issues).

Noah's started to try to communicate (he points and squeaks a LOT, and knows when we're making fun of him), and with this change I've started to feel more deeply the responsibility to pray for his future, and what he'll become. I'm not praying for him to be a particular thing, or have a particularly problem-free life, but for him to be able to experience deep-down contentment and joy. Which, for right now, he seems to have grasped as well as any of us.


mybestpants said...

Beautifully captured, Jo. Happy Birthday, Noah - you're in for a wonderful life, in very able hands.


leah said...

I really liked this post, Jo.

i also relished a diet coke and tuna melt after Harvey was born. This week i had my first frappacinno after Zion's birth, although i'm embarrassed to say I couldn't handle making two stops carrying a carseat, so I just bought a bottled frapaccino at CVS where i was buying diaper rash cream. Not as fulfilling as an icy cold blended beverage, but still very much non-pregnant fun.

Concrete Gardener said...

Blogger had a problem the past 24 hours, and deleted your precious comments. Thanks for them, and sorry that I can't get them back! Maybe they'll be restored by blogger in time...