Baby Steps

“There will come a time you’ll see with no more tears
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears
Get over your hill and see what you find there
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair”

I had a very profound realization the other day. Oddly enough, it was while I was at work, cleaning a table that someone I had just been waiting on had dirtied. For a moment, while my busy hand quickly moved in circles with the wet towel over the flat surface, I was submerged in my thoughts. It was in that moment that, for the first time in longer than I can even remember, I realized that I am happy.

My life is anything but perfect. Yes, my grandfather just passed away and he was the first person I really loved that I have ever lost. Yes, I’m still struggling with the biggest dilemma I will probably ever face in this lifetime. Yes, I am fighting Lyme disease and it can be very debilitating some days. Yes, I sometimes really need to scrape by to make ends meet. But despite all of those things, I have so much more to be content with. I have so much more to be thankful for. In fact, I am an extremely lucky person –I’m very fortunate and I am surrounded by richness every day. With the help of my hardships and my blessings alike, I have grown immensely in just the past year.

My baby girl is turning one in less than three days. I’m filled with so many thoughts and feelings when I think about this. I had never known what it was like to cry tears of joy until I watched her sleeping next to me on her first night of life. I remember that first day so clearly, I can barely comprehend how it was already one year ago. I have learned so many things in that time.

As her mother, I have taught Astrid many things so far and I will continue to do so throughout our lives together. Yet, sometimes I think maybe she has taught me even more. My amount of patience has multiplied, as has my capacity for compassion and understanding. I am more easily able to express my love for those I care about. I also have a better understanding of children just in general and it is easier to interact with them than it had been in the past. Plus, before I even had her, I learned a sense of humility and modesty about my physical self that I had never known before. When you have a bunch of people poking and prodding your private parts and asking you all kinds of personal questions about your body, not to mention the hours of labor being pretty much completely exposed, that comes rather easily.

I think the most beautiful change in myself that I have noticed, thanks to Astrid, is the reawakening of the child in me. To be able to laugh and play so freely again has revitalized me and helped to restore my sense of self. Perhaps it had come to a point where I was taking life too literally and seriously. To raise a child is, in a sense, to live childhood once again, and that is something I always sort of wanted. Her laugh is the most amazing sound I have ever heard. I never thought anything so simple could fill me with so much satisfaction. At times, when she gazes out at what surrounds her, I get so absorbed in the wonder I see in her eyes. To view the world in such a way is the ultimate joy of life and that is one of the many gifts my daughter has given to me.

I never thought that I would ever say this again, but this past year has, by far, been the best year of my life.

Tomorrow, I have a very important meeting with an old friend. I think this get-together just may hold the knowledge I must possess to finally set me completely free. I’m feeling a considerable bit of apprehension, but all the while, I am at peace in my heart.

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