It came and went. Owen turned one last weekend. It's amazing. How fast time flies. He's walking. All. Over. The. House. Nearly running sometimes. He's got four teeth on top and two below. He says "dad" and sometimes will say "mama" but can even mutter some sounds that actually sound like words. To me, anyway. He's so much fun. He has given me my smile back. I love on him like I never did the others. And I'm very affectionate with my kids. They all were snugglers. I carried them all around on my hip everywhere. He goes wherever I go. Although he really loves his daddy and Dad is pretty good at taking him wherever, too, since we weren't nursing anymore. Oh, and he's on whole milk now. He's eating table food. His first walking shoes are definitely worn in--and smell like baby feet. I LOVE that. I trim his hair so often that he'll find a pair of scissors and hold them up to his head, cuz that's what they're used for! He loves to make his siblings laugh. And when he does, he puts on a show. He loves it when they chase him. He watches everything they do. And he wants in the middle of it all. Which brings me to...he puts everything in his mouth. He has had more wallflowers in his mouth than I can count. And I don't think they taste very good. But he goes to them whenever he sees one. Even if it is for the 100th time. He likes to sing. The kids have a few "na-na-na" songs that he joins right in on. And then they laugh. He loves it! He's starting to catch a groove, and this is the house for that. I'm sure Reese will be teaching him a few moves soon. He likes books. Loves his family board book with Mom, Dad and siblings to see. He knows what "No" means. And he knows how to see what comes after that. In fact, usually wants to see what comes after it. He will keep doing the act until his arm is pink from scolding--doesn't hurt. But when his feelings get hurt, he'll stop whatever he is doing and hang his head and cry. Something he'll grow out of. One day. He has million dollar facial expressions. We solicit them whenever we can and he delivers. One of our favorite things to do with him.
And he reminds us. He reminds us every day of the storm that came before him. And this makes all the colors in his rainbow even brighter. My love even stronger.
I look back over the past year and take a deep breath. Almost a sigh of relief. Like....we made it. Though I still check that he is breathing every time he takes a nap or falls asleep, it's in the normal way now--as any mom checks her child . No longer do I expect that he will die at any moment. No longer do I fear that he, too, will leave us too soon. I look at the early months and hardly remember them at all. I don't remember him looking like the pictures. I remember the fear, the struggles with breastfeeding (the torture), the anxiety. I blamed myself for every noncompliant behavior he exhibited. All the other kids slept through the night by three months, breastfed to nearly a year, gained weight appropriately. All this I attributed to my anxiety, my nervousness, my fears. I loved him more than I ever thought I could. I healed with him, as much as I could anyway. I found comfort in talking about Chase with him, whispering in his ear how much I missed his brother.
I used to believe that he wouldn't have been here if it weren't for Chase .... mostly because we never would have tried to have another baby if we had not lost Chase. But I don't know now. I would love so so so much to have Chase here with me and Owen during the day, playing, following their brother and sister from school to practices to events to games. I'm not so sure I wouldn't have eventually wanted one more..... but who knows. I know I'm not the same mom I used to be. Or the same mom I would have been to Chase. He would have gotten the "old me". Sometimes I'm sorry that Owen got the "new me". She's not as much fun, nor as laid back....and she's OLDER! lol! But I'm doing the best I can. And Owen loves me no matter what. He hugs me and I even got my first kisses (finally!) yesterday. I LOVE open mouth baby kisses. Mmmmm. So sweet.
And it's not like this is all that is going on in my (our) lives right now. The other three kids (mostly the girls) have real life going on. Issues going on in their lives that I am sometimes struggling to parent. Wondering if I'm doing a good job or the right thing or if I even know what the hell I'm doing at all! That's for another post, though. But in the midst of all our fury and craziness, we wished Owen a happy 1 year birthday Saturday. And it was a most blessed event. I love you sweet boy. I just wish your big brother could have been here to help us celebrate.