Yesterday, I celebrated my son’s 4th birthday.  I always get a little nostalgic on my kid’s birthday as I am sure many moms do.  Caleb is my first born so everything I know with him is my first as a mom.  We struggled for years to to get pregnant and were so thankful to bring him into this world.  I think of how dramatically my life has changed since March 12th, 2013.   Though Caleb, has taught me more lessons than I can probably remember in his short life, below are 5 that really stick out to me.

  1. Unconditional Love-Everyone says you will experience unconditional love when you have a child and I have definitely found that to be true.  Parenting is friggin hard.  Hard but wonderful.  Caleb can push my buttons and make me crazy but 30 seconds later he can be the sweetest boy.  I am definitely in what seems to be a ‘hot and cold’ stage as he can literally go from not listening to me, throwing fits to sitting in my lap telling me he loves me.  No matter how much he challenges me, my love is completely unconditional and like a love I have never known before.
  2.  A new sense of gratitude.  This one is simple.  I am thankful EVERY.SINGLE.DAY that both my children are healthy and thriving.  No matter what kind of behavior issues we have had, battles etc. I am so deeply grateful they are healthy.

3. That I will always question myself as a parent.  I constantly question myself, look to others for advice, worry if I am doing the right thing, wondering if I am allowing for bad habits, am I too lenient, too strict?  Again, parenting is friggin hard.  But just because I am constantly questioning myself, does not mean I lack confidence in my parenting.   I know I am doing the best that I know how. Questioning myself means  I care deeply about this job and I am  scared of screwing up.  I am trying my best, just as most of us are as parents and I think the fact that we do question ourselves just shows that we care about this job like no other.

4. Patience.  This has never been my strong suit and I still work on this pretty constantly, especially with two fairly independent kids.  I want to go, go, go all the time.  I constantly want to be getting things done, marking off my to-do list.  Yesterday, we rode our bikes to the doughnut shop for C’s birthday treat.  The 1.25 mile trip each way took us about 45 minutes.  My son rode both ways the whole way and I was beaming with pride but OMG riding that slow on a bike for me was a little painful.  I had to constantly remind myself to slow down and let him do it even if it took that long.    He also wants to do a lot of things by himself and though it would obviously take much less time for me to do it, what would be the lesson or the point?  I have learned not to always rush him and therefore myself.

5. To love myself more.  This one is hard to put into words but I know I love myself more since Caleb came into this world.  I have blogged quite a bit about having kids as my catalyst for letting ago of many of my food issues but overall, I am not nearly as critical of my body or my abilities. Not that I ever feel I had major self-esteem issues but I think many of us go through times of questioning our self-worth and value.  I grew and birthed a pretty awesome little boy who I know thinks I am pretty great.  It just took me bringing him into this world to think the same thing.

Thank you Caleb, for these lessons and many more to come.

Happy 4th Birthday C, forever my baby you will be.