He turned one last Friday and how does the time slip by so quickly?
He has many nicknames around here, but second only to “Rett,” he is affectionately known as “Gar-Bear” at our house. And so it was only fitting that our Baby Bear was celebrated with a little “Bear Party! Teddy Gar-Bear Party!” as his brothers sing-songed all month long in anticipation.
My oven broke right before his party, and so instead of the teddy bear shaped meatloaf and bear paw dinner rolls and other bear-themed stuff I had planned (Pinterest you are not good for me), we opted for Publix Deli fare and bakery cupcakes and it was easy and relaxed and wonderful.
His grandparents and aunts came to celebrate with us and they truly made all of us feel special.
I’ve included a few party and cupcake smashing pics below, but first I want to take a sec and tell you what Rett did for his mama and for his family this past year. As I’ve been thinking about it this week, I realize how epic his birth was for us.
Garrett brought a burst of love to our family and to our marriage that is hard for me to put into words, but it’s real and we’ve all felt it. The Hubs and I were totally in love before he joined our family, but his birth brought it to a whole new level.
Don’t get me wrong, it has been a tough year. The hardest year I’ve ever had. But in spite of that crazy, the love and closeness has been crazier still. I think it has something to do with the more you give and the more you put yourself in the background and live for the good of others the more love is present. That’s getting a bit philosophical and above my pay grade, but it feels like maybe that’s what happened.
Rett helped his older brothers become little men. Big brothers who could run lickety-split to bring a diaper or wipes to mom…boys who could amuse themselves for good periods of unsupervised play while mom nursed or rocked a fussy baby in the nursery…boys barely out of diapers and pacifiers themselves (or not!) who learned to put a baby’s needs before their own…who learned how to love another and include another in a pretty tight family nucleus. It was beautiful to watch.
But I think the biggest work Rett did was helping me come into my own skin as a mother.
With my first two babies, I realize now how concerned I was about doing right by my children according to everyone else’s definition of what “right” looked like. I read all the books, I listened to all the advice. I tried so hard to be a perfect mom for them, according to Dr. Sears and the La Leche League and the doctor who whispers to babies and the doctor who makes you wise about babies, and the happiest baby in the neighborhood and all of his friends.
It took the birth of my third child to realize that I am doing the right thing for them and I am the perfect mom for them.
No mother is more perfectly suited, perfectly equipped, and perfectly able to take care of them and raise them right than me.
I’m finally comfortable in my motherhood. I’m confident in my decisions for my children. I’m convinced that they’ll turn out just fine, even when I fall and fail miserably.
And even if someone looks on with shock or dismay, judgement or indignation, a critical eye or a rude comment…it doesn’t really matter anymore. I know I’m doing the best I can to raise them, and I know that it’s the best they could possibly receive.
Motherhood feels so free. Finally.
And so as I’m celebrating my adorable, smiley, curly head, tubby little chubby this week, I’m also celebrating motherhood and all that it can be when we finally realize this truth:
In God’s eyes and their eyes, we’re the most perfect mothers our children will ever have.
And that’s all that really matters.
Happy Birthday, Little Bear. We sure do love you to pieces.