This week we finally took our Christmas tree down, an end-of-January tradition in our lazy, always-in-denial-that-the-holidays-are-over home.
It makes me sad every year, mostly because the end of the holidays means the end of winter, the start of spring, and eventually the hot, hot heat of an Arizona summer, but this year it also felt like the end of a very unexpectedly hard chapter in our family’s life.
I took down our animal ornaments and remembered when I took each one out of its box, which feels like it was both forever ago and just the other day, showing them to Winifred while trying to distract her from the annoyance of having two tiny teeth that would not just pop through already.
“This is a zebra! He is like a horse but with fun stripes! We are having fun!”
I talked to her like she understood everything I said, the way you have to when you are all alone with an infant all day and need to distract yourself from the loneliness and panic of having no idea what you are doing.
“Look at this beautiful giraffe. Mama doesn’t know what noise she makes, but she likes to eat and eat and eat, just like us!”
That tree has been up for more than half her life, and she probably doesn’t remember a time when it wasn’t there in the corner of our living room. She learned to play by herself underneath its branches while I sat on the couch and cried about almost everything, and together we stayed up late learning to breastfeed in its dim light.
I packed the last of the ornaments away while she sat in her swing, throwing her teething ring onto the floor and chewing on her fat fingers--no matter what toys I lovingly shove in her face, her hands seem to be the only things worth her time. It was only last Christmas I found out I was finally pregnant, and now she is getting so tall that her feet are almost spilling out of her swing like a bored, powerful king.
Babies are a lot of work (you heard it here first, people!), but the hard parts are what make us love them, and what make the good parts so much freaking fun.
Libbie Henrie is a new mother and really smart gal. You should believe everything she writes, especially the super sarcastic parts. She lives in Arizona with her husband and newborn baby. You can read more of her musings on her blog and follow her baby wearing adventures on Instagram @sweetcheeksbabywearing