Monday, May 16, 2011

Treasuring Everyday Joy & Helping Others

I remember the day my first daughter was born. Unlike many, where the time and day are a mystery, I knew the date and the approximate time of her birth. She had flipped into a breech position with no solid presenting part, making any attempt at a natural labor more risky. And so I showed up to the hospital at the scheduled date and time, not in labor, so that my baby could be born.

It was one of the first great decisions I had to make as a mother: attempt a standard birth and hope she didn't get stuck, or take more risk on myself and go for the c-section. She was a large baby, and a version was likely to be unsuccessful, so I chose to have the c-section. Her safety was more important to me than my own. I realized in that moment that this was only the beginning of what being a mother would be. My life was now partially hers.

In the busy operating room, I only got to see her for a few moments before she was taken to the nursery. I had to wait nearly 3 hours before I could hold her - the first 3 hours we'd ever been apart. That moment when I did get to hold her was both strange and wonderful. This baby in my arms was completely unknown to my touch, and yet I had known her all along. She cried and I quickly found myself gently bouncing her and slightly rocking back and forth, instinct that has been passed down from generations of mothers before me. This was it. I was a mother now.

Six years later, Cordy and I spent the day together, without my husband and without my younger daughter. It's so rare that I get the chance to spend time with just one of my daughters. I let it be her day, and she chose to go to the zoo. We looked at the fish, laughed as the penguins swam in their enclosure, peered carefully at the snakes in the reptile house, and placed our hands up against a gorilla's hand, with only a pane of glass between us. She rambled on about each of the animals, and I listened carefully, amazed by all that she's learned since she was that strange, tiny new human, crying in my arms. I then held her as she rode the carousel, going up and down on the horse as she exclaimed, "This is the best day ever, mommy!" It was one of the best days for me as well.

Becoming a mother has changed the very nature of who I am. I love to see the world through my children's eyes from time to time, reminding myself that it's OK to slow down and take in an experience as if it's brand new. I laugh at the strange logic my daughters use to explain what they don't understand. And at the end of the day, I realize that everything else I do - work, bills, shopping, running errands - is nearly all for them in some way. Let me tell you, even though I hate being away from my girls, work is always easier to do when I remember who I'm providing for.

Johnson & Johnson, the sponsors of this blog tour, also understand how as mothers we can treasure the everyday moments. Right now they have a promotion on the Johnson's Baby Facebook page that supports one of my favorite charities, the March of Dimes. Every "Promise" made on the site (just click the "Like" button on the Joy page) gives $1 towards research into helping every infant have a healthy start to life.

Johnson’s will also host a series of photo contests on its Facebook page beginning in May. Selected monthly winners will receive one of a variety of prizes and be eligible for the $25,000 Grand Prize, to be announced in January 2012.

What are some of the memorable moments you've had with your children recently?

Full disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Johnson’s and received Johnson’s Baby products and a promotional item and to facilitate my review.

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