Some moms make mommying appear to be natural, effortless, and easy. You know those moms who leave the house with the diaper bag completely intact for every possible baby disaster, including diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes, who don't consider it mandatory to lose keys/checkcard/cell phone or some other vital in an outing, who are dressed in clothes that they fit in before they were pregnant and have matching jewelry on, who not only keep up with the baby book, but have current pictures in picture frames, and a scrapbook of ridiculously cute everything-their-baby-has-ever-done memories.
I am in a different group of moms. I am the mom who asks the above-mentioned-mom for wipes in the parking lot of a restaurant because I don't include them in the bag (the DIAPER bag-whose very name is dedicated to the whole diapering scenario). I am the mom who comes back in to ask the cashier if I happened to leave my keys/checkcard/phone/etc./etc. in the store. I am the mom who has frequently carried my child pantsless in church, Lowes, Walmart, and Chilis. (He left the house with pants, I promise!) I am the mom who just wore my first pair of earrings in two years. I am the mom who is proud to have pictures up in my house at all, intends to frame more current pictures, actually bought scrapbooking stickers and pages about two years ago, and can't commit to the baby book firsts.
I always heard moms talk about their babies' first words, or first steps, and I saw a seemingly unthreatening list of firsts in my own baby book. I was excited about that list to mark all of Ryder's milestones with proud dates and stories and looking at Cody and saying, "Oh, look, it was his first smile."
However, the first smile came and went, and I didn't identify it, much less get pictures of it. Of course I saw him smiling, but I never knew if it were intention or intestinal, and surely only actual meaningful smiles were to be recorded in the baby book, so the smiles started being more consistent and they turned into laughs, and it was so gradual that I never could pinpoint a first. His first babble was dada, but did he mean Cody? So, yes, in Ryder's baby book by the simple entry "First word," there is this explanation about his first babble being daddy, but his first word that I knew that he KNEW what he meant was "gogga" (which meant dog), and I finally knew that he was meaning dog when he connected "gogga" to patting his leg, which is sign language for dog. And then I don't know when he started walking. He was taking steps, and then he was taking a few more steps, but how many steps does a baby need to take to actually be "walking." However, I was very thankful for the few listings such as "first hair cut" that were completely objective and identifiable, but it seems there were far too few of these kind of firsts. So, needless to say, instead of exact dates, Ryder's baby book list of firsts is full of approximations and abouts.
However, as I watched Rudolph with Ryder last night for the FIRST time (identifiable) and played in the snow with him for the FIRST time (identifiable), I realized there were some firsts I didn't want Ryder to have. Rather than FIRSTS, I want him to have ALWAYS. I don't remember the first time I heard the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den from our Bible story book (with pictures!), I feel like it is a story that I have always known. I don't remember the first time I sat in Daddy's lap and ate Rice Krispies with him, but I remember it as part of my childhood. I don't remember the first time I rode a horse, but I remember always loving them. I don't remember the first (and last) time I painted my walls with ketchup, but MY momma sure does.
I realize that I'm not waiting for Ryder's firsts, but rather we're busy building Ryder's always. As he grows up, he won't remember the Christmas he was two, with the ornaments all at the top of the Christmas tree, and Aprilia, Ryder, and I all snuggled on one side of the couch, as he watched Rudolph for the first time; it will just seem to him as if he always knew the story of Rudolph. He won't remember learning "Trust and Obey" because he will have been singing it all his life. He won't remember his first letter to identify and write was W, but his Momma sure will. He won't know that I expected him to "no like snow," and was surprised to see him running through it with Aprilia, just happy to be outside; he will only be excited at the fun and wonder of a snowfall. I am so thankful for the Always that I had from my childhood, and so grateful for the opportunity to create those Always with Ryder.
Ryder's baby book may include stories of the nice lady who lent us some wipes in times of desperation rather than an exact and concise record of those milestones, but I am so grateful for my first of being a Mommy, and my Always of loving such a wonderful, precious, beautiful little boy.