I realized that I've been whining so much lately on this blog that it looks like I've lost all sight of the positive parts of being a parent. I'd hate for that to be the case because, truthfully, I'm pretty happy with my lot in life at this point (well, except for the maybe-possibly-infertile thing). M is, for the most part, a joy to be around. Right now, she's at this amazing, in-between stage. She swings back and forth between being a little girl and being a baby so quickly and easily that it seems like I'm getting the best of both worlds.
On the one hand, there's my little girl. She speaks in full sentences, runs everywhere she can, then tries to climb anything she gets her hands on. She's memorized enough of her books that she can "read" them to herself, and her repertoire of songs keeps increasing. One of her favorite games is the "mama kiss" game, where I ask if she wants specific body parks kissed (toes, knees, tummy, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers), and she'll obligingly present that part for kissing. She never fails to remind me if I forget both sides: "anona ehbow, mama!" She demands tickles several times a day, and her gurgling laugh when I oblige is auditory heaven. She firmly believes that if Mommy or Daddy kisses an injured body part, then it really is all better. She lifts her sippy cup and says "cheers, baby!" She's loving and sweet and so very curious about the world around her and funny as all get out.
And then, quick as that, she's a baby. She still gets nursed/rocked/cuddled to sleep for naps and at night. When she sleeps, her face falls into the familiar lines of the infant she used to be. She's often snuggly, content to rest her head on my shoulder for a while and let me get my cuddle fix. She still, mystifyingly, seems to prefer Me and The Boy to anybody else, and the enthusiasm on her face when she greets us is wonderful.
It's funny. In many ways, this has been the worst year of my life (so far). There's been so much sadness and uncertainty and pain. But at my core, I always carry around this nugget of joy. That's the most wonderful and unexpected part of this mothering gig, I think. I knew I liked children and that I'd love my daughter, but I didn't realize that her mere presence on this earth would fill me with such unshakable happiness. It's as if M has formed a little tiny buffer around my soul, protecting it from the worst of this world. It's an amazing thing.