Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Experience the miracle of Childbirth... and my life is forever changed...

It goes without saying that in order to cross this bucket list item off, I had to dedicate some time.  I needed 9 months of sobriety and commitment to grow a human, followed by 6 months of very one sided unconditional love and perseverance with roughly 4,320 hours of consistent care.  Then I have 18 years with a roommate who doesn't pay rent before I pay for them to move out.  Not only am I covering living expenses for 18 years but also college with the hopes they will be able to then afford to live on their own at some point, meet someone, have a child of their own and go through this same process themselves.  All so I can say, 'now you know how I feel.'  

Daddy's Girl from Day 1
All jokes aside, this has been the best bucket list challenge so far.  When I decided to create my list, it was because I was trying to figure out who I was.  Who do I want to be when I grow up?  How do I want to be remembered?  What the heck do I even enjoy doing in my free time?  But this was different.  This one had very little to do with me.  Sure, there is a lot of personal satisfaction, don't get me wrong.  I get to be a mom and all the beautiful experiences that come a long with that.  But this is bigger than me.  This is creating a family.  Not only did I get to become a mom, but the man who I love the most also gets to become a dad.  On top of that, there is a whole new person walking on this Earth.  That might not sound like a big deal to some, and I know families used to have 14 kids, but you have to start with one, right?

We have this tiny person that depends on us for everything.  It is up to us to help give her the tools and knowledge to be successful in her own way.  There are a lot of things about being a mom that I get to control.  I can decide what foods to give her, what activities to have her involved in, what school she will attend and what she is going to wear everyday.  (At least I can decide these things for now.)  But what I can't control is what her likes and dislikes are, what personality she is going to develop, what she enjoys doing.  There is a possibility that she doesn't have any of the same interests as me.  There is a very real possibility that no matter how much we try to protect her and teach her right from wrong that she is going to make some really big mistakes.  

I spent almost 9 months growing and protecting her.  We spent the first 6 months of her life giving around the clock care and attention.  I arranged my work schedule around breast feeding and pumping to make sure she had the very best nutrition possible.  I spent 3 months of interviewing nannies to make sure she had the best care possible.  I researched every school in the greater Carrollwood area to make sure she gets the best education possible.  And I will spend the rest of my life making sure that she knows how much she is loved.  

But even with doing all of that, it plays such a small role in her life's outcome.  The reason why they call it a miracle, and the reason why becoming a parent is such a unique and special experience is because of how little you can actually control.  It is out of our hands.  God created Zoe to be one-of-a-kind.  This bucket list item will be a life-long challenge of balance.  How can I protect her while letting her fall?  How can I support her while forcing her to do things on her own?  How can I show her my unconditional love when she disappoints me?  The childbirth item has been crossed off the list, but what comes next will take the rest of my lifetime to accomplish.  I can't wait to see where this one takes us and the woman God created her to be.  

I wrote all about my experience of pregnancy here: http://9monthhangover.blogspot.com/  Some people LOVE being pregnant.  I am not one of those people.  But I would do it all over again and again to have Zoe.  

I'm only 1 year into being a mom and have already had some pretty comical and memorable moments that I didn't want to forget.  I'm keeping an online diary of those moments here:  http://zoediaries.blogspot.com/ 

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

You pull up to your office for the week.  As you step out of the car you feel the cool damp air against your skin.  As you make the walk, you are greeted by dozens of smiles gracing the faces of people who will give you anything you need to make your day successful.  You move to a quite spot where you start your daily ritual.  Maybe it is a cup of coffee and some water-cooler chit chat.  Maybe it is a hot tea while you close your eyes and take a few deep breaths before letting the stress of the day wash over you.  It’s show time. 

Your co-worker shakes your hand as you approach the stage.  Your feet squish down on the spongy perfectly manicured turf that still has the sweet aroma of freshly cut grass.  You wipe the nervous sweat from your palms as you reach into your bag to grab your club to take a few practice swings.  By now instead of a few dozen faces, there is a thick crowd forming around you waiting to watch your every move.

 As you make your approach and slide the tee into the ground, you have the vision of gliding that prestigious green jacket over your shoulders.  That jacket that every one of your peers covets just as much as you do.  You select your driver and glance down the 400 yards of rolling green ahead of you.  Silence blended in the wind blowing through the trees and a faint woodpecker in the distance is all you hear beyond your own heavy exhale as your swing follows-through.  Followed by the static of polite applauds of the patrons.  This is it.  This is the start of history in the making. 

At least that is how I envision what Thursday morning looked like for Jordan Speith before taking home the title of the Champion of the 2015 Masters Golf Tournament.  The tournament where 21 year old Speith took home his first major victory, and I got to cross off another bucket list items as a patron of this tradition unlike any other. 

Augusta National is hard to describe.  It is one of those places you really have to see for yourself to understand it.  I’ve had the privilege of experiencing a lot of indescribable places.  The Florida Keys during sunset, the Cinque Terre coastline at sunrise, miles of fresh untouched powdery snow in the Rocky Mountains, and now the perfectly manicured landscape of Augusta.  HD TV doesn't do it justice.  It is a Southerner’s wonderland with its beautiful Azaleas and Magnolias among the 1,000’s of other flower species along the course.   The staff makes Disney's team seem like amateurs with the way they cater to your every need and keep the walkways spotless without even a pine-cone on the ground.  And one of the most surprising things to me, with knowing that the majority of the attendees are traveling to the event in a Bentley or on a private jet, is that they maintain the original prices (or close to it) on everything once you are inside.  What other sporting event sells beers for $3 and sandwiches for $1.50? 

I only attended the event for one day of the tournament, and while we tried to walk the length of the course and take in as much of the experience as we could, I know there is still a lot that we missed.  But even in just one day, I was able to make a memory that will last a lifetime.  Watching the Masters on TV will never be the same for us in the future.  While I can never fully appreciate what the experience must be for those who are actually on the course making new records, I feel like I experienced a part of history.