Henry Turns 1

We had a little birthday party for Henry on Saturday. Not really for Henry; for us. Will handled all the decorations - seriously intense watercolor posters all around the dining room!... and we served lots of beer and grilled up a summer supper, and my brother's awesome girlfriend made her unbelievable guacamole, and we all just sat around laughing with family and a few close friends while the children played with each other. 

decorating beforehand
It was lovely - laid-back and relaxing and a wonderful way to celebrate making it through a challenging year, as well as the END of Jason's LAST SUMMER SEMESTER!!!! We now get to enjoy a full month of togetherness before he starts the last semester of the MBA. I am so proud of him and proud of myself. He's learned so much! We have learned so much - mostly about how to communicate, and the contagiousness of true generosity, and how to handle big stressors. Though he has also given me several crash courses on the things that excited him the most, like financial analysis and investments and business strategy and management psychology. ;) 
 This past year has been really hard for me in an unusual way. See, each day has been totally doable. I get up, grab coffee, do an hour of work before the boys wake up, swim through our routine, get in a good workout, manage the household chores I can do and let go of the ones I can't, make dinner while nursing a glass of red, get the boys into the bath and then into bed and then I come downstairs, clean up what I can (and again, let go of what I can't), and crash on the couch til Jason walks in the door after class. The boys are used to the daily schedule and really, they're not hard to parent. If I were a babysitter, I'd feel guilty for getting paid to take care of them because overall, they are happy, well-behaved, easy to please children. If you were to ask me at any point in the last year how I was doing, I would say honestly that I was great, doing good, just fine.
But I realized a couple weeks ago, I have no real memories of Henry's first 6 months. Nothing vivid. Nothing like the many happy, quiet moments from Will's infancy that were frozen in time; the first time he stared at me, long mornings snuggling in bed with him, learning how to breastfeed; his little baths, tummy time, our first couple walks. So many hidden things I will never forget. 
Henry's babyhood, in comparison, is a blur. A few random things stick out; but overall, its just one long vague, rather dreary memory. I start crying every time I think about this too much. Henry has been such an angel of a baby! I wish I had more memories of him as a sweet, quiet little infant. I guess I was just more in survival mode than I realized. I suppose that means you are in ACTUAL survival mode, if you can't even look around you and decide you are in survival mode, because you are too overwhelmed to do anything except, you know, survive.

I think I instinctively wouldn't let myself think about how hard it was, because I couldn't afford the breakdown that might follow if I got discouraged. I had to just keep my chin up and stay focused on the present moment. That has been a powerful gift that I cannot take any credit for. Like Peter in the gospel this past Sunday... walking on water, doing fine until he started focusing on himself and freaking out about what he was doing... I have needed every grace I was given to simply do what I wouldn't have thought possible had I stopped to think about it. Miraculously, I didn't stop to notice how hard this season was until well after I was past the hard stage.
THANK GOD FOR IPHONES. Even though I don't have many memories stored in my head of my little towheaded 1 year old, I had thousands of them stored in my phone; moments I just snapped without even thinking twice about it - the blessing of your camera being your phone! Here they are for me to soak up after the fact. 
So that's why this slideshow is so. Darn. CHEESY. I needed to indulge the memory making. I needed to stop and look back, and even though I may never have many real clear memories of this season, I will have them forever in pictures. 

If y'all care to see it, here it is :). 

Henry's First Year from Kallah Oakes on Vimeo.

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