Happy Birthday, Scout!

And, just like that, my baby is a year old! There’s no way that I will be able to sum up what this year and motherhood has been to me but I will try to share a little about our ray of light in what has been a trying year. 
I remember just how miserable I was towards the end of my pregnancy and how equally anxious I was to meet Scout. We’d chosen her name from the book ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and I remember wanting my baby girl to be as inquisitive as Jean-Louise, who is nicknamed Scout in the novel, is. We’d known Scout’s name for months and only chose to share it after she was born. I also thought I was quite clever for giving her a nickname as a name, thinking it clever that she wouldn’t need one; that idea has failed as her dad calls her Scoot, Scooter or Scootee! We’ve all caught on and she’s our little Scooter Bug. I am happy, though, that part of my dream for her seems to be true as she is a curious, busy, firecracker of a child which I love, even though it exhausts us most of the time! 
Scout is so loved; our friends and family members are really so invested in her life, even though they’ve seen her only a few times in her first year of life. She’s definitely a child of this time as most of her interactions with others is over FaceTime or WhatsApp video calls; at times she smiles and entertains the person on the other end of the call and at other times she cries hysterically, wanting all of our attention to be on her. I’m really so grateful that I’ve had support from those close to us; even though most of it could only be emotional support it’s still such a blessing. I know that I would not have made it through some of the difficult times without having my friends to talk to and our moms for support. 
The year started off on a high note and by February I was attending Mums & Munchkins, a Bible study group at our church; I felt really encouraged to be spending time in God’s word with my baby and other moms. I loved taking her to church but I also enjoyed some of the simple things, like visiting our parents, having a friend come over to meet her and going out to dinners with Wesley. I remember how crazy it all was as Wesley had started a new job the week I gave birth to Scout; there was so much newness that it was often really overwhelming but we managed to find our rhythm as we moved through parenting. Wesley has been an amazing dad to Scout and I appreciate how much I am able to rely on him. A lot changed when we went into Lockdown in March and it has undoubtedly affected how we have raised Scout but I think it had the biggest impact on who we are as parents as we were forced to brave a lot of parenting on our own. We had to learn to be the best version of ourselves, despite going through an unprecedented time on everyone’s lives. I believe that we are better for it and I will always cherish the moments that Wesley and I had, alone, with our daughter in this year. 
Scout has shown me that I am enough; it took becoming a mom for me to really face my challenges. I know that I will never be a perfect mom and that the things that have happened to me in my past may affect how I parent her, in good and bad ways, but what I know for sure is that I am the best mom for her. She knows me and she loves my voice and my quirks and that makes so happy. I get to be silly around her. She has taught me to live simply, to stay in the moment and to worry less about what I can’t control. If anything, she’s the reason I finally know what it means to be patient; I often lose my cool with others but I’ve never blown up at her and have been able to remain calm through the longest cries and, of late, the biggest tantrum. Even Wesley notes my patience with her as he often gets the opposite! 
I’ve enjoyed watching Wesley let go a little as his inner child shows up to play with her. He’s usually quite reserved but he’s become really funny and silly since becoming a dad. I find watching him care for her really attractive and it has benefited our marriage in so many ways. We’ve had some really rough patches as parents but I believe that we are so much better because of it all. He is my rock and he has loved me through the messiest bun and my still a little flabby belly! I feel that he’s learnt to really see me, and I him, and I’m so thankful for that! 
I really thought I’d be a pedantic mom but I’m actually really chilled about most of it. I hope that we raise a happy child who has the space to thrive and be who she is. Perhaps being a teacher has taught me a thing or two about the kind of mom I want to be but I can tell you that there have been many moments where we’ve had to throw the theory book out of the window and just survive where we are at before attempting some of our ideals again. I believe that Wes and I are open minded parents and that we are blessed to share many of the same values, which helps with some of the decisions we have to make about how we are raising Scout. 
And Scout? She has no teeth, she isn’t walking and she is yet to meet a few more of her milestones but when I look at my baby I see that crazy mop of curls, which is accompanied by her gummy smile majority of the time! She dances, she repeats sounds that I make, she gets frustrated when learning new things and then claps excitedly when she gets it right. She has started calling me mama and has also turned to Wesley and said, ‘Dada,’ and, for us, that’s the best milestone ever! I really cannot imagine life without her. As cliche as that may sound, God fulfilled one of my biggest dreams when he made me a mom and I cherish it, daily. 
I want to say thank you to all those who have helped us to get here, to this beautiful day where we get to celebrate Scout’s first birthday. For the year ahead I hope we get to take her outside so that she can continue to learn about and explore our world. I hope to spend more time reading to her and cuddling her to sleep, if she will let me! I hope to laugh uncontrollably as she continues to surprise us while she grows and learns new things. I pray that we continue to feel joy as we move through life and that we get to inspire our child to live a happy, meaningful life herself. 
Happy birthday, my beautiful Scout! May you be blessed with many more years. 
Until my next post, Bronny 

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