I took one of Nicole’s Classes late last year. One of our assignments was a stylized shoot. So, you know, I thought of a great idea: Hey, I’ll take lots of backlit photos of my friend Ali and her family. I drove around the alleys of La Jolla during the golden hour with a sleeping Avery in the car. I knew taking backlit photos would be challenging, but I found the perfect place! Then, I inadvertently scheduled the photo shoot for the afternoon before trash day. Apparently, not everyone is like me and Seth when it comes to putting their cans out. You know, you rush out half-dressed as you hear the truck come down the street. So, I really have to get going on Photoshop before I post all of the photos. However, I’m going to post my favorites anyway. That’s how much I love them!
I mean, how great is it that Ali got her two girls dressed up in their monogrammed tutu dresses AND convinced her husband, Matt, to wear a pink shirt to match? “I’ve just decided that pink and white are our family colors,” she declared. You know that brought a smile to my face! Talking of smiles, notice how the the 3-year-old, first-born girl is all smiles in the last two photos. Love it!
This is the third draft of your 1-year love letter. I’ve given a half-hearted attempt several times, but nothing really came to mind. I was so very excited when 1/13, our lucky number, came around. I pushed you in your BOB that morning with an extra bounce in my step. I wanted to go through the streets of La Jolla yelling out, “Yeah! We did it! One year and this kid is thriving and happy. Please get my certificate of completion in the mail: Congratulations to Aimee and Avery for making it through your first year as mother and dauther. You rock! Oh, don’t forget to add ‘With Honors,’ because my baby is super cute, too!” And then came all the,
“She’s SO BIG!”
“You know you have a TODDLER now, right?” ”
“Wait, what? Toddler? Shush up NOW! No, really, no one asked your opinion. You see this blue-eye girl? She’s my BAY-BEE.”
It’s your party first birthday and your mom will cry if she wants to was pretty much how I felt. In my heart, I already knew it was true. Every morning you wake up noticeably more mature, more talkative, and more inquisitive about your world. Well, actually, you wake up in tears every morning; but, you feel much better after petting the “daw! daw!” However, after you are happily petting Patch, you seem more mature, talkative, and inquisitive. I was just happy to let that all be part of the baby stage. Since we decided on just celebrating with a day at the zoo, it didn’t really seem official anyway. No balloons, no pinata, no cake. It was just a day with mommy, daddy, auntie mandie, grandma, and grandpa. Fun, but not official.
Well, you know what is official? Doctor visits, that’s what. They write information down on permanent records. Like, how much you weigh and whether or not you know enough words. Then they tell you all about the new things you should be doing and warn you about how kids your age are accident prone. You even get a brief packet about toddlers to take home with you. You know, after your baby toddler stops crying from her vaccinations. Ugh, it was a tough day.
You’re sleeping now. You’ve graduated to your knees tucked under you with bottom up in the air pose. Meanwhile, I’ve been filtering through the hundreds of photos I still haven’t edited from your year as my baby girl. I better get on it, too; beacause, guess what? At two they are going to tell me you are a Pre-Schooler! So, sleep tight my toddler. We have a lot of adventures to get going on while you are still my little one.
As we were falling asleep last night, I searched for your hand. I had to reach around Patchy who was back in his usual spot, a big ball of labrahound right in-between us. I used to joke that he was like a chastity belt; there was no way we were going to make babies with him claiming his territory right in the middle of the bed each night. Unfortunately for Patch, we thwarted his plan to have our entire world revolve around him and had our baby girl almost one year ago. As Patch feared, everything changed.
In many ways, I feel like it’s our first year of marriage all over again. Except, instead of having your best friend living in the spare bedroom – who slept in on weekends, always took my side in any kind of debate (You are a smart one, Bret!), and made sure our fridge was stocked with an endless supply of gourmet mustard - we have our new little roommate. Oh, how that little person has changed everything. We’ve had so much new joy…so much new everything…and so little sleep! Such little sleep, in-fact, that I would highly suggest any couples planning on getting married and having children add the following to the traditional wedding vows: in full-nights of sleep and in nights, days, months – gees, maybe years, of hardly any sleep at all. So, with fingers interlaced and Patch lightly snoring in-between us, I asked you what you thought of our third year of marriage.
“Wonderful,” you said.
I kind of laughed. “Well, don’t you think it’s been a little hard this past year?”
No, you didn’t think so at all. Of course, you - the man one who loves scary-as-heck, off-piste ski slopes - would say a challenging year has been wonderful. For you, the fun and reward comes from overcoming uncharted territory, preferably with adrenaline pumping drops. Me, on the other hand, well, I’d much prefer to stick to ski runs called “Success.” I like being able to see ahead and take it easy. Falling is a rarity and you don’t have to work much on proper form (Use your edges!). Of course, these types of runs come with relatively little reward. I was most happy skiing when I finally realized that you were right (don’t expect me to say that twice); it’s much more fun when you stop clinging to the mountain and go downhill on a real mountain run.
Having Avery has steered us clear off the green runs. All the challenges, the sleepless nights, and the new roles have made marriage harder; but, they have also made us love harder. I’ll fully admit, it’s made life a new kind of wonderful (Okay, I said you were right twice!). So, babe, here’s to having an off-piste marriage. I’m sure we will fall time and time again, however, it’s been more fun along the way and the reward has been that much greater.
“Did Paul and Jacinta have their baby?” Seth asked me a few days ago.
“Uh, no. She can’t be more than half-way to her due-date, right?”
“Did you see his tweet? I’m confused.”
Paul: “Wow. 2 and a half hour nap? That’s a first ever. #workingmanwoes #parenthood # sleepdeprived.”
Tired and their screaming in the middle of the night sweet baby hasn’t even arrived. Yeah, I remember when I thought that pregnancy could be tough and I had a pretty “easy” pregnancy. Paul, this video is for you. Don’t watch it now, you won’t really get it. Watch it in like a year. Then send out a real tweet. Love you! ;)
Yes, yes, I realize that this video totally perpetuates the general stereotypes of traditional “daddy at work, mommy at home” roles. Still, super funny, right?
My favorite lines:
“When it comes to Candy Land, I’m stone-cold player.
“My PB&Js will set your world on fire, I could make you mac ‘n’ cheese blindfolded on a wire.”
I’m a SoCal girl who made good use of her passport growing up. Now I’ve settled in San Diego with my husband, new baby girl, Avery, and wonder pup, Patch. I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller, so I thought now would be the perfect time to employ myself as a writer and photographer. The pay stinks, but my boss is super awesome. And pretty.