The Wonder Year

The snow has been falling for three days here in the North Woods of Wisconsin. For this girl from Texas, snow that drifts in the air and blankets the ground is a special thing; individual flakes that distinguish themselves, resting on our clothes after their long journey home, a wonder to behold.

No miracle in nature, no miracle given to man, however, is as wondrous to me now as having watched our Julianna and our family grow over this last year. Even before November 29, 2008, at 9:51 in the morning, Tim and I were a complete family. Just the two of us was fine, though we looked forward to the tiny third one to come. She arrived after a long journey home, as well; after five days, to be exact, of insisting Julianna join us, she finally decided she’d come.

I can’t remember clearly, but I’m sure I thought—if only for a moment—that the greater part of the adventure was over after Julianna was born. I needn’t dwell on the extent of my error, but I will note that I have been exceedingly blessed to be wrong. What a ride the year has been for Tim and me!

Julianna’s personality started to make its appearance when she was ten weeks old. Alert and curious, she’d stare in awe at anything new, bright or in motion. She reached out for the world at three months, sat up at six, crawled at seven, and so on, and so on. I have all the dates written in her baby album, which is good because they’d be forgotten otherwise. Those dates, so notable in the moment, seem lost in the blur of the days, the hugs and the kisses. If not lost in the smiles, they’re often forced out during the cries!

These days, Tim and I struggle to keep up with Julianna. She’s on the verge of walking, though still happy on her knees. She talks in baby signs and growls in frustration if we’ve not yet taught her an appropriate word to convey her need. Her frequent babbles communicate her certainty about her views on the world around her and that she will find a way to make her thoughts known, but the most frequent words to be heard, to our great delight, are “mama” and “dada”.

As for us, we’ve recovered from the early days of sleep deprivation and think we’re finally getting a handle on this parenting thing, at least as it concerns a one year old. I’ve spent time reading books on baby sleep, feeding and development. I have friends with whom I get together every weekday for play dates (Julianna loves company!) and I’ve even started to get the house under control, most of the time.

Tim always uses his time efficiently, and in the past year, in addition to working and spending time with Julianna and me, he’s almost finished the home library project, managed the addition of a play room in our formerly-lofted living space, wired speakers to the patio, living room, play room and library, and built a few small wood projects for home and gifts.

In the evenings, when Julianna is asleep and work is done, Tim and I sit together at the computer or work together in the kitchen. It is quiet, but a quiet that we appreciate. The breaking of that quiet, at the morning light, with a cough, some babbling or a cry (depending on the day) is also appreciated.

We understand the preciousness of each day now, but, even so, find it difficult to take enough mental pictures to capture it. Sometimes, when Julianna’s clad only in her diaper digging her favorite socks out of the drawer, we look at each other and I’m sure we’re both thinking it’s a moment to remember. Sometimes, when the camera is near, we take a real picture to remember, knowing our mental camera is too faulty to trust with every precious moment.

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