A long time ago, B.R. (Before Riley) we asked my parents what the one thing was that they wish someone had told them about having a baby and/or parenting. Their response was "nothing can prepare you" and that had become a mantra that Dave and I have repeated over and over and something we tell everyone we come across with a baby on the way who dares to ask for advice. Truly nothing can prepare you. The other thing my dad mentioned was it takes about two years before you are fully transitioned into the role of parent. You spend the very early time with the newborn grieving your lost freedom and then the memories of spare time and extra money gradually begin to fade. Sure you have moments every now and then when you want to trade everything you own for a weekend in Vegas, an impulsive dinner and movie or a Saturday morning sitting around watching E! and sipping coffee until noon. You hear people who don't have children complain about being busy or tired and you want to laugh. They have no idea what tired or busy can possibly entail.
Riley turned two on the second of this month. It was his golden birthday. Although he had no idea, we did it up. It started with cupcakes at his pre-school on the morning of the first. That afternoon we had a birthday party here with all of his playgroup friends. We played out in the back yard and had Thomas the Train themed decorations everywhere. The next day we drove over to Spokane to celebrate with David's family. We met at Balfour park in the valley and once again, decked out our little corner of the park with Thomas the Train. Riley ran around and played with his cousins. We served cheese and crackers and cupcakes. Riley's cousins played well and chased balloons in between rides on Grandma's Rascal. When his cousin melted down, those of us with kids nodded sympathetically to my sister in law understood how to disengage and let him have his moment. My brother and sister-in-law (without children) looked like deers in headlights as the kids ran around with limitless energy and took turns in time out. After a few hours we packed up and headed home. The next day Riley had his family birthday party here at home. We took him to Red Robin for lunch and he got the special birthday treatment. I know we probably went a bit over the top for his birthday but he's the most deserving kid. He has the best attitude and is such a much needed joy for David and I and my parents. B.R., David and I were completely fine with working as much as possible and going though the motions. Since having him, we've been forced to grow and change in ways that we never could have predicted. We had to become completely selfless and make that a way of life. We've had to learn to slow down, appreciate the little things. Most of all, we've learned to be true to ourselves so we can be true to our son. Without Riley, Dave would still most likely be slaving away at his corporate job instead of chasing his true dream and passion. I would probably still be plugging away at my old job, instead of having to grapple with what I want to be when I grow up (yes, I'm almost 30 and I still don't know.) Having a child changes you. And that's kind of an understatement.
So here I am, the mother of two year old. I've learned how to shower and get ready in 20 minutes, always have at least three diapers, wipes and snacks in my humongous purse along with a change of clothes and more diapers in my car. I have been the woman in the store with a screaming child, I can't remember that last time I was in a restaurant that wasn't family friendly, seven-thirty is sleeping in and honestly, I don't care. A year ago, I may have gotten a little snippity when someone told me they slept in until noon and then went and got a pedicure. This year, that sounds nice but it's not me anymore. I have vague memories of times like that, but their just that, memories. I am now a full time mom to a little boy and has been, is, and is to come, my life and I'm going to enjoy the ride.