Hey, it's Carnival Time again and as Valentine's Day approaches this month's topic is appropriately entitled Baby Love!
This month I offer you a glimpse into my life with "Love Is All Around Me" a post which traces my own relationship with my husband from teenage sweethearts to adoring parents.
And don't forget to visit the other bloggers' posts in the Baby Love Carnival which I have listed below!
Love Is All Around Me...
As a child I loved playing with “boys” toys and spent hours racing my little brother’s cars around the house. I recall cycling in the rain daydreaming about how much fun it would be if my bicycle had a “roof” on it. I devoured books, especially Enid Blyton's Secret Seven and Famous Five series.
Very occasionally I played with a few Barbie dolls - but I was never really a doll sort of girl, in sharp contrast to my little sister who just adored her Tiny Tears and yearned for a Cabbage Patch Kid.
So, my parents, naturally, thought I would grow up to be a career girl and my sister, the maternal one.
But oh how the years change us.
When I hit thirteen suddenly I started dreaming about my future in the sort of romantic way only a teenager can. And in some ways my story was romantic.
When I first met my now husband it was during an open day at Queen’s University, Belfast. I was as the song goes "only sixteen"; he was seventeen. I saw him strolling across the quad and suddenly knew, "I’m going to marry him!"
I giggled to myself as I hadn’t even spoken to him at that point much less had a date! But we got chatting and by the end of the day I was in love. We met up again the following weekend… and that was the beginning of "us"!
When he went off to university a few months later I was heartbroken as it meant I could only see him at weekends and he wouldn’t be able to walk me home from school anymore!
However, love prevailed and we stayed together all through college (although I attended University of Ulster, Coleraine) and the intervening years, eventually marrying in 1998.
Our baby girl, Tara, was born in 2000. And nothing in this world could have prepared me for the immediate and overpowering love I felt for her when she was handed to me, ten years after that fateful day in QUB!
Baby Love brought with it so many unexpected emotions. I never doubted I would love my baby but the potency of that love astounded me. I adored her tiny little features, her milky scent, her silky soft skin, her fine blonde hair, her button nose and her bright blue eyes. I marvelled at her absolute perfection every time she breastfed. She was so beautiful, so precious and the most photographed baby in the world!
And as a first time mum, I documented every single milestone, every new tooth, every new word, every outfit she wore, every new sound she made, the nursery rhymes she liked and the toys she enjoyed! I treasured every second I spent with her.
Of course I also had darker moments when I wept for her future life. I imagined us, her parents, dying and her being left alone. I saw her as an old lady with no mummy and daddy to look after her, I worried for all the broken hearts she would suffer as a teenager, all the trials life would fling at her!
My heart physically ached for her when she was ill or in pain.
But each time I whispered into her tiny perfect little ears that I would always love her and care for her and do my very best to keep her safe and happy.
I never imagined that I could possibly feel those same feelings for any other babies I might have. In fact I didn’t really want to think about increasing our family for fear I would have to share my Baby Love with another baby!
However, as time moved on and she began to grow into a busy independent toddler I found myself yearning for another baby to shower with love...
Sarah arrived after a wonderful birth in 2003 and much to my relief my Baby Love swamped me all over again! I was fascinated by the physical resemblance she shared with her big sister and thoroughly delighted in her. The love I had worried about sharing simply expanded to embrace her too. And when Jack joined us in 2005 again Baby Love rippled through me!
I didn’t fret so much about Tara’s future once she had siblings; I knew the children would always have each other. And I didn’t have time to keep just so many records of developmental milestones the second and third time around …
Instead these days I revel in the joy and love I feel as my three children bond with one another and their relationships with each other blossom.
Now when I look at my children, aged six, three and one, I see the beautiful little people they are becoming, each with a very distinctive personality of their own.
And I also see that they are three very lucky children. They are lucky to have each other to share their lives with, lucky to have four grandparents who dote on them, lucky to have lots of aunts and uncles who delight in them and lucky to have two parents who love one another and who will always strive to do whatever we can for them.
So, I never really took to the whole career girl thing. Sure, I became a teacher but as soon as my fist-born arrived I quickly realised I couldn’t be parted from her, looking after other people’s children. And I acknowledge that I have been extremely lucky to have been able to stay at home with my children for the past three and a half years.
But oh boy, Baby Love - it’s so much more than falling in love. It overpowers you completely and forever! Baby Love is all-consuming and neither Stan nor I can ever imagine that fading; it is a love which entwines all five of us together forever.
What started as our own little love story, spanning our teens and twenties, changed into something so much more when our first baby was born; as the years have passed and our family has grown, our love for each other envelops our family and holds us all tightly together.
And what of my sister, the maternal one?
Well, although she is the doting mama of a darling little boy, her career has thrived alongside her baby love. She freely admits she would feel suffocated by my lifestyle. She enjoys her freedom, her career, her independence. But she also more than cherishes every single magical moment she spends with her little son.
Baby Love; it’s what you make it. What works for one may not work for another but so long as you are happy with your choice then surely that is the most important thing…
Baby Love - Phew!
Don't forget to visit the following blogs for more insights into Baby Love:
Angela from Breastfeeding 123 writes about helping a big brother or sister welcome a new baby into the family.
Andi from Mama Knows Breast shares her review of the book "Babyproofing Your Marriage."
Tanya from Motherwear Blog discusses in her post, "Baby Love: How my body loved my baby when my mind could not" how it sometimes takes a while to fall in love with your baby if there are other things going on after/related to birth, becoming a mother, etc.
Jennifer from The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog contemplates how love makes you do crazy things.
Also participating this month we have three new guest bloggers:
Melissa from Booby Juice posts "In Love With My Babies" depicting the happiest days of her life with her boys.
Karen at Cairo Mama details in her post, "Great Expectations and First Impressions: The Beginning of Love" how loving her baby helps her to love herself.
Colleen from My Baby and More posts her entry entitled "Baby Lust...er...Love" leaving a big question mark at the end!
Please remember, if you enjoy our carnival posts and run your own breastfeeding or parenting blog why not send us your submissions for the next one. Details will follow shortly!