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A Year Spent Photographing My Greatest Joy

Well, it actually happened. My sweet, beautiful baby girl is now officially ONE! I swore this day would never come, both because I’ve loved each stage we’ve gone through so much, and because the newborn days were so hard I thought they would last forever. This year has been nothing short of the best year of my life, thus far, as well as the fastest. People aren’t kidding when they say, “the days are long, but the weeks/months/years are short.” I can’t even fathom the fact that it’s been an entire year. The day she entered this world feels just as much like yesterday as it does an eternity ago.

How did we go 9+ months of pregnancy not knowing what she’d look like? That she’d have the most beautiful I-don’t-know-what-color-to-call-them eyes, the prettiest and craziest strawberry blonde hair, the most lovable thighs, the cutest little birth mark freckles, the most precious dimple on her right cheek that makes her smile all the more contagious, the most petite feet, or the funniest laugh? It’s amazing really how God designed it all – you wait and wait in pure excitement and anticipation for something you can’t possibly comprehend, and then it gets here and it’s better than you could have ever dreamed. I’d like to think our children are a small slice of what Heaven will be like.

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Learning how to be a mother to Adeline has not come without a pretty epic learning curve. Unfortunately, there is no Guide to First Time Motherhood, or Manual For New Mommies. Oh how I wish there were. If my rocking chair could talk, oh the tales it would tell. Oh the tears it has seen, the cries it has heard, the tears it has felt fall on its arms, the laughs it has laughed along with, the prayers it has prayed alongside us, the moments of joy it has witnessed, and the anxiety it has watched unfold. It’s been a tough year, one not without struggles, but what wonderful struggles they were – every single one completely worth it tenfold.

I did not enjoy my pregnancy with Adeline. It was pretty miserable, and I also did not enjoy the raging hormones, baby blues, and post-partum anxiety after she arrived. Bringing another human into this world is not for the faint of heart. I’ve thought about those early days a lot over the past year, and am so proud of how far we’ve come. Together. I’d like to think I now have a badge of honor – I’m her person, and together we survived an entire year! It’s funny how you think only the baby needs its mama, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t need her just as much. She’s taught me things I never could have learned otherwise, and I know she’ll continue to do so for years to come.

Having a baby has changed my perspective in just about 9385726583 different ways. I never knew how selfish I was until I had her. I never knew how much freedom I had, and how much time I had to do things on my own schedule. You think before you have a baby, “how different can it be?” But if I could go back and slap myself silly for literally having no idea just how much my life would change, I’d do it in a heartbeat. You have no idea. No idea. Absolutely no idea how different your life is once you are everything to another person, who’s completely dependent upon you.

But it’s so much fun! It’s like being on the best roller-coaster you’ve ever ridden. Adeline is so, so much fun. SO MUCH FUN! Being a mom is dang near the hardest gig there is, but oh my goodness, it’s got to be the best gig there is. For every exhausted moment where I think I could just crawl into a hole and die because I’ve been defeated by a tiny human in every possible way, there are ten other moments where my heart is completely bursting at the seams with love, and joy, and pure happiness. I don’t think I ever really knew what unconditional love was before Adeline, and now I totally get it. I also never knew how it was possible to love someone so deep, and feel such a connection to someone you’ve known for such a short amount of time. It still blows my mind that I’ve only really known her for a year, but somehow it feels like a lifetime. Oh, it’s just the greatest thing ever. What a sweet, sweet season of life we’re in!

Over the past year I’ve taken an insane amount of photos. Like, insane. Just completely insane but look who you’re talking to. Are we surprised? No. I’d say 80% of them though have been iphone photos, and the other 20% were actually on my nice camera. I think I just thought taking photos of her would be like, a cakewalk. Super easy, no big deal, I’d always feel like having it out, and I’d have these amazing photos at every possible opportunity. LOL. I took ONE photo at the hospital, and then didn’t even turn ON my camera until she was 3 weeks old. It only got harder and harder though, the more mobile she got. There seems to be a sweet spot for easily taking baby photos, and I found that to be after they can lift their head comfortably on their tummy, but before they’re rolling over faster than you can blink. After that phase, good luck!

I tried my hardest though to remember that this year would pass by quickly, and I am very happy that I did make the extra effort as much as I could to document with a quality camera other than my phone. Our next child may not be so lucky, so for now I am going to celebrate a decent collection of first year photos I will cherish forever. Truth be told, my most favorite photos are all on my phone. Isn’t that how it always goes?

Here is a collection of my collection – some of my favorite photos from this past year, of just Adeline. I left out any family photos, and photos with mommy and daddy, because today is her day and I am focusing every ounce of energy on my beautiful and most precious gift. These photos aren’t perfect, some aren’t frame-worthy, but they sure do bring back all the feels.

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We love you Adeline!

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