Our son, Bert, is a year old so our family of three is pretty new, but so far we love exploring new places on special days! We took Bert on his first trip to the zoo on his birthday, climbed around a monster garden in Italy for mine, and did our first family 5k on Mother's Day. Presents are awesome, but experiences are priceless!
When Bert was five months old, our home was threatened by wildfire. We woke in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke and the glow of fire all around our canyon, and we rushed out of the house with just ourselves, our cats, and whatever we could think to cram in two small bags. For five days the five of us (two grown-ups, one baby, and two very grumpy cats) waited in a tiny hotel room, not knowing if we would have a home to come back to when the barricades were lifted.
Thanks to the amazing work of firefighters and neighbors who stayed behind, the flames came within ten feet of our roof, but our house was spared.It's difficult to describe the feeling of driving through fire with your new baby in the backseat, and of not knowing what the future you worked so hard to build for him might look like. Still, this is my favorite family story because it showed us how well we did together when the going got tough.
Our brave baby boy slept through every night we were away from home, and smiled and played with the folks who helped us as if he did this every day. Rather than falling apart, my bond with my husband grew stronger as we waited, discussing what home would look like if we needed to start over. Life is unpredictable, but the wildfires showed us that our family can meet whatever challenges it throws our way.
Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story. (Quote courtesy of Neil Gaiman)
Don't be afraid to ask for help! Having a new baby is a huge, exhausting adjustment, and you'll need all the extra hands and naps you can get. If somebody asks what you need, don't feel bad about telling them! They almost certainly aren't offering just to be nice, but because they've been there themselves and want to help make your journey that much smoother.
Every baby really is different! As a pediatric nurse, I thought I knew kids and that taking care of one (especially a healthy one) would be simple, but I didn't know MY kid. There were a lot of sleepless nights and tears shed because we simply couldn't figure out what baby Bert needed before we found a rhythm. This first year has been a huge lesson in who my son is as a person, who I am as a mother, who my husband is a father, and how all of those elements weave together to make our family. It changes constantly as Bert grows, and I'm so curious to see how we all look in the future!
Most of my parenting stories involve my best parenting plans swiftly being thwarted by our tiny human: how Bert has a talent for waiting until we are running late or have dressed him in his fanciest outfits before unleashing his latest poo-pocalypse. How, after I spent way too much time and effort and money on the most exciting and chewiest of chew toys, Bert has decided that the only thing that can soothe his teething gums are the soles of our dirtiest shoes.
How I was thrilled when his first word was "mama", even posting adorable video evidence to social media only to find Bert pointing to his bottle and enthusiastically exclaiming "Mama!!" the very next day. Milk. Mama is milk. My son's first word was not a tribute to his favorite person, it was a tribute to his favorite snack.
You can find the Pasquarella family on Instagram at @anna_face.