Becoming a mother has been a life altering experience that most parents will tell you about but which you don't fully understand until you are there yourself. The milestones that everyone knows about, crawling, walking, talking are all amazing to witness, but the most incredible moments are often the most nondescript.
I always check on Ollie before I turn in for the night, to see him completely fast asleep, hear him softly breathing with his clean, soft hair ruffled, rosy cheeks and sheets and comforter scrunched up in a ball, no doubt dreaming of the new things he learned that day. It's an image I never want to forget and it's hard to articulate how it makes my heart ache and grow all at the same time. Just like watching him chase our pup Lola until she lets him pat her (ever so gently), seeing him really enjoy eating a lovingly prepared lunch, watching him try to use a broom, seeing him sit so quietly in his room, flicking through his many books, pointing at detail in the illustrations, figuring out what he wants to show me next, playing make-believe with him when he hands me imaginary things with his tiny little hands, wondering where he is when he's gone all quiet and then catching him sitting on all the pillows on our bed bouncing up and down...
Of course it's not all idyllic, it's mostly hard work, and there are tantrums and tears when he's not allowed in the kitchen, or when his papa leaves the house (he loves him so), when he doesn't want the eat the lovingly prepared lunch and when it's just all too much and he simply has to have the very dangerous thing that he's not allowed to have even though he really doesn't know why he wants it. And I know there are many more challenges ahead.
But all these enriching experiences are helping me learn new skills too, like a new kind of patience, one I didn't think I had (and one which still has a long way to go) and a sense of appreciation for the moment rather than an urgency to get things done in a day. I imagine that another baby will bring twice the exhaustion, double the hard work but I also hope that a brother or sister for Ollie will mean infinitely more rewards than life has brought so far. I can only hope that we are blessed again, and that we will be good, patient parents to children that will be as proud of us as we want to be of them.