One Year With Juniper

by Kim on September 25, 2016 · 19 comments

A few days before Juniper was born Brian and I went on a slow, waddling walk through our neighborhood. It was mid-September and autumn was sashaying onto center stage. The days of just the two of us were numbered.

As we walked in the crisp, evening light I felt sad, nostalgic for the good life we would soon trade in for a new, untested one. To tell the truth, I was mourning the loss of our life without a child. I was afraid of what was on the other side.

Once, before I had a child of my own, a friend tried to explain parenthood to me. After a few stops and starts she finally threw her hands into the air and said, “It’s just so much of… everything.”

It is so much of everything. So much energy, so much frustration, so much work, so much joy and so much love. Juniper has turned our world into an exhausting, colorful, noisy, busy life of Love with a capital L. My love for her has given me a clarity I did not have before. What matters? Love and all things that lead to love. What does not matter? Everything else.

This morning Brian found me at my desk. “I’m trying to write about Juniper’s birthday,” I told him. “And what it’s like to be a parent.”

“I was just thinking about that,” he said. “I was thinking of the day we brought her home from the hospital and…” his eyes went glossy and distant. “I was just trying to remember it all.”

That’s another way to sum up my experience so far, I’m just trying to remember it all. The diaper bag and the doctor’s appointments, of course, but also the perfect, tiny chubbiness of Juniper’s hands, her mostly-gummy mouth, the heat and weight of her body as I hold her in my arms. It’s the cliché of all parenting clichés, I know, but It. Goes. So. Fast. 

I think of the woman I was when I took that walk last September, standing on the edge of parenthood. The fear I felt then was no different than the fear that’s arisen each time I’ve taken a scary, unknowable risk. Parenthood is the ultimate risk, after all, an irreversible roll of the dice into an unpredictable and uncontrollable future. And just like all of the other times I’ve taken a big leap into a different way of living, I have picked up a few bruises along the way. I’ve torn a hole or two in my jeans, skinned my knees, drawn a little blood. There has undoubtably been some stumbling. But I am a bigger, wiser, more openhearted person than I was last September. I have Juniper to thank for that.

My baby is one year old and I have been a mother for 365 days. I show my daughter the way the world works. I teach her the sounds that the animals make, point out the color of the leaves, and sing her the ABC’s. And in turn she reminds me to kiss for no reason, to gasp when the wind blows, to laugh at all of the small, delightful things (there are so many!). We are growing together, but most days I think I am learning more.

Happy birthday Juniper. We love you.




{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Dustin@WeGoRTW September 25, 2016 at 2:46 pm

We have a surprise we haven’t shared publicly yet, due to our past, but please tell me it gets easier after X # weeks?

Because these first few seem like torture 😫
Dustin@WeGoRTW recently posted..Never Rent a Jeep in Hawaii


Kim September 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm

OMG I AM SO THRILLED FOR BOTH OF YOU!!!!!!!! Ahhhhh!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!

Okay, here’s my experience. The first 3 months are straight up torture. After that it gets incrementally easier. At six months I remember feeling like I finally wasn’t drowning and then, some time around 9 months, I realized I felt like myself again. Now at 12 months I feel almost high with love. Today at the grocery store an older woman stopped me and we were talking about Juniper. As she walked away she said, “enjoy it,” and I thought, okay, now she’s going to tell me how quickly it goes. Instead she said, “it just keeps getting better.” And I bet she’s right. Hang in there and lean on the people you love because you’ll need them now more than ever. But I promise you it does get better and you will even miss those first crazy weeks and months.


Tia September 25, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Assuming you mean after birth, yes! At 6mo they get markedly more fun and interesting. Once you get past the brutal 4mo sleep regression, it gets better. But, as the mom of a 4 year old, it’s never “easy.”


Rhonda September 25, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Happy Birthday Juniper!!! It is so unbelievable to me to think it’s been one year, already, since you became parents. What an amazing journey you’ve been on. I can’t wait to see how your new plans for the camper life evolve…. big love from Mexico (Guatemala tomorrow!)
Rhonda recently posted..It Starts with a Dream


Kim September 28, 2016 at 7:32 am

Oh man, I can’t believe it either. Where did the time go?!? I hope Guatemala is treating you well!


Lynn September 26, 2016 at 7:14 am

So sweet. When my first baby was a week old, I remember still being in shock that she was there at all. The miracle of life and all that. Sometimes I still feel that way, and she’s seven. I look at her and I can’t believe there was a time she didn’t exist. I was apprehensive about being a mom, for sure. People were absolutely right about the sucky parts of parenthood, but the joy is indescribable.
Lynn recently posted..The End of a Beautiful Friendship


Kim September 28, 2016 at 7:33 am

Sometimes Brian and I still look at each other and say, “Can you believe we have a kid?” I think there might be a part of us that always feels that way (sounds like it, since you still feel that way 7 years down the line). It is so hard but also so so wonderful.


motowngirl September 26, 2016 at 7:56 am

She is such a doll! Such a perfect combination of you and Brian. Blessings on all of your heads!


Kim September 28, 2016 at 7:33 am

Thank you 🙂


Gachambi September 26, 2016 at 4:51 pm

Happy 1st Birthday Juniper! She is adorable:) Enjoy every moment!


Kim September 28, 2016 at 7:33 am

Thanks!!! We are enjoying it (and so is she, I think!)


Kat September 26, 2016 at 6:34 pm

I have to let you know how much I appreciate your posts. This one came at just the right time. My husband and I found ourselves on that same walk just last week, and today our little girl is a week old. I felt many of the same things you did, about mourning the loss of our life before, and your honesty has been so reassuring. And as much as I loved our life as two, I’m excited to experience everything this next year has in store for us. Thank you again, and happy birthday to Juniper!


Kim September 28, 2016 at 7:37 am

Kat, wow! Congratulations!! You are in for some exhausting (and yet, magical) months- and the year has so much in store for you. When I look at Juniper now she’s this little person and it’s so incredible to me. Those first months they are more like amoeba… it gets to be a lot of fun when their little personalities start to show. I hope you are getting some rest and lots of support from those that love you. Enjoy the ride 🙂


Janet September 27, 2016 at 4:31 am

Kim, you nailed it once again. These glimpses from your heart will become a gift Juniper will cherish when you give it to her one day (when she marries? when she becomes a mother?). A diary of her rich impact on your life. And while you’re now embroiled in the wonders of parenthood, just wait until you experience grandparenthood! A coming secret even more special.


Kim September 28, 2016 at 7:38 am

I do hear grandparenthood is wonderful… I’ll probably be 90 but that’s cool!! I sometimes think that Juniper will one day read this blog. I like knowing that she has this little chronicle of my life before and after she was born.


Renee October 6, 2016 at 8:13 am

Happy 1st Birthday, Juniper!


Kim October 10, 2016 at 9:05 am

Thank you Renee 🙂


Ashley October 13, 2016 at 7:51 am

Happy Birthday Juniper! Wow, I can’t believe she’s already 1. I remembering reading your blog posts while you were traveling the world, then as you & Brian toured the US talking at different outdoor events, & somehow even more time has passed – the early posts seem like forever ago.


Kim October 14, 2016 at 10:05 am

Hi Ashley, I know! Time flies and things change quickly. Thank you for sticking around through all of the years, I really appreciate it 🙂


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