One. Full. Year.

If there is one thing I've learned this past year, it is that there are many things that those "What to Expect When You're Expecting"-type books fail to mention. For instance:

1. Head wounds bleed...a lot. This would have probably saved the nice EMT guys from making a trip to my parent's house, and the 911 operator from wasting her time on my call. I thought Ethan was dying I tell you. The amount of blood that came out of the tiny little gash on his forehead was atrocious. If someone would have told me that three stitches would solve it, I would never have believed it at the time.

2. You'll become a hypocrite. I swore up and down that I wouldn't a) buy my kids Disney character shoes that have the little flashing lights in them, b) want and/or drive a mini-van, c) let them eat candy before dinner or d) become my mother. All of which I am or do.

3. Pre-children, you might laugh when people tell you that "You'll change your mind" about having 6, 7, or even (ha) 8 kids once you have one. I, for one, was one of them. I wanted a large family with a bunch of kids running crazy through the house. At one time, I wanted 8. And although I cringe when well-meaning people remind me how foolish I was to choose a number like that without having experienced pregnancy and it's aftermath, I now know that I was. Sorry Octomom - I think you're certifiably N-U-T-S!

I was thumbing through the bookshelves in our office that held books such as these - my "Pregnancy Journal" (only half filled out of course) and every edition of said "What to Expect When You're Expecting", and I started getting all sentimental thinking about thumbing through them while pregnant for the first time. Then I began thinking about where I was at this time last year. It hit me that having one child no more prepared me for having two than any of these books prepared me for having one at all.

Although I can't remember specifically what I was doing on February 10th of last year, it is probably safe to say that I was laying in bed complaining of how big my belly was, how gassy and uncomfortable my stomach felt, and how annoying these darn contractions were. I knew I was going to go into labor early. I was ready for it. But what I wasn't ready for was how drastically our lives would change.

If you have never given birth, or have never had a baby that wasn't the perfectly healthy child that you were expecting, you may not truly grasp what I am about to say.

The day Aiden was born was the scariest, most terrifying event I have ever experienced. My husband and I still wonder if we would have wanted to know the complications of our baby boy before that moment. Some parents find out ahead of time that something isn't right. We didn't. It wasn't until they placed Aiden in my arms that the silence of the labor and delivery team made sense to me. And even then, it still didn't.

I remember dissolving into tears for the millionth time a few days after Aiden was born as I asked Ricky if he thought we would always think of Aiden's birthday "as the worst day of our lives". Well, I may not have been able to be convinced otherwise at the time, but I will tell you that one year later I am able to answer that question for myself. Scary? Yes. Worst day of our lives? Absolutely not.

How do I know this? Here's how:

1. Aiden's smile completely melts my heart. He is 12 months old and toothless. He reminds me of a little old man without his dentures in. I think I'll cry when he gets his first tooth - both because I'll be happy to start introducing more than mushed baby foods, and also because I will no longer be able to run my finger across his smooth, silky gums without an obstacle. At that moment, he won't be a baby any longer.

2. You know that feeling that you get when a baby wraps their fingers around yours as if holding on for dear life without even seeming to notice? Multiply that by 100 and that is the amount of joy I felt when Aiden's surgical team made that possible for me when he was 9 months old. It puts things into perspective. The little things that some of us take for granted.

3. I've learned more in this past year about life, love and happiness than in my 27 years of existence. (Sorry mom and dad). My children are my world. My family is my everything. With all of the "unknowns" in life, I do know this...Aiden is going to prove me wrong every step of the way. I may worry about how he will handle teasing or if he'll be able to do normal everyday things like button up a shirt or tie his shoes. But I've seen some of these kids and what they've accomplished and I know that Aiden will do all that - and then some.

It's been one year since Aiden made his debut. One year since things were turned upside down. And one year since one of the VERY BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE. Now, it goes without saying that this hasn't been an easy year for us. We've had way too many "down" days, way too many doctors appointments and have become way too familiar with hospitals. But this past year has made me strong. It has tested my character and in some strange way brought out the best in me. Because of Aiden, I'm a better mom to Ethan, a better wife to my husband, and a much stronger person than I would have ever given myself credit for. As the saying goes - some things you just have to learn the hard way.

Happy 1st Birthday baby boy.


  1. Happy Birthday Aiden...and Taryn, you celebrate being a Mommy too.

  2. What a beautiful post! Happy Birthday Aiden! And Happy Day to the Skees Family!

  3. OMGosh Taryn I tried to stop commenting, really. :) Your inbox must say "EvergreenEden" like 8x by now. (Sorry.) But I am crying because of your beautiful writing and I thought you should know. I just can't say enough how glad I am Aiden came to you!