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It is amazing how having a baby changes a family’s dynamic.  Suddenly some family becomes closer to you and your new or growing family.  Sometimes it pushes some family further away.  And then there are other times it just brings out the true colors in the rest.  While we are busy preparing for Cora’s first birthday party this weekend, I am looking back on her first year with all of this family and seeing what she has done for us all.

I have watched my Husband’s parents struggle with their relationship with our daughter.  I think there are several factors that go into this, that with time will get easier.  These are factors though, that I don’t think my Husband or I thought would play such a big part.

Then there are my husbands siblings.  They have more important things to attend to than her baptism, birth or birthday.  They have only seen her very few times, have no relationship with her and don’t know anything about her unless it is posted on Facebook.

On the other hand, I have watched how Cora has brought my siblings and I closer.  My brother called today, as he stood in the toy aisle at Walmart, he was overwhelmed by all the options for a perfect birthday gift.  He didn’t want to screw it up.  Him, his wife, and my nephew drive out more often and join us for more adventures with the kids than they ever did before.

My sister lives with us, so that is a given.

Cora has given my Mom more hope and happiness as we continue to deal with my Dad and his declining Alzheimer’s.

Then there is even more extended family on both sides.  They haven’t made a move to come meet her and for that matter we haven’t made a move to go to them.  Others we have seen more in the past year than we have in the past 5 years combined! It isn’t just about meeting up for the obligatory Christmas dinner anymore because there is a baby to be held on a random day in May!

And then there are the friends we consider family.  The ones that aren’t hesitating giving up their Saturday to attend a 1 years olds birthday party.  (I promised wine though!) These are the ones that Cora also has a relationship with. The ones that lay on the floor with her while she plays whack-a-mole on their heads.  The ones that keep tabs on her.  The ones that ask for more pictures on social media.  (I post too much, I think.)  The ones that are near and far that love her very much and enjoy seeing her grow. The ones that could have distanced themselves from me because they enjoy a kid free life and lets face it, those with babies, can kill a social life.

I’m not pitting this as one family against the other or one friend against the other. I remember when I was pregnant, the hubby and I would talk about the relationships some may have with our child.  You dream about those first meetings after her birth, the holiday get-togethers, the birthday parties.  We eventually had to let all those preconceived notions fly out the window.  They were wrong.  What we have today is a lot of love surrounding us in a way we never could have imagined.  At the end of the day, isn’t that all that matters?