Tomorrow is my daughter Scarlett’s first birthday. While I’m on the road today speaking to 4-H youth about leadership (stay tuned for an upcoming blog post about it), tomorrow we have big plans to take Scarlett to see the “Lego Man” at the library, to play at the park, and to get ready to celebrate with our extended family this weekend during her birthday bash.
It’s hard to believe a year has gone by. In the blink of an eye, our 8-pound bundle of joy has grown into a feisty toddler. Reflecting on the last 365 days, I feel like a totally different person than I did before having a baby. I think it’s making me a better ranch wife because of it. Instead of thinking five or 10 years down the road, my goals now extend to 20-30 years, and now my focus is on building a legacy on our ranch to pass down to my children. And I’m more excited than ever before to share our ranch life with our daughter.
Speaking of “ranch wives,” in case you missed yesterday’s blog post, be sure to read: Is the term “rancher’s wife” out of date in 2015?
As year-one draws to a close, I decided to write down the 4 lessons I’ve learned in my first 365 days as a parent:
1. Having an infant in the house is like being in calving season year-round.
Just like we lose sleep during calving season with night checks and long days of tending to new calves, infants don’t care if you get much sleep either. Although the first few months were the worst, our little girl still likes to get up once each night. Of course, I love our quiet nights spent together in the rocking chair, but needless to say, I didn’t have much sympathy for my husband during calving season when he was whining about being tired!
2. Having a baby around creates awful but wonderful messes.
I swear, a large portion of my day is spent following Scarlett around and cleaning up her messes. Whether she’s covered in food from head to toe, tearing all of the books off the shelf, emptying out my kitchen drawers, leaving fingerprints on all of my windows, or attempting to eat grass and dirt when we are outside on the ranch, I keep busy cleaning up the awful, wonderful messes our daughter makes through the day. Even though I’m now a pro at this cleaning business, I know she is making memories as she meanders from one mess to the next, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
3. Everything is a new adventure.
From attending her first cattle show at 8 weeks old, to going to the zoo for the first time, to helping plant my garden, to riding in the tractor with Grandpa, every new adventure Scarlett gets to experience is a joy to watch from the eyes of a parent. Recreating the great memories I had from my childhood has been such a blessing, and I know we are only going to have more fun as a family as Scarlett gets older.
4. Love is so much stronger.
I thought I loved my parents, my sisters, my husband, my dogs, my cattle, and my friends, but nothing compares to the love a mother feels for her daughter. Scarlett flipped my world upside down, but everything now feels right with her by my side. She’s my constant companion, whether I’m blogging (I’ll blame my typos on her!) or I’m outside working on the ranch. I’ve forgotten what life was like without her.
As I complete my first 365 days as a ranch mom, I feel very blessed to be able to stay home with her while continuing to write for BEEF and play an active role on our ranch. Thank you for allowing me to share this life with all of you!
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.
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