On this day last year I was curled up on my side in our car, breathing slowly and ready to be at the Women’s Birth and Wellness Center in Chapel Hill.
We arrived sometime after11 and Ada was born just minutes to noon.
It’s hard to believe she is one year old, but that’s the sentiment of every parent. We’ve seen her weigh 7 pounds, 2 ounces. We’ve seen her determinedly push her knees up under herself and develop her tiny little stomach muscles to begin learning to crawl at four months old.
We’ve seen her pull up on chairs at 6 months old and walk three steps sometime around 10 months. Now she doesn’t crawl at all, no hesitent steps left, no more dropping to her knees after a few steps in order to get there faster.
This child has taught me more than I could have ever imagine, and any of you that know me personally, know that has a lot to do with teaching me about foods and health and our commercialized food systems. Azita turned our world upside down and taught me so much about my self as a mother. When Ada came, that part came naturally and nature had a whole different lesson plan set out for us.
It’s hard to believe that at one point she didn’t exist. It’s hard to believe we used to live in an apartment and have no kids. That’s what Payman said when I asked him what he thought about Ada being a year old.
I really think we get the kids God sets out for us to have. My growth as a person, and Ada’s, isn’t an accident. We thought we were health nuts before and didn’t eat at restaurants or buy packaged foods, but we were kidding ourselves compared to now. Last night we were done grocery shopping and it would have been so nice to grab some food and not come home and cook.
But Ada has shown me that health is so much more important. I’ve learned to cook simply, quickly, completely homemade, with love and with the feeling that I’m nourishing her body for a long time to come. I’m in danger of becoming a radical here, but I can’t help it. Ada is allergic to some things that are healthy for you, avocados and strawberries. But that’s not what I’m a radical about now.
Obviously, it’s gluten and dairy and corn. It’s so funny to me now, looking back to when she was 2 months old and I skeptically decided to give up dairy to see if she’d nap longer and cry less, and I thought that without gluten and dairy I’d have nothing to eat.
Well here’s the news flash… I have nothing to eat on a Standard American Diet… which we think is so full of variety and that we eat better than most people in the world, but the truth is it’s just a variation on the theme of meat and gluten and dairy and is so utterly uncreative. French fries and a burger. Steak and potatoes. Chicken and rice. Honestly, I love those things, but they aren’t creative or fresh or inspiring or colorful or energy boosting like the food I eat now it.
And my little Ada showed me all that. Our kids are going to be amazingly healthier than we are, I hope. And I care so much about health because I think that energy and life are important to be a productive human addition to this planet, a happy and peaceful, spiritually-minded soul. If my body is exhausted, what time does my soul have to make the world a cheerier, more fair place?
I guess we just see so many of our family members and friends that are coping with diseases caused by food– and wouldn’t they be so much happier and more energetic and doing things that make their spirits feel fulfilled if they weren’t consuming things that drain energy?
So happy birthday Ada! You woke me up ten times last night because you have a cold. I’m a little tired. But it’s your birthday and all the gifts of your life have been to us. Despite any tiredness from the ins and outs of taking care of a baby, you give me vitality and life.