Before my mother died when I was a teenager she asked her cousin—my godmother—to look after me in whatever mysterious ways my father couldn't. For many years, neither of us really knew what that meant. Then I got pregnant. Surely it was her job to throw me a baby shower.

I was of "advanced maternal age" at 37 years old, so I had accumulated some ideas about how the baby thing was going to go down. No pink. No diaper genie. No plastic junk.

My mom's cousin, careful not to overstep her bounds, asked if she could be the one to buy me a rocker or glider. I had researched rockers and gliders and thought they were mostly hideous to look at and also too big for the nursery we were setting up in our small house in Queens. I told my godmother thanks but no thanks. She bought me one anyway.


I was mad at first. I didn't even take it home from the shower (it wouldn't fit in the car!). But she insisted I would need it. I rolled my eyes, but the chair and its stuffy blue-and-white stripes found their way into my house somehow. The stinking thing even had an ottoman that rocked.

And then the baby came.

Oh, the hours I spent in that chair! My husband, too. Everybody who came to visit in those early days ended up in that ugly glider. We have photos to prove it. It became the place we nursed, the place we read, the place we cuddled and played peek-a-boo, patty-cake and more. Eventually, I had to admit that I was wrong, and say a proper thank you to my godmother.

I probably read Goodnight Moon about 1,800 times in that chair and sang "Rock a Bye Baby" at least a few hundred times, for sure.

I watched a mouse run across the room in the middle of the night once (eek) and rocked feverish bodies back to sleep many times.

I spent countless hours in the glider listening to the sounds of night—to breathing and thumbs being sucked and sirens rushing off to help less lucky people.

I had to yank tiny bodies off it when they were old enough to stand on it and rocked it too hard. I shouted, "Stop it! You're hitting the wall!!!" more times than I care to admit.

Eventually, the glider was put out for the trash. Our youngest daughter moved into a big-girl bed and we started to cuddle and read books there instead. The chair was stained to the point of embarrassment, anyway, and wasn't at all salvageable for someone else so it was the end of the line for ole stripey. But we had a good run, me and that glider chair that I never wanted.

Almost seven years.

The room has an easel now and a toy kitchen and small vanity, but when I walk in there I can still see the glider and changing table and crib. Getting rid of that stuff was the proverbial end of an era, and I am as excited about where I am in this whole motherhood journey now, as I am wistful about things long gone.

But I still miss the chair—the chair that showed me that I am not always right. That I don't always know what I need. And that it is good to have people like my godmother in your life when you're about to become a mom. People brave enough to occasionally steamroll you for your own good.

There are still dents in the wall behind where the chair used to be and my inclination is to leave them there as reminders of the dents we all have in our hearts—caused by love and loss and babies that grow up so very fast. So thank you, godmother. In case I never said it. It was the perfect gift.

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Baby's first birthday is right around the corner—how did that happen? It's understandable if you are feeling all the emotions right now. This is a major milestone for both of you, so while you're planning a celebration for your little one, you should also take this moment to applaud your accomplishments during this past year.

One year ago, you were probably daydreaming about these moments… and possibly slightly nervous about how you would manage. Look at you now, mama! But take a deep breath, because life is about to get even more exciting as your sweet little baby enters toddlerhood!

Here are a few of our favorite items for babies and mamas at the 11-month mark:

To cheer on first steps: Bright Starts rolling monkey

Bright Starts

It takes a lot of strength to get those little legs walking for the first time! Keep your baby encouraged as they gain stability with a new toy to chase down.


For mess-free snacking: Munchkin snack catcher

Munchkin Snack Catcher

As your baby begins to work on supervised self-feeding, you'll start to find crumbs everywhere. That's why training snack cups are so brilliant: They prevent them from dumping all those snacks at once.


For the first cake-cutting: Creative Converting first birthday party hat

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Get your camera ready for that first birthday! Sure, the party hat may only stay on your toddler's head for a few minutes, but the pictures will be around to cherish for a lifetime.


For those fine motor skills: Lamaze sorting toy

Lamaze toy

The fine motor development your baby is working on today will help with everything from playing instruments to writing with pencils and so much more later in life. Believe it or not, a simple sorting toy will help boost these foundational skills.


For breastfeeding support: Honest Mama nip balm

Honest nip balm

If you are on a breastfeeding journey with your growing babe, you two probably are in a pretty good rhythm—but your tatas still deserve some TLC.


For simple beauty touch-ups: Honest Beauty magic balm

Honest Beauty

It can still feel hard to find a spare moment for yourself throughout the day, but it also feels good to keep up with a beauty routine that is heavy on the self-care element. Enter: An incredible multi-purpose balm that can hydrate your lips, soothe cracked skin, tame flyaways and more.


For whatever life throws at you: All In Motion anorak jacket

All in Motion

Motherhood is all about multitasking, and your clothing should be able to take you from one activity to the next. Thankfully, the amazingly stylish activewear on the market right now means you can feel good about a wardrobe stable that is able to multitask, too.


For baby’s first cake: KitchenAid hand mixer

Kitchen Aid

If you've been pinning ideas for that first birthday cake since you gave birth, make those dreams a reality with an upgraded mixer you can use throughout the years. Not much of a baker? Visit Target Bakery for a free smash cake with the purchase of a specialty cake!


For chasing that active baby: C9 Champion women’s knit sneakers

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You might be surprised by how quickly your toddling baby turns into a running baby. So lace up those shoes, mama!


For your favorite photos: Project 62 wire clip collage

Project 62

How many pictures have you taken in the past year? We're betting it's a pretty high number, and at least a few of those deserve to be displayed in your home. Make it easy to swap them out with a frame that allows you to display multiple pictures at once.


This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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