One year down, a lifetime to go for 2016’s first baby in Lake County - December 30, 2016

Courtesy of The Chicago Tribune  •  December 30, 2016

By Javonte Anderson, Post-Tribune

There’s an unexplainable bond between mother and son. Robyn Johnson, who had her first son a year ago at 34, pauses as she tries to gather the right words to explain the affection she has for her first and only child.

“It’s like once he’s here, he’s always been a part of you,” Johnson said. “It’s like I don’t even remember what life was like before.”

Johnson, of Gary, gave birth to Robin Grant Johnson, at 3:52 a.m. on New Year’s Day 2016. He was the first baby born in 2016 at Methodist Hospitals Northlake in Gary.

Despite being born with a heart defect and having heart surgery in May, Johnson said Robin is now fully healthy.

Johnson said it’s been a joyous first year of motherhood replete with several teachable moments.

“It’s been a very eventful year,” she said. “Without a doubt it’s been a learning experience and a lot of happy times.”

Robin marked his first Christmas with “Santa” bringing him a lot of developmental toys, Johnson said. But Robin was unimpressed with everything except his favorite toy: boxes.

“As far as Christmas goes, he got boxes because that’s what he played with,” she said. “Boxes are his favorite because he can put it in his mouth. Anything else didn’t matter to him.”

In addition to playing with boxes, Robin really enjoys music, Johnson said.

His favorite song is The Temptations version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Johnson said. To express his satisfaction, baby Robin lays on his back smiling, exposing his lone tooth that grew in last month before giving a “little shake.”

But beneath the joy that having a baby brings there’s fear, Johnson said. A fear that creeps up on her every time she sees her reflection in his brown eyes.

“It’s kind of scary still because he looks to you for everything,” she said. She understands that she bears the burden of ensuring her son leads a comfortable, healthy and happy life.

“He look to me for all the answers, all the input, all the food, all the caring and nurturing,” she said, adding that the initial pressure of becoming a mother for the first time is akin to receiving a new appliance without any instructions. “It’s kind of humbling just trying to lead my life and his.”

Throughout the last year Johnson said that she’s learned to have patience and trust her maternal instincts.

“Being with him so much he can have a look and I know what he wants,” she said.

Johnson said it’s been a steep learning curve but said she has a strong support system that makes her job easier.

For the past year, Johnson has not only been learning how to be a mother but she also has developed as a person, she said.

“I’ve become a better version of myself being responsible for someone else,” she said.

As she looks back, Johnson said it’s been a successful year.

“He’s growing properly and he hit all of his milestones,” she said, adding that he can stand but isn’t walking yet. “He celebrated all the holidays and season so it’s been good.”

As 2016 comes to a close, Johnson said she’s excited to celebrate Robin’s first birthday.

“It should be fun,” she said. “He’ll get to play in cake.”