Oh, my sweet baby girl...
I absolutely cannot believe that we've already been blessed by your presence for a whole year! On this day, your birthday, I remember one year ago...how tired I was, how when they handed you to me you were face down and I was too weak and overwhelmed to be able to flip you over. I just kept repeating softly, "Can someone...um...she's upside down. Can someone...help?" And they did. And I got to gaze into your beautiful scrunched up face.
You were so beautiful to me then and you are even more beautiful to me now. I had been worried, before you were born, that I wouldn't love you, that we wouldn't bond. Oh, how very very wrong I was! I have always loved you.
You've come a long way this year. From a teeny little infant to a peanut of a toddler! I may have lamented the fact that I had to go to bed with you in our early months and that you wouldn't sleep anywhere but on me for so long, but I wouldn't have changed a bit of it. As you sleep peacefully in your crib (right now!) I sit and write this to you and hope that someday you will read it and begin to understand how much I love you. I try to show you every day but sometimes things get in the way. Exhaustion. Bad drivers. Spilled snacks. Pulled hair. Little things that really don't mean anything but can frustrate a mama in the moment. I will try harder. You deserve the best.
That first toothless grin...watching you learn to sit up...and now, as you tentatively take those first halting steps. Every moment has been precious to me. This year has been one of the more intense years of my life. I suppose they warn you, before that bundle of joy arrives, that it will be, but there's really no way to prepare. No way to really understand what you're in for. Sleepless nights, unexplained screaming fits, fussing, lots of poop...sure. But then there's all the other stuff.
The wonder. The excitement. The regular everyday stuff that now seems thrilling. The first time you slept in the co-sleeper. The first time you slept in the crib! The first bite of food...and the subsequent hilarious faces. The first time you rolled over. The time I realized you really could roll far as I came back to the nursery after placing you on the playmat for a moment and finding you nearly underneath the crib. The first food victory where I finally figured out a meal that you not only tolerated, but loved! (Pears with vanilla and balsamic vinegar, for the record.) Seeing you pull yourself to standing for the first time. Watching as you let go and balanced on your own for the first time! Staring with wonder and amazement as you took several steps without any assistance. (Wow!) Being surprised (though I shouldn't be) when I ask if you can clap and without missing a beat, you do! The way you try to put all kinds of things into...other things. (Related: finding blocks in your snack trap.)
You are a pretty easygoing kid, I think, though I suppose I don't have anyone else to compare you to. You're pretty adaptable and though you're a little shy at first, you warm right up and give such love to everyone that I'm constantly amazed by it. You're such a friendly baby, not at all like your socially awkward, introverted mother. Not that there's anything wrong with being an introvert but I do hope you aren't as painfully shy a child as I was! You don't seem to have preferences for most things yet, except food. Lucky for me, you aren't fixated on any particular color of clothing, or lovey, or type of toy. (Though now that I say that, what will tomorrow bring?)
It has been so bittersweet these last few days to think about your first birthday. Such a milestone! And you won't even remember! But I will. I think you had a good day, and with two parties still to come!
I love you baby girl. (You will always be my baby girl, even though now I suppose you're my toddler girl!) Being your mama has been the most rewarding job I've ever had. You are a joy to me...I look forward to seeing how you grow and change. I don't ever want you to grow up but I can't wait to see the little person you are becoming!