To my Baby, on Your First Birthday

Dear sweet girl,

I don’t even know how it’s possible that today you are an entire year old. It feels like the doctor placed you on my chest only weeks ago, not a year. It also feels like I have never known life without you.

A year ago today, at 12 am my water broke, and 19 hours later my life was changed forever.

When they placed you on my chest, you stared into my eyes and stopped crying. It was as if your soul had known my soul for a thousand years. My heart knew your heart. For the first time I felt a wholeness I have never felt before. I felt a love like I had never known before.

Every parent I knew had told me “you can’t describe it, you just can’t know what it feels like til you’re a parent yourself”, and boy were they right.

Words cannot describe the kind of love I have for you. I can try my best, but words don’t exist to truly describe it.

I still have that feeling every day. Every time you wrap your little arms around my neck and hug me, every time you give me an unprovoked kiss, every time I tell you to say “night night” to daddy, and you turn around with a smile and give him the biggest kiss, every morning I go to grab you from your crib and you beam up at me with your beautiful smile. Every day I feel that rush of overwhelming love for you, as if it is the first time you were placed on my chest.

This first year has been a crazy one.

I won’t sugar coat it… you were kind of a lot to handle the first few weeks of your life. You, like mama and dada, had no idea what was happening. You were floating around in my comfy, warm, safe belly just hanging out when all of a sudden my uterus forced you out of a cramped tiny canal, into a bright, cold, and loud world. I cannot imagine what an adjustment that must have been for you.

The first 3 weeks you cried…. a lot. There were moments when mommy cried too, and daddy and I stood in your nursery at 3 am perplexed about what could possibly be the problem as we changed you, fed you, burped you rocked you, and still you cried.

It was scary. You were this fragile little thing. You looked so breakable, and I just wanted to know what was bothering you so I could fix it. It was heartbreaking.

Looking back, I kind of feel like this is God’s way of giving us practice for your teen years. I know at some point in your older years, I’ll see you breaking, and won’t know how to help you. I hope we’ll have the type of relationship where you’ll feel comfortable coming to me and telling me what it is that’s hurting you, but I still won’t be able to fix it. That already breaks my heart.

These are the thoughts I have now as your mother.

I think about every moment of your existence that has already happened. I am in awe. In 12 short months you have changed so very much. You are talking, walking, dancing, playing, eating almost as much as mommy can (you definitely got your love for food from me).

I still remember like it was yesterday the first time you stubbornly flipped from your belly to your back in protest… at 2 months. You hated tummy time, so I guess that was your way of letting me know you weren’t having it!

You have kept that same stubborn determination ever since (also a trait you definitely got from me). You flipped from back to belly by 4 months, and were so determined to get to wherever you wanted to be you crawled a few days before you turned 5 months. You sure gave me and daddy a run for our money. Now you’re walking and I’m really in trouble!

I absolutely love your independent spirit. I see myself in you. I get it completely.

My mother always said “just wait til she wants to do everything on her own!” I think she saw that as something to be sad about, you trying to do things on your own. I truly admire that about you. I am that way. Watching you figure things out all on your own makes my heart sing. I hope you continue this love of independence.

I also hope you never hesitate to ask for help when you need it, a trait I am sorely lacking in. We need help sometimes. As someone who likes to do everything on my own, I can tell you now that it is draining. So never feel like you can’t ask me or daddy for help, no matter what it is.

Your laugh is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard in my life. You make us work for it, but that just makes it so much more rewarding.

Your smile can light up a room. Every time you crinkle you’re little nose and flash those tiny teeth at me, I swear my heart stops for a second. It is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.

You are quite the little animal lover! Almost every morning when I go to get you from your crib the first words that come out of your mouth are either “kitty” or “Rangeley!” I don’t know how you did it, but you clearly have those two wrapped around your little fingers. I have never seen a cat let a baby kiss them on the head, lay on them, pet them and follow them around the way Madi cat lets you. Rangeley has never brought a child a toy, but over the last few months she has brought you many. Watching you lovingly play with them and snuggle them makes me so happy. You have such a sweet gentle loving soul already my girl. I hope you never lose it.

I love the way you beam when I play music for you. Since day one, music has delighted you. I’ll never forget the first time daddy sang to you, and you sang back at him. You were 3 months old and he sang “ah ah ah”… and you repeated it right back with the biggest smile. Since then you have discovered lots of music, and your favorites by far are Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Shakira, Miranda Lambert, and The Beach Boys. You love to shake your booty, and head bang to the beat. I can’t wait to see what comes from your love of music! Grandpa is hoping you follow in his footsteps as a musician, but you can be anything you want my love!

I remember feeling like I wanted the first 3 months of your life to hurry up. They were the hardest. It was the time we were learning about each other the most. Now I wish we could go back and I could have every second all over.

I can’t imagine how fast the next few years will go, because I truly feel like I blinked and here we are on your first birthday.

I love every second I have with you precious girl. Every tear, every moment of frustration, every single milestone, cuddle, everything.

I am so grateful that by some chance you are my daughter. That your soul and my soul are connected forever.

I know a time will come when you will be older, we will have our disagreements, and you may not even like me sometimes… but the love I have for you won’t ever weaken. You’re a part of me.

I want you to know that even when you think you can’t come to me and tell me something, you can. I will never judge you, and if you feel like I am show me this letter to you and remind me. Know that a mother’s love is unconditional, and I will love and support you through anything. Anything baby girl, and I mean it.

I am so grateful for you, and I thank God every single day for you. I love you, and I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life watching you grow into the beautiful woman you were meant to be.

You will move mountains, and I will be here to help you, or support you along the way.

Happy first birthday baby girl.

Love always and forever,

Mama

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