In about 12 hours, my baby girl will be a year old. A whole year. She won’t be a baby anymore, she’ll be an actual KID. Sweet Jeebus, I am freaking out. But, as her mother and an adult (allegedly), I will attempt to pull myself together long enough to write this, a letter to my love on her first birthday.
To My Sweet Baby Girl,
One year ago, the doctor placed you on my chest, and I was changed. You were crying and wiggling and clearly not enjoying the act of being born, but when I touched you, you stopped, and you looked around, and you closed your eyes, and breathed the sweetest baby breath on me. That moment, like so many of the past year, killed me and brought me to life all at once. In that moment, I knew I was destined not to be a mom, but to be your mom. And for every one of the last 365 days, I have been honored to try to live up to the title.
The last year has been the very best year of my life, bar none. To be completely honest, I barely remember the hard days. There were very few. You were an absolute GEM of a baby, from day 1 till now. You smiled at 4 weeks (and it wasn’t gas, that’s a load of crap, pun intended). You laughed for the first time, oh my God that glorious laugh, on Halloween. Before I subjected you to what I think was an adorable first Halloween costume, but that will undoubtedly come back to bite me on the ass one day. You sat up at 4 months, rolled over shortly after that, and started babbling almost at birth. You said your first word on April 15, 2011. Care to guess what it was? Let me put it this way, when you turn 16 and want your dad to buy you a car, this is what he’s gonna throw in your face (it was mama!). Now, you say lots of words, like mama, dada, hat, baby, pop, up, moo. You’re not what I would call a quiet kid. You got your first tooth the day you turned 7 months, and they came in like gangbusters after that. In fact, your Aunt Erin calls you Chompers, because you have 7 teeth, and Lola, your cousin who is only a week younger, just got her first 2. Clearly, you excel in teeth. You also just recently started walking! Which, and you’ll understand what I’m about to say once you have kids of your own, has me simultaneously thrilled and terrified and heartbroken. Thrilled because HELLO!?! You just got like 10 times more fun. Terrified because you aren’t the steadiest on your feet just yet, but you don’t seem to realize that. Or care. And heartbroken because, well, NOT walking was the one thing keeping you a baby, my baby. Now, you can run from me when I want to snuggle.
There’s so much that you learned in the past year, it’s amazing to watch. Everyday you do something new, something different. A new sound, or a new word, or something new that you’ve mimicked from us. I am in awe, everyday, of you. For what you’ve learned, but also, for what you’ve taught me. Being your mom has completely changed my life, my heart, my philosophy, my soul. You have taught me to let go of the little things that I cannot control or change. You’ve taught me that laughing in the face of tears is the best time to laugh. You’ve taught me that patience, while not easy to come by, is indeed a virtue. I’ve learned to slow down, and let life just be what it’s supposed to be. From you, I’ve learned not to judge, to accept that I’m not perfect and should not expect perfection from anyone else. I’ve learned that it’s ok to make mistakes, because there are people who will not only love me in spite of them, but in some cases, because of them. Most importantly, you’ve taught me not to be afraid to love with abandon, wildly and blindly and passionately and deeply. I’ve learned, from you, my tiny little baby girl, that the greatest thing I can do is love someone more than I love myself; it’s the only thing that will set you free.
Thank you, sweet Dylan Rose, for picking me. For trusting me. For teaching me. For loving me. Happy, happy, the happiest of birthdays to you, my heart. I love you, I love you, a million times over, I love you.