We spent yesterday celebrating you. One year and two days ago I wrote you a letter, full of all my questions and dreams and emotions the night before I met you. Then you were here. You arrived with little fuss, and snuggled right into the hollow of my neck. I held you there for hours, determined to savor every fleeting moment that I could. Because this time, baby girl, I knew how swiftly those hours and days and months would disappear. So I tried to enjoy every cuddle, to memorize your tiny fingers, to marvel at how easily you dropped off to sleep, like a little kitten. But of course I couldn’t hold on to that tiny you. The moments flowed over my open hands and now here you are, one year old.
In my first letter to you I had so many questions. A few of those have been answered. Your eyes are brown. You were tiny, and even the newborn outfit I brought to the hospital for you was a bit big. You gained most of your weight in your cheeks (we still call you Squishy Face sometimes). At first you fell asleep at the drop of a hat, once in the middle of the floor among all your toys. Now you fight sleep a bit more, but as long as I rock you and sing your favorite songs you usually drift off without trouble. You are pretty calm and laid back, with a good dose of fearlessness, but your little personality and temper are starting to show, especially when sister doesn’t want to share, or mama walks by without picking you up.
I love every new detail I learn about you. I didn’t draw a fancy first year stats chalkboard for you (sorry, second child problems) but I know every item that would be written there. Your favorite book is Toes, Ears, and Nose. You love music, and are quick to get your wiggle on and clap your hands when you hear a dance tune. You adore your sister, and follow her around like a puppy (which alternately delights and annoys her). Your favorite food is Everything, as long as you can feed yourself. No really, you’ve yet to turn down anything I’ve given you, including pancakes, broccoli, strawberries, rice, cheese, and even shredded chicken, even though you only have two teeth. We’ll find out your height at your next well-check, but you weighed 19 lbs exactly on your birthday.
You were such a contented little baby (nursery workers would tell me all the time you never cry), and though separation anxiety is beginning to set in you are still overall a radiantly happy girl. Your wrinkled up nose face and lifted eyebrow just slay me. Your wheezing laugh is hilarious. I hope you never learn how much power your grins has, or I will never be able to punish you. Ever. You took your time learning to crawl, and it looks like walking will be on your timetable and not the chart’s. And I’m totally fine with that. I have every confidence that you will get there at just the right time (and I’m happy to postpone that next layer of baby-proofing for as long as possible).
I still have lots of unanswered questions, and I pray for you every day. I pray you will grow in grace and love, that you will be brave and compassionate, fiercely loyal, and kind to everyone. Most of all I pray that you will learn to love God with that same intensity that makes you squeal and pinch my cheeks with your hands because you are just so excited to see my face. If I do nothing else right as your mom except teach you the love of Christ I will still feel like a success.
So I will have my pockets of sadness, and my heart will sting and ache as I watch you grow up and away from me, but none of that will match the joy and pride I feel as you become the toddler, girl, young lady, and woman God created you to be. And anyway, no matter how big you get you will always be my baby. I love you forever.
Special thanks to Heather Kleber Photography for these beautiful first birthday photos.