Tuesday, August 5, 2014

One Year

Dear R,


Last week, on July 29th, you turned one year old.  Did I know this day was coming?  Surely.  I was cautioned by moms who have walked before me that this birthday would come tumbling toward us, fast and furiously, and boy they were right.  I've tried to articulate the experience that your first year of life has been like for me but words tend to fail me.  Bliss.  Magic. Chaos. Exhaustion. Joy. Love. Love. Love.   The year has been all of those things, and then some.  From the moment I knew you were on our way to us I have cherished, prayed for, and celebrated you.  I don't need a date on a calendar to remind me to celebrate how wonderful you are and how you have made us a family.  I hope you always know that I put you first and that your happiness and well-being are at the core of every decision I make.   We have all learned together this year and figured it out as we went along.  Some months were clouded in a fog of sheer exhaustion (particularly months 1-5...OY VEY CHILD.)  Others...endless joy that I didn't even know was possible.  No matter how hard or easy things are, it never changes the way we feel about you.  You're like Christmas morning every day.

We've had quiet a year, you and me.  We've spent endless hours snuggling, reading, soothing you while nestled tightly in your baby wrap, and exploring our city together.  We celebrated all of your "firsts" and I'm still surprised at how bittersweet they are.  You are such a fun loving and curious little girl that you can make any ordinary outing fantastical (groceries! library! walks!).  Your personality continues to come bursting through and your fiesty and independent streak is something your dad and I applaud and try to foster every day.  It can make things challenging at times (as in....you want what you want and you want it NOW!) but I know it is a trait that is inherent to you and will serve you well as you grow into a strong and assertive woman.


I look back on this time last year and remember myself feverishly researching every parenting topic and coming up with a plan for how I was going to do things.  Sleep training?  Check.  Breastfeeding? Duh. Co-Sleeping?  You know it.  Do you know how funny this is to me now?  Things did not go according to plan.  Not one little bit.  Some things went way better than I could have hoped for. Others...not so much.  But the good stuff is in all those little details.  Like how you would get up every 2-3 hours for months and months when everyone told me you "should" be sleeping through the night.  I knew in those quiet moments, as I was rocking you that this too would pass whether I liked it or not.  And despite my bleary exhaustion, I clung to those moments because I knew that they would be over in the blink of an eye.  That eventually you would sleep through the night (thank you) and before I knew it you would be launching yourself out of my arms, ready to play and take on the world.   Even on the weekends when your dad would take over the middle of the night wake ups, I would be sad that I missed out on that special time with you.  

On your birthday eve I soaked you in, just like I did in our first days together.  I shed a few tears after we laid you down in your crib that night, knowing that in the morning our world will have shifted just the tiniest bit.  Maybe it's because of the long and crooked road it took to reach you, but you have healed holes in my heart that I didn't know were there.  You've become my most important contribution to this world and I couldn't be more grateful.

Happy Birthday my sweet little monkey monkey!


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