My daughter turns one year old today. It feels so different to celebrate her first birthday than it did with my son.
She came into the world fast and furious, eight days before her due date. Some of the year still seems like a total blur. The sweet newborn snuggles. The worry about her weight. Feeling like I was drowning myself I was drinking so much water so I could nurse enough. Watching her personality emerge. Watching her relationship with her brother grow. The rolling over, the crawling, the standing, and most recently watching her tentatively take a step or two before deciding she’d rather crawl or hold onto something. The total peace with that because her brother was so lightning fast with his physical milestones and it all goes so quickly. Recognizing how different everything is now.
With my son, I was so concerned about what the books said- did he do everything right on time or was I doing this right and choosing a schedule seemed the most important task of parenting and the comparison and the guilt seemed overwhelming at times and his first birthday felt like a triumph, an amazing feat of motherhood that I wasn’t sure would ever come because those early days are so hard and as a first time mom I didn’t know what came after them. This time around, it still feels like a triumph and somethings I wasn’t sure would ever come, but only in the sense that this year has reinforced for me how fragile life can be and made me realize we aren’t entitled to a single day, so hallelujah for the miracle of birthdays and the gifts of another year. But there’s also a sadness at how it seems I blinked and she grew up so much. How hard it’s going to be when those big blue eyes look up at me with tears because the days are coming where I’ll have to discipline her instead of just hold and cuddle her. Where her tears will be about things I can’t control, and those tears won’t be comforted by a nursing session and a nap. And so the whole day seems very bittersweet. My baby is transitioning to toddlerhood and while that makes me want to cry a little, I’m also very thrilled because, since this isn’t my first rodeo, I know what kind of milestones to look forward to as well. And I’m excited about them.
Similar to her brother, we’ll be celebrating with a day of her favorite things and a special birthday book, unlike her brother we’ve scaled back on the birthday party idea (she’s a bit more sensitive than my son who is a total extrovert and even he was totally on system overload at his first birthday- but more details on that in next week’s blog post!)
She has no teeth but she can devour a meal of solids. She has been a primary reason for resilience during a hard year of wondering why the world is full of so much darkness. She has been a primary reason for the overly emotional responses that come from sleepless nights. She does things on her own timeline, she makes her opinions known, she amazes me. Though she be but little she is fierce. We never know what we’ll get from her moment to moment- fairy princess or amazon warrior woman. And I hope that lasts long past her first birthday, because she can be both. Happy birthday to my incredible daughter. I thank God for you every single day.