To My Daughter On Her First Birthday

Sweetest Heart, Today is your first birthday. Right now you're in your crib, chattering away at me because nap times mean nothing to you. You rule the world with a chubby fist and absolutely everyone knows it.

Thank you for being my baby. I can't begin to explain the way I love you - there are no words for that. All day I've been thinking about your birth and your birth day. How was it a year ago when it feels like yesterday and like last century? Time and sleep deprivation can play tricks on you.

There wasn't a rush of love, my world didn't shift- it wasn't like you've read in books or seen on TV. There was a feeling that you had always been with me and of course now you were in my arms because where else could you possibly belong? We have belonged together from the beginning.

You latched on right away and seemed to need to be held as much as I needed to hold you. Eventually we kicked Daddy out of bed and it was our cuddle space. You'd wake up in the middle of the night to nurse and I'd sort of wake up too. We would both drift off as I fed you. It was so much like still being pregnant with you.

Slowly over this year you have grown up and away from me. We are two from one. Sometimes I want to snatch all of the time back, rewind the clock back to that hospital bed where all I had to do was hold you and marvel at your perfection. But I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

Somehow I thought that it would be easier this second time. I thought that not getting sick with postpartum depression or anxiety meant that your babyhood would be a breeze. As with many, many other things - I was so wrong. You got my nose, my chin, my temper, my stubbornness, and my volume. You did not get my intense and abiding love of sleep. It's been more than a year since I slept well - you owe me, kiddo!

This has been so hard to write - the words and feelings are tripping over each other and snarling my fingers up on the keyboard. How do I explain how intensely wanted you were when you were just a speck on a screen? How do I apologize for expecting your birth and life to heal me? How do I describe the feeling of making you laugh, hearing you say "Mama", or having you walk over to me and crawl into my lap and sigh?

The things I want for you are immense. I am so greedy on your behalf. The way I love you has changed me and made me more than I was before. There are so many things I am scared of, but so many risks that I am going to take because I want become the person you deserve to have as a mom.

You amaze me every day. I could hold you forever.

Please stop biting me.

All my heart,

Mama