The birthday girl

Happy first birthday, little one.

I can hardly believe it’s already been a year. This time has somehow managed to both fly by, and drag on forever. The first year is always hard. You arrive a frail helpless baby who needs me for absolutely everything, and you grow into this waddling, laughing force of nature with a voice and strength that surprises me.

That laugh, the way that it wrinkles your whole face. Your cheeks are still plump and full and I hope that never changes. I also hope you never tire of me kissing them because I don’t think that I ever will.

You have your father’s eyes, just like your sister, which is wonderful because they are the most beautiful shade of blue.

Speaking of your sister, watching you two together has been one of my greatest joys in life. I love hearing the two of you play and laugh together.

I mean, it’s not all laughter. Sometimes you grip up one of her hard plastic toys tight in your little fist and bring it down on her head when she’s not looking.

Other times, she sees a toy that you’re happily playing with and steals it away from you, causing tears all around as I try and explain sharing to her or as I teach you not to hit.

God, you two are exhausting, but I wouldn’t change a thing because bringing you into this family has changed everything.

When your sister was born, she changed my life by making me a mother. When you were born, you changed my life by completing our family.

(And whether we have more children someday, or you remain our last baby forever, I want you to know that you completed us).

This past year was hard. We went from a family of four, to three, and then back to four again. You never met your Nana, and that will always kill me. The two of you would’ve been thick as thieves. She would have loved your chunky bits and your easy laugh. She would have also loved having extra snuggle time with your sister as they talked about you, watching you from a distance like you were an exhibit at the zoo.

All of that would have been wonderful and I ache for that life that never happened, but I know she smiles down on all of us.

You’ve changed so much. It’s crazy that you entered this world a tiny thing who could hardly keep her eyes open and you’re currently standing at the open recycling bin throwing empty water bottles into it.

You walk, you talk (you say “hi”), and you laugh easily and quickly. You’ve got a mouth full of teeth. They show every time you smile, which is wonderfully often. I don’t know what type of a person you will grow up to be, but I’m sure she will be someone who is quick to smile and laughs easily at a joke, which is perhaps your sister’s favorite quality about you. You are her favorite audience.

You are so loved and so cherished, my baby girl. Happy first birthday.