Rosemary, dad and I are so excited to celebrate your first birthday (albeit a little sad to see you leave babyhood)! It’s been such a great year and we both wanted to reflect on it, so you get a little love letter from both of us…
Where has this year gone? I remember checking into the hospital like it was yesterday. Seeing your face for the first time over the operating curtain. You were so upset! I remember staying in the hospital for a few days, recovering and experiencing an emotional roller coaster, telling dad through a stream of tears that I loved you so much already. I wouldn’t let anyone hold you, and I was suddenly so jealous that everyone else got to be around you when it was just me until then. I didn’t think it was possible to love something so much. How was that a year ago?
I love you even more now than I did then. I love you more now than I did yesterday. I think I’ll love you more every day forever. I love the way you lean in for a kiss, even when you’re busy doing something else. I love the way you make me laugh all day (sometimes I’ll just look over at you and your little chubby cheeks will just crack me up!). I love how excited you are to see me, even if I only left the room a few minutes prior. Even without saying it, I know you love me just as much.
We’ve made it through a lot this year. Breastfeeding, baby sicknesses (minor, but scary!), that long five months without a nap – we made it! Dad went back to work after two months, and I stayed home, so we had a lot of one on one time. We had to figure out so much together. Things that I didn’t even think to prep myself for – stupid things like how to open a door and push a stroller through. Or where to put you when you outgrew the rock ‘n’ play and I needed to go to the bathroom. I can truly say that I tried my very best. As a mom, you never know if what you’re doing is right, but I did my best and can only hope that the thick layer of love conceals any missteps.
I’m looking forward to what the next year will hold! With each new accomplishment, I feel such a rush of pride – not because I taught you or because you are reflection of me – but because I’m so excited for you! Next year, you’ll be walking and saying some words. I wonder if you’ll say “mama” and mean it. Will you tell me you love me? Your little mind has grown so much in the past year, and will only continue to learn and explore this little world you live in.
Rosemary, always know how much I love you. If one day youre reading this, and you’re mad at me, know that I’m sorry. If you feel ignored, know that every precious little noise and smile has been cherished and remembered. If you feel unloved, know that you are my precious angel, and that I love you always, no matter what. If I’m not around, know that every moment spent with you has been the greatest moment of my life.
I love you, sweet girl!
One Year Old (One Year Older)
I can’t believe how fast the last year has been – and I can’t believe that you’re already a year old. The past year has been predominantly amazing and, at times, terrifying. You’ve been the highlight of each of the past 365 days, and I love you so much. I’m astounded by how much you’ve changed in the last twelve months, and I’m so excited to see where the next week, month, and year take you. There’s so much more in store for you, and I’m so excited for your mom and I to be by your side for it as much as is possible.
You’ve been a great baby this past year. There have been challenges, but it’s so rewarding to see you smile or laugh or learn that all of the frustration washes away. Your mother has been incredible, staying by your side every hour of every day and loving you more for it. It was tough when I had to go back to work a couple of months after you were born, and it’s been tougher the last couple of months when I’ve been traveling. Even when I’m on the road, the highlights of my day are the times when I get to see your face during our ‘screen time’.
My favorite memories by month:
- first: the doctor calling you a sumo wrestler in your first moment out of the womb (it’s unclear whether he was referring to your chunkiness or your core strength, so we’ll assume the latter); the nurses referring to you as “that baby that won’t stop screaming” as we made our way to the post-partum room; the fact that you lost a point on your APGAR exam because – shocker – you’re super pale; the fear I held because you seemed so fragile early on, and because you were losing weight early on
- second: your first smiles (spurred on by nose boops); your semi-permanently crossed eyes; the relief when you were finally gaining weight (and quickly!)
- third: the way you turn in your bassinet at night and squish your face closer to us; the way you stretched when we took you out of a swaddle; the final days I had with you before going back to work
- fourth: you were drooling so much that we thought you were teething (you weren’t; you were just drooling); the way you started trying to sit up and stand (with our help); your first laughs when you pulled the glasses off of my face
- fifth: your first solid food (and how little of it actually made it into your mouth); the first night I ever spent away from home after you were born (which is never as much fun as being around you!)
- sixth: the first night we had you sleep in your nursery rather than in our bedroom; how excited you would get when we pick you up out of your crib in the mornings
- seventh: your dedication at Church with our family; your first Halloween, and the great flamingo costume your mother made you; our trip to Zoo Atlanta when you spent most of the timing staring at walls and fences because we kept you in a stroller the whole time
- eighth: your first Thanksgiving down in Florida, when your great grandfather called you a “healthy chunk of a girl” – which was accurate; your obsession with the letter O in all its forms (and Juneau’s obsession with chewing the letter O); our first vacation to Hilton Head Island where you dipped your toes in ocean (and cried)
- ninth: your first Christmas, and you playing with your cousins; your fascination with peekaboo Elmo and mild discomfort around the Cabbage Patch doll we gave you
- tenth: your acceptance of nap time (black-out blinds are great!); your tendency to sprint-crawl into the kitchen as quickly as possible so you could try to eat dog food or pull food out of the bottom cabinets
- eleventh: your first tooth (allaying our fears that you would be the first toothless human); your chubby cheeks in your new wraparound hat
- twelfth: the moment when you learned how to clap (finally); your fascination with peekaboo Elmo transitioning to utter terror; the way you bow your head for a kiss when your mother or I get close
I love you so much Rosemary, and I always will. Happy first birthday!