A Letter to my Birthday Girl

ZoeBear,

Time is an amazing thing. Last year I was meeting you for the first time. You were so tiny. So perfect. You were the most beautiful thing I’d ever laid eyes on. You were completely dependent on us for your every need, you couldn’t even lift your head. And today, 365 days later, you were all over the place, flipping over us in bed, laughing, squealing, crawling up and down, playing with toys, eating right alongside us, and recovering from your big party yesterday.

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A year ago, I had no idea how to be your mother, and I still don’t, but you don’t seem to mind. You’ve taught me every step of the way. Even when you were so fragile that you couldn’t lift your head, you still found a way to show me how to take care of you. It was hard, and I had to guess a lot, but we figured it out…you and me, we’re good like that. I’ll never forget one of the first evenings that you and I were by ourselves because your daddy went to a draft party. You had a tummy ache and didn’t know how to handle the pain. I didn’t know how to take away your pain, or how to handle you in pain. I called your daddy sobbing, while you screamed in the background, and asked if he had any ideas. He didn’t. Somehow, we made it through those couple hours. We both cried ourselves to sleep that night. There’s been other times, times of great joy, like when you signed back to us for the first time, or rolled over! Oh what a big deal that was! I cried the first time that you had to have your blood taken, and every time you had to get a shot. I also cried the first time that you put your pacifier in your mouth for the first time, and the first time you ate a full meal of just table food. I cheered the first time that you crawled, and climbed up the stairs. And, I was completely taken back the first time your told me “no”, and meant it. Every little step has been celebrated with the greatest joy, and every speed bump has been {hopefully} kept in perspective.

A year ago, I thought I could only be satisfied working in a crowd of people, surrounded by my peers. I now know that there’s nothing I would rather do than hang out with you all day long. I don’t know if you’re my shadow, or if I’m yours, but, either way, we spend our days together. All day. Every day. And it’s the highlight of my life right now. You are one of the coolest girls I know, and you get cooler every day. Some days, we hang out around the house all day long, lounging around in our pj’s until the afternoon nap. Other day we gallivant around town, running errands and enjoying crowds. You seem to love it either way. And, to date, you’ve never turned down a playdate..you’re kind of a socialite.

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It wasn’t that long ago that I was single, carefree, and living life on a whim. Marriage didn’t really change that. I hadn’t been married much longer than a year when I had you. I had no idea how life changing 12 hours of labor could be. You anchored me. I never thought I’d rejoice at an anchor, but I rejoice in you. I see everything through the eyes of a mom now. There’s nothing that comes my way that I don’t think of you, whether it’s just watching the news or planning a road trip. Speaking of watching the news, I can’t anymore. I probably would never let you out of the house if I did. There’s other things that have changed too. Like, when I go into a Starbucks I want to know if they have a changing table in the bathroom, who knew I would ever think of things like that? I certainly didn’t.

Yesterday, we were driving home, and I could see you at 16. All grown up. A teenager. Carefree. You were laughing, and we were enjoying each other’s presence. I started crying. I know that you’re going to grow up, and that our roles will ebb and flow as every relationship does. But, for right now, you’re my little girl. You curl into me when I pick you up after a nap. You lay your head on my chest and rest for a while. You give me spontaneous kisses throughout the day. You laugh at my jokes. I love it. I love every second of it. I’m going to love it when you’re 16 too. And, you’re still going to be my little girl then…I just won’t call you that in front of your friends. Because I’m cool like that.

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I can’t believe how much we’ve changed this year. I can’t believe how much you’ve changed this year, and how much you’re about to change! We’re headed straight for the toddler stage. I can already tell it’s going to be a good time. And, if I were a bettin’ woman, I would say that we’ll probably get through this the same way we got through our first year together…a little bit of experience, a few books, advice from moms who’ve been here before, a whole lot of guessing, some tears, and a whole lot of laughing. It’s going to be awesome!

I love you to the moon and back, my darling ZoeBear.

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6 responses to “A Letter to my Birthday Girl

  1. Precious! It reminds me so much of my first year with Grace, over 9 years ago. You speak so many things that are in my heart as well. Thank you for sharing.
    oh, when you go on your first national speaking/book tour, can I go along as your personal trainer? šŸ˜‰

  2. so so sweet!!! i love the pics and looks like the party was a blast! šŸ™‚

  3. So sweet. Wow–think of the day Zoe’s reading this herself, marveling in how totally and unconditionally she is loved! What a blessing! This is beautiful, and such a gift. God did a good thing in making you a mom! Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Happy birthday (UGH I am so behind šŸ˜¦ I’m sorry) dear Zoe!!!!

  5. This was a great post, I loved reading it!

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