Give me a minute. I’m a mess.
Everyone tells you, “Enjoy every moment because the time will pass by so quickly.” You have no idea what that means until the day your first baby turns one. It feels like just yesterday I was lying in bed wide awake all night crying from the excitement and fear of knowing my c-section was the very next day and that I would finally meet our baby. Yet the feeling of holding that tiny little newborn in my arms seems like a lifetime ago. A child’s first year of living is truly the most amazing thing I’ve ever witnessed. Every month I’ve thought “This is my favorite month,” and then the next month Isla learned some new, funny trick, or said a new word or just gave me the cutest smile I’d ever seen and I fell in love all over again.
In just one year, our girl has grown into the sweetest, funniest little person. We spend our days laughing and eating and laughing and eating and sometimes sleeping (her not me) and laughing some more. I couldn’t imagine any better way to spend my life. But there I was, just one year ago, terrified that I wouldn’t measure up. How does one keep a helpless little baby alive?! How would I know when she’s hungry, tired, sick or just wanting some snuggles? Everyone said, “You’ll just know,” and again, they were right. Selfishly, I was also mourning the loss of my baby-less social life. Would I resent the fact that I can no longer just go out with friends or on dates with my husband without hiring a babysitter? Would I miss my freedom and feel trapped? For me personally, the answer is no. Not ever. Do I sometimes need some time to myself? YES. Y E S. But most days, all I want to do is hold that baby and slobber all over her fat cheeks. Sometimes after she goes to bed I tell Chris I miss her and want to go wake her up and then she wakes up three hours later screaming and I just wish she’d go back to sleep! But then I hear that little snore and I want to snuggle her all over again.
I am smitten with this little family of mine. To say I feel lucky doesn’t really do it justice. Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve so much happiness. Every day I worry it could all be taken away from me, so I do my best to enjoy every day and every moment. Watching this first year flash before my eyes has made me appreciate time and try to be better at enjoying it. At letting things go, setting priorities and just being present. No family is perfect. No husband, no wife, no baby, and once I realized and accepted that, my imperfect little life and family suddenly felt perfect.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this because on the other side of this computer I’m holding back tears and wondering how the hell my newborn is now a one year old. What I think I’m trying to say is ….
Happy birthday my sweet Isla Bee! You make our family complete and bring more joy and happiness to your parents than we could ever express to you. You have brought a purpose to my life that I never knew I needed. You are my greatest achievement, my inspiration, my reason for being. I love you.
And for our final monthly update:
Last month our goofy monster learned to count to three, ate through her crib and fell in love with a Christmas tree. She says about 25 words/phrases, including “thank you,” “whoa whoa whoa whoa” and “gently” (she hears this word from me a lot!). Still no “mama” though. She purposely drops things so she can say “oops,” insists on having her own spoon and bowl at every meal (so she can throw them and watch me crawl around picking them up), laughs hysterically when you smell her feet and is starting to walk with the help of our furniture. People say to me all the time, “She’s the happiest baby I’ve ever met,” and that’s the best compliment I have ever received. And it’s true. She is giggly and smiley and friendly almost all of the time, excluding the occasional throw-your-head-back hissy fit when mama says, “No you may not touch the heater, it’s hot!”
I have no idea what is in store for us next month, or the one after that or for the rest of our lives, but I know I can’t wait to watch our daughter continue to grow. I just hope I can live up to all of her expectations, protect her from and prepare her for whatever the world has in store for her and set a good example. I hope she grows to be kind, fair and loving. I hope she knows her dad and I support her no matter who she becomes and what choices she makes. I hope she knows she is loved unconditionally. Forever.
Thank you for reading our monthly baby updates. I’ve loved sharing my daughter’s first year with you and reading your stories, too. Really, seriously, thank you. And again …
Happy birthday to the littlest love of my life, my sweet Isla Bee.
(here’s Isla at eleven months, ten months, nine months, eight months, seven months, six months, five months, four months, three months, things I learned in two months of motherhood, one month and her birth story)