You are unbelievably on the verge of turning one year old. We are a month or so away from your birthday and I am in total shock, as I expect most parents are when the first birthday approaches. It doesn't seem possible that one year could sweep past us as quickly as the last one did. It is unreal how much you are changing. Every day brings something new. A new skill, sound, word, challenge. You are very close to walking and today has been a tumble day, one of those days when you grow bolder with each step and manage to fall into everything around you.
You are such a part of me, my little companion that follows me around each day and wants a hand in anything I am doing. You mimic every move and sound and want to be in the middle of things. You see that photo above? That's me when we leave the house. I can't help but laugh when I look at it because it so completely sums me up. I am always thinking through what you might need, arms full, but inevitably forgetting the key item we end up needing.
These days you clap and dance and make animal sounds and scoot across the floor when you are excited. You give kisses and hugs and play independently for short stretches. You anxiously wait for your dad in the evenings and crawl with lightning speed to his feet when he arrives home.
Your current love/hates:
the Christmas tree (three ornaments in particular)
being read to
peek a boo
your dad. period.
walking around holding on to furniture
playing the guitar with dad and your little red piano
eating anything with cheese or yogurt
swinging at the park
going on adventures in the Ergo or stroller
pushing your wagon
getting in the carseat
having your diaper changed
having your face washed, nose cleaned
(Sensing a theme here?)
Lately, you love to stand and sit in your crib, but in your sleepy state, you can't remember how to lay back down, so we have to creep into your room and gently lay you back down. Some nights you are a possessed woman intent on sitting or standing for as much of the night as possible. Sometimes I find you sleeping sitting up in your crib. Last night you stood/sat in your crib for more time than you slept. At least it felt that way when I crept into your room around 3:30 to help lay you back down. We thought last night might be the first night where you would lay back down yourself, but it didn't happen. I am hopeful you will connect the dots soon!
Last Friday, our country experienced a terrible tragedy, one I will explain to you in more detail when you are older. 27 lives were lost, 20 of them children just a little older than you. It is shocking and gut wrenching and has shook everyone I know to the core.
It was with a heavy heart that I turned the news off on Friday and took you to the park. The air was calm, the weather sunny and mild by Chicago standards. I put you in the swing and pushed you into the air. You let out a gasp of glee and kicked your legs in excitement. You clapped as I pushed you higher and I couldn't help but feel lighter as I watched you squeal with delight. You and the children lost in that tragedy are so pure, so innocent. You are unaware of the evils that exist in this world, you are not self-conscious, and bring the people around you so much joy. And I can't help but want to hold you tight and never let you out of that bubble. I want to protect that pure feeling and pray that you will always find a way to get back to it. That feeling you have on the swing, I want it to stay with you, to fill you with happiness at every age. I want you to go boldly into the world, confident and strong. I don't want you to live your life in fear or worry or feel self-conscious of others. I don't want your heart to feel heavy and want to keep you safe from anything that might harm you.
I want you to know how capable, beautiful, and smart you are. I hope we will raise you to be compassionate, respectful of those who are different from you, and that you will celebrate every day you have on this Earth. Because if I've learned anything in the last eleven months (and the past ten years with your dad), it's that this life is short (so short), that there will never (never) be enough time, hugs, or moments together. I will always chase the clock and try to keep up as time slips by. I want to be patient, respectful, kind, and understanding of you always. I want to let you be you and savor these moments unabashedly, the good ones and the challenging ones. Because in a blink they are gone.
I think a lot about these days, that you will not remember them, but how they are imprinted on my heart so strongly. They are in my core. Years from now, I know I will still be able to easily reach back in my mind and feel my hands pushing you on the swing, taste the winter Chicago air, hear your laughter, see your little teeth peeking out with each giggle, smell the cozy, wonderful sweetness of your lovely head.
My wonderful, darling girl, I love you so much. It grows, and grows, and grows.
Thanks to Channing for the first photo. You always get it just right.