Okay, the birthday post. Not very original, but a letter to my girl feels right.
My dear Sunshine,
My bright, shining star! It’s so hard to believe you’re one. It feels like just the other day you were doing high kicks in my belly. My sweet, sassy girl, I love you more than I thought possible.
I think back on the night you were born. Oh, Sunshine! How you howled when the doctor took you out. It took less than five minutes for them to hand you to me, but you cried loudly until you were in my arms. I called out to you, “Hi Baby, Mama’s right here.” I still say that to you when you’re in your exersaucer or high chair and I have to go to the next room to do something. You don’t like it when you can’t see me, so I reassure you. “Mama’s right here.” But that first night, as soon as I held you, you stopped crying. We looked at each other. It was perfect. I stroked your soft cheek with one finger, and marveled at my little miracle.
My little love, you were my Velcro baby. You wanted to be held close to me ALL THE TIME. I could not deny you that. I loved having you fall asleep on my chest. You still do it sometimes, and I still love it. You even let me know your preference for closeness in the hospital. You did not like the bassinet, you were quite clear about that.
As sleep deprived as I have been the last year, it has also flown by. You are just bursting with personality. From the time you were very small, it was obvious that you would beam with pride when you learned to do something new. I remember the first time you grabbed my arm when I was changing your diaper. You looked up at me with an expression that so clearly said, “Look what I can do!” Now if people ask you how old you are, you gleefully hold up one finger.
There are certainly difficult moments, like when you are overtired and fighting sleep as if it were the enemy. Sometimes I just don’t know what to do to soothe you then. I wish you were a better sleeper, but you are such a happy, healthy child, that I’m not sweating that. You’ll get there in your own time. And the poopy explosions. Oh, I do not like those! And they are even harder because you don’t like to lie still for diaper changes. Trying to flip over or stand up while Mommy is trying to clean the poop off you is not helpful, my dear. You absolutely HATE, HATE, HATE it when I go anywhere near your nose. Sorry, sweetheart, but screaming isn’t going to make me leave that snot bubble you’re blowing alone. I will stop wiping your nose when you learn to take care of a drippy nose yourself. I think it’s going to be a while.
You have a great sense of humor. But, sweetie, I know you think it’s funny to blow raspberries with a mouthful of food, but Mommy doesn’t like that one. It’s so hard to be stern and not laugh, but good table manners are important, and other people don’t want to be splattered with your spinach. On the other hand, your laugh is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.
You are such a charmer. Everywhere we go people comment about how beautiful you are. Then you smile or wave or blow kisses. And they are completely wrapped around your chubby little finger. Your kisses, my Sunshine, oh, your kisses just slay me. Again, you are so proud of what you can do. You press your mouth against my cheek, then pull back saying, “Mwah!” Then you grin! Pleased as punch.
I am so lucky to be your mommy. I love learning about you. I watch you when you’re sleeping, and I’m overcome with emotion. Sometimes I can’t resist holding a hand or a foot while you sleep, and marveling over the perfection of your tiny palm or your sweet little toes. I look forward to seeing you master so many new things. I hate the thought of you ever being hurt, but I know that’s part of life. I can’t protect you from all the bumps and bruises to come. I particularly wish I could protect you from having your feelings hurt. I can’t. I can only do my best to help you be a confident little girl, and then a confident woman. It’s a great big, scary, wonderful world out there. Part of my job as your mommy is to give you the wings to fly. I don’t want to think about right now. Maybe next year. Right now I just want to hold you close. Give you lots of kisses as you giggle like crazy. I’m so happy to be your mommy. I love you to the moon and back and more.