Happy First Birthday!

One year ago today, Elizabeth Joan entered this world at 7:04 p.m. That single moment has changed our lives forever. Today is bittersweet for this mama...my little baby is now a toddler. And wouldn't you know it!? Right on cue, she walked this evening. We were having our monthly visit from the local Parents as Teachers educator and Libby walked across her room to me. It was incredible. She's been walking behind her push toy for weeks and toddling 3-5 steps on her own for the past few days so we knew it was coming. It's exciting to see that she's taking this next step (literally and figuratively) towards independent person-hood.

Earlier today, I was feeling a bit melancholy and wrote this letter to my little Libby:

I cannot believe you are one year old today. How is that 365 days have come and gone since you were first placed in my arms? I can remember that moment as if it were only second ago! You were so small, but strong and latched right on, nursing away at my right breast. I remember the tufts of soft, downy, brown hair, your full lips and your long arms. After 39 weeks and 3 days of anticipation, you had arrived! 7:04 p.m. on Monday, January 25, 2010 has changed our lives forever. You have made this world a better, brighter place...making each day more joyful and full of love.

This past year, as you’ve met your milestones and grown into this wonderful, budding little person brimming with curiosity, creativity, humor and delight, I’ve been growing and changing with you, every step of the way. I am learning what it means to be your mother. To love more freely, extend patience more generously and to connect with my own childlike wonder. I love to see your discovery new things...the grass on the ground or the leaves on the trees. To see your face light up as you gazed upon the Christmas tree for the first time is something I’ll never forget. I’ll also cherish our wee morning hours, just the two us, rocking and nursing the time away. Many times, I have shed soft, silent tears as I looked upon you all snuggled to my breast in the crook of my arm. I know that these days as a nursling are numbered and soon, you’ll be too busy to crawl into my arms. I am so glad that we’ve been blessed by our nursing relationship and have had this special time together over the past year to bond, just mama and baby. It’s already been two whole weeks that you’ve been sleeping in your own room, in your own bed. I’ve relished the time we had together each night, snuggled in the cocoon of our family bed. And I know that in the years to come, we’ll have little moments of that now and then...on a stormy night or when you’re not feeling well or when your dreams have been a little too terrifying...and you’ll crawl into our big bed and I’ll remember all these days when we snuggled together when you were just a little baby.

Finding the words to describe how I feel as your mother fail me. What can I say? I am so incredibly blessed that you've chosen me. I can hardly believe that with just 52 weeks of life experience you’ve already learned so much. And taught me even more! I adore your love of books, music, art and animals. I am amazed at your tenacity and fierce desire to be independent, to learn new things and accomplish new feats. I am sure that in the years to come these passions will be all the more revealed in your interests and pursuits. I promise to support each and every one and encourage you to explore every option in fulfilling your potential. Today is bittersweet for me. I am so proud and yet feeling slightly melancholic that your little baby days are becoming a memory. They are captured forever in the hundreds of photos we've taken over these weeks and months and soon, we'll look back and tell you stories about the first time you rolled over or sat on your own. And we'll tell you about your first birthday and the day you became a toddler, right on cue! It started with your taking five independent steps to daddy on Sunday. And tonight when you walked across your room tonight to me. Your certainly be running circles around us in no time!

Your steps toward independence increase with each passing day and rightly so. For that is the purpose of your being here. To grow into an fully realized, independent person. What a gift you are giving us...the privilege of parenting you and witnessing this transformation before our own very eyes. Today is just the first of many more days that we'll celebrate your birth and your place on this earth. And I know that I will have many more moments of quiet reflection as your mother, of all that has been and all that might be, but mostly of all that you are, right here and right now. Happy first birthday my little being...you are my sunshine and my heart in this world. I love you.

18 Hours Old

6 Weeks Old
12 Weeks Old

14 Weeks Old

Seven Months Old

Nine Months Old

Ten Months Old

One Year Old
Although we held her party four days ago, the celebration continued this evening. Libby made her first drawing. I picked up some chunky crayons and a pad of drawing paper on the way home from work and let her try it out. With a red crayon in one fist and a purple one in the other, she made little marks and swoops on the blank page. She also promptly bit the tip right off the red one! I fished it out and she fussed a bit, but was soon scribbling across the page. We also got two packages from Amazon.com. One was a darling pink Radio Flyer tricycle from our good friends in California. The other was an all-terrain Radio Flyer wagon from my Dad. She immediately crawled up onto the tricycle and started pushing it around the living room. I had her sit on it and she figured out that she should put her feet on the pedals. Such a smarty girl! Her legs are barely long enough for her feet to touch, but I have no doubts that come Spring, they'll reach.

Tonight, at 7:04 p.m., I was rocking and nursing Libby. Snuggled in my lap, I tousled her soft hair and stroked her warm cheek as she drifted off to sleep. In many ways she reminded me of the fresh, 8 lb. 4 oz. newborn I held in my arms on this day last year.  I wonder what we'll be doing this time next year?


Sarah said...

Your letter to your busy bee made my eyes fill with tears. Some day Miss Libby will cherish it like you'll never know!