On the eve of your first birthday (like all parents, I ask, HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE ALREADY?!) I find myself reflecting on what has been both the LONGEST and shortest year of my entire life. There are large chunks of it that I can’t even remember, blurred together by sleep deprivation, long nights spent worrying over your tiny frame, counting the minutes until the relief of daylight and then washing it all away with large amounts of coffee and the kind of resolve that only comes when the sun is up.
Wow, Tiny Witch. You are a Hard Baby. Like the kind of hard that might make one think the universe is trying to teach one a lesson. Good thing I don’t believe in cr*p like that, or the universe would have managed to bring me to my knees over the last year. What I do know is that YOU are teaching me SO. MANY. THINGS. every day. Well, let’s say you’re attempting to teach me. Whether I’m actually getting the lessons may be another thing entirely.
There was grief, the depths of which you will only know when you have your own tiny witch one day--an impossibly small person that storms into your life, shatters everything you think you know about love, then takes your hand and leads you through the ashes of your former life out into the glorious sunshine of our shared new world. Grief is directly proportional to love, so I don’t begrudge its presence in our lives over the last year. It only means that I’ve had the privilege to love you as I’ve loved no other human before.
Before your arrival, I thought I mostly had life figured out. How humbling to find that wasn’t remotely the case. Your arrival turned our entire world upside down and we are only now managing to find equilibrium again. An equilibrium, I might add, that is only achieved through constant, lightening-fast readjustments. While most people would call this “keeping us on our toes,” I think it goes deeper than that. Staying on my toes with you has involved making a profound, fundamental shift in what I thought was a known world order, a constant reassessment of what is important (surprisingly few things make this cut!!) and a release of EVERYTHING else. It is a daily, sometimes even hourly, adjustment of expectations. And that is what makes you The Hard Baby (NOT to be confused with being a bad baby!!!).
At one year old, you are ON THE MOVE. You LOVE to go outside as much as possible. You have the most delightful gorilla crawl and travel almost at the speed of light. You are *THIS CLOSE* to walking, often letting go of whatever you’re holding onto and just balancing on your feet before plopping straight down on your butt. You are a climber, a budding musician, and a dancer with impeccable rhythm. Your athletic prowess is already evident, stunningly so, and it’s hard not to wonder where it might take you in life.
You have already managed to open the baby gate and climb the stairs, climb the green chair to reach an uncovered outlet, climbed into the open dishwasher, put spoons down the cold air return, learned how to turn on the hot water tap in the tub, open the back door, take the cover off the fireplace, and use a stool to access the knobs on the gas stove. Let's just say we're watching you like a hawk all the time.
You still have some health issues going on with your gut, but you are a happy, energetic, passionate tiny human anyway. And if this letter feels disjointed, it’s because I’ve written in singles sentences over the course of a month while chasing you around. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I love you most of all. Love, Mama