In true Mommy fashion, I am writing this closer to your 6-month “birthday” than your 5th, but the fact that I’m writing it at all is a win, these days.
Since I last wrote to you, your little world has been so busy and exciting! On December 19, your Grandma Marie came to visit us for Christmas. She had come to meet you and snuggle you when you were just an itty-bitty thing, so for you it was like meeting her all over again. And oh, it was love at first sight! You were going through a bit of a stranger-danger phase before she arrived, so I was a little worried that you’d greet her with screams and only want Mommy or Daddy to hold you. But my wise little girl, you must have known you were safe with your Grandma, because you adored her from the start.
On December 21, you finally found success in rolling from your back to your tummy. We all watched you here on the family room floor as you mastered the skill. You were clearly pretty excited about it; every chance you got, you’d just flop yourself back over. Unfortunately, rolling from your tummy to your back was not a skill you’d mastered at the time, so after a minute or so on your tummy you’d get frustrated. We’d encourage you to spend a little more time on your belly before helping you roll back, only to watch you IMMEDIATELY return to your stomach. It tested our patience, slightly, but mostly it was just really cute. It made me so proud, sweet girl, watching you try so hard!
We celebrated your first Christmas while Grandma Marie was here. It was bittersweet; Christmas Eve marked a whole year since your Grandpa John went to Heaven. You were a 9-week old little gummy bear in my belly when he passed away and just like then, your presence brought us so much joy, so much hope this year. Still, I wish you had gotten to know him…I wish he’d gotten to know YOU. Something tells me you would have been the apple of his eye, and you would’ve had him wrapped around your finger, the way you do all of us. You would have loved him, too. He would have made silly faces all day long just to see your smile. I promise that when you’re older, we will tell you all about him and make sure you know who he was. Just like both of my Grandpas in Heaven, if we keep telling their stories, they can still be with us, in some small way. If we think about them when things are hard and wonder what they would do in that situation, they can still guide us like they did when they were here. They can still bring us comfort, and still make us laugh. Sweetheart, I dread the day when we have to explain why some people in our lives couldn’t stay. With all of my heart I pray that you never have to know loss until you’re much, much older, but I promise we will raise you to know that this world isn’t our last stop. There might be pain here we don’t understand, but we know it isn’t permanent. Even when it feels so final, there’s hope.
…whew, that took a turn, didn’t it? Let’s wipe our tears and talk more about YOU, ok?
Celebrating your first Christmas was SO fun, babe! We attended your first Christmas Eve at Grandma Sue’s condo, and while I’m sure the whole scene was a bit overwhelming for you, you were pretty content for most of the day. Being the youngest person in the WHOLE family (by a whopping three weeks) you got to open the first gift. You had a little bit of assistance from Daddy and I, of course. You slept through the adult gift exchange, and most of the car ride home. Though you were not quite 5 months old at the time, and won’t “get” Christmas for quite some time, spending Christmas as your Mama was so much cooler than any other Christmas of my adulthood. We could see glimpses into the future of what Christmases will look like going forward, how exciting and magical that season will be, and we’re so excited to foster a love for that time of year in you. I know you’ll love presents and cookies and time off from school, but like I did, I hope you love baking cookies with your Grandma and the chaos of a packed house on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas morning, Grandma Mary and Grandpa Mike came over to our house for breakfast, and you were downright spoiled with gifts and Grandma snuggles from all sides! Later that day we hosted the Reid family for dinner, and you took a miraculously long Christmas nap…you only graced us with your wakeful presence for a few minutes, but everyone was enamored with you just the same. Well, with the possible exception of your cousin Braedyn. As the resident toddler, he didn’t seem to understand why you received so much attention but provided so little entertainment for him. I’m guessing in another year or two you both will find each other plenty amusing!
A few days after Christmas, we said Goodbye-for-now to Grandma Marie. It was tough for us to adjust to not having her help, and I know you missed the constant attention.
New Year’s Eve was sort of a non-event…I think we ordered Thai food and went to bed early. Unfortunately, my insomnia kept me awake, so Daddy and I ended up catching the Space Needle celebration on TV. Certainly not our most exciting New Year’s Eve celebration, but a celebration nonetheless. This year (2016) will be the SIXTH year we’ve spent together…six of many, many more, I hope! And of course, this will be your first full year on the planet, and that is worth celebrating too!
A note on the aforementioned insomnia, little one: Up until right before Christmas, you were a fantastic nighttime sleeper. You’d go to sleep at 8pm, and snooze all the way through to 5 or 6am. At that point I’d feed you, and you’d snooze for another 2-3 hours. Sigh. Those were the days. Then, one night in December, all of that glorious sleep just…stopped. For the last four weeks, you’ve been up every 2-3 hours on average. Many nights it’s been every hour or less. This is common in babies your age, and my dear Parent-Baby class instructor has reminded me weekly that “regression means progression”- and she’s so right! You are rolling, babbling, teething, and thisclose to sitting up on your own reliably. No wonder you can’t sleep—your little BIG brain is working so hard! Unfortunately, once you stopped sleeping, so did I. Even when you were snoozing peacefully, I’d be wide awake, anxiously awaiting your next move. This has made our days a little tougher, both of us lacking in rest, but I’m hopeful that things are starting to improve. I’m learning that I won’t be one of those moms whose baby conforms to her schedule, and not the other way around. I am slowly learning to structure our days around your needs, rather than assuming that the catnaps you take in the stroller or the car seat are good enough.
You are teaching me, baby girl. I am often a reluctant student, but you are showing me all the time how to put you first, and enjoy this time we have together. The other day I was holding you in my lap and scrolling through Facebook on my phone. Out of nowhere, you reached out and batted it right out of my hand. Sure, it was accidental (I think) but it was the nudge I needed to set the world and all of its noise aside and just BE with you. It is so very true what they say about raising children—the days are long, and the years are short. Shockingly true, really. So when I’m exhausted and near-tears because it’s the middle of the night and you only want to be held and I start to understand why a parent might choose to let their baby cry it out, I try to remember that this isn’t forever. The first months of your life have flown by, though they have contained some of the longest days and nights of my life. You need me so much right now. Daddy and I are your source for absolutely everything—nourishment, comfort, warmth, shelter, entertainment. You are wholly dependent on us. But every day I realize you will never be this little again. From here on out you will spend every day working toward needing me less. You’ll need me less tomorrow than you do today, even if it’s imperceptible in these sleepy, drool-soaked days. I swear I could spend every one of these letters to you blathering on about how fast you’re growing and I’m at once overjoyed and horrified at how quickly you are changing, precious girl, and how I cannot imagine a world without you in it. The task of keeping you safe and healthy is so daunting and scary, but I am so honored God chose me to fill those shoes for YOU.
You are the reason, Sadie-girl. The reason I don’t east dairy anymore. The reason I don’t like the freeway because everyone’s driving too fast. You’re the reason I pause when the light turns green and look both ways to make sure no errant driver is ignoring a red. You’re the reason I’m so tired I can’t see straight and have been subsisting on iced hemp milk lattes and dry shampoo. You’re the reason I’m trying to eat right and exercise, so I can be healthy for you, Daddy, and your siblings. You’re why my heart explodes about a thousand times a day. You’re why I cried tears of joy when I found you sleeping on our bed snuggled up to your Daddy a few weeks ago.
Because I didn’t know one life could hold so much love. Thank you for being my reason, Sadie-girl.
Love You Forever,