Dear Sadie: 11 Months

Dear Sadie,

Your first birthday is now only EIGHT days away. Someday, when you are older and have a baby of your own, you’ll understand what I mean when I tell you that it’s been the slowest and fastest year of my life. Most moms will say things about their babies like, “I can’t even remember life before he/she came along.” Me? I do. This month especially, I’m remembering so clearly how life was exactly a year ago. Enormously pregnant, calling the midwives at every cramp and headache.

A year ago this week, I was following my typical “end of pregnancy” routine each morning. I slept horribly every night—I’d generally wake up around 4:30am and wander downstairs, where I’d drink a cold glass of water and lie on the couch until I felt you wake up and start to wiggle around. I’d watch an episode of “Orange is the New Black”, a show that was/is very popular but I could never quite get into. I’d eat a bowl of cereal and see Daddy off to work, finally succumbing to sleep again around 7:30. I’d snooze for an hour or two and then come back downstairs for another bowl of cereal and my daily allotted coffee. Eventually I’d shower and put on the same black maternity leggings I wore every day at the very end of pregnancy and one of 3-4 solid color t-shirts. My maternity jeans had stopped fitting around week 36, and my shorts had a way of wedging in between my swollen thighs that made leaving the house in them a no-go.

I didn’t have a lot to do in those last days. I’d stopped working in June because chasing kiddos was getting pretty challenging and I didn’t have the energy level I needed to do well at work. I wanted to have the time to rest before you came along, too. But in the absence of my job, I did a lot of TV watching and napping. Grandma and I hung out a lot, and I made sure our house was ready for you. Your clothes were washed and folded by this time last year, and our hospital bags were packed, along with snacks. It’s bittersweet to think about preparing our old house for your arrival. We couldn’t have known then that we’d decide so soon after you were born that it wasn’t going to be the home we’d raise you in. In our last days of sharing my body, I spend a LOT of time at home. I was anxious, apprehensive, exhausted, excited, terrified…and our house was like a giant blanket that wrapped around me. I still remember how it smelled, and how the floors felt beneath my enlarged feet. Plus, it was July, and our house had Air Conditioning. To a constantly sweating pregnant woman, there was really very little reason to leave.

By the way, little girl, we just had an offer accepted on a new house. God willing, when you read this someday, this house will be the one you have always known as HOME. We won’t be moved in until after your first birthday, but we can’t wait to get settled and start making more memories with you.

Anyway, my love, the point of all this rambling is that I very much DO remember what life was like before you. But now that you’ve been ours for almost a year, I can’t imagine life without you.

More and more every day, you’re becoming my tiny sidekick. You’re so expressive and interactive now! You shake your head “no”, you wave, you clap, and you point to things so I can tell you what they are. You’ve been discovering the world around you for months, but I love being included in it now. You’re pulling to stand on absolutely everything- my legs, the stair banister, the fireplace (gulp), walls, chairs…you’re cruising along the furniture, but require a little extra motivation to do so—usually a phone or TV remote. Just a few days ago you started climbing full flights of stairs, and you’re getting into absolutely everything.

You still have four teeth, but I can see two more just beneath your gums, and I can tell they’re giving you trouble. You’re also getting over your first cold/virus, and I am SO happy to see you doing better. I know illness is something we’re going to have to get used to, but it broke my heart to see you sick. It makes me so much more grateful that you are generally a very healthy girl.

In another 6 weeks or so, I’ll be going back to school a few nights a week. I’m getting REALLY nervous about the time I’ll have to devote to school, and the time it will take away from you. Between Daddy, Grandma, and friends, I know you’ll never be lonely and will always be with someone who loves you. But still, I’m going to miss having nothing to do but read you stories and push you on the swings. I promise, baby girl, you will still come first. But knowing that our lives are changing is keeping me accountable in being present with you in these sweet days. It’s been such a tremendous blessing spending every day of your first year with you. For Daddy’s birthday on July 9, we had our first overnight away from you…and it was so surreal waking up without a monitor on my nightstand, without your babbling in my ear. I know we needed the time away, but boy…I missed you.

Sadie-girl, I am so privileged to be your mama. Thank you for these first 11 months and 21 days of motherhood. I’m not ready for you to be a toddler, or to move, or to start school. But life keeps moving, so we keep moving with it. I’m so thankful for a front-row seat to yours.

Love you forever,