Oh, my sweet girl.
I don’t have enough words to tell you everything I feel about you turning one, but I’ll try.
On the eve of your birthday, I couldn’t sleep. So I pulled out my phone and did what I often do when a bout of insomnia hits: I looked at your pictures. I started with the current ones that feature the face I see every morning, and the toothy smile that lights up my days. And I scroll back and watch your life in reverse. I see you at nine months, just after we moved out of our old house, learning to crawl on the slate floor of a mother-in-law apartment. I see you on the beach in Kauai at seven months, and recognize my favorite outfit you wore at six months. I marvel then at how round your face was, and how much smaller you were. I keep scrolling and relive your first Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween. I tear up when I arrive at the photos of you in your puffy duck costume. You looked so damn cute it actually hurt. I saw a photo of your first trip away from home and your sweet, innocent face took my breath away. It still does. I looked through photos of your first month, stunned at how quickly you changed in those early days, and how foggy and distant they feel in my memory.
I arrived at the pictures of the day you were born—7 lbs, 7oz and perfect. I recalled the pain and the anticipation and the absolute elation of meeting you for the very first time. I scrolled to the last photo taken of me while I was pregnant and struggled to believe that the same baby who wobbled and kicked in my belly was YOU. The one who wedged her whole body into my right side, up under my ribs, was YOU. The one who danced on the ultrasound screen and first appeared as a faint pink line on Thanksgiving Day, 2014.
It was you, all along.
I want you to know that when I look back on my life, on all of my hopes and dreams that never came to be, I’ll know that much. I never got to be an Olympic figure skater or famous country singer. I may never be a successful writer or even that good of a therapist. But I get to be your daddy’s wife. And I get to be your mom. Of all those dreams, kiddo, you and your daddy were the ones I never let go. The ones I couldn’t give up on. I didn’t know who you’d be or when I’d get to meet you.
But it was you. All along.
I wish I could stop time. I wish I could go back and feel your newborn body on my chest, just once more. I wish I could go back through your first year, and put my phone down a little more often. I wish I could do it all again, this time with the knowledge that it goes SO FAST. But as you’ll learn someday, my love, we can’t go back. Only forward. My little newborn angel has turned into a busy, talkative, opinionated, JOYFUL one-year-old. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Sadie, thank you for being mine. Thank you for the best year of my life, and for the knowledge that it’s only getting better. Thank you for your continued patience as I fumble my way through this journey of motherhood. I promise I’ll do my best not to screw it up too badly.
You are our whole wide world.
Love you forever,
Mommy and Daddy