Today you are one year old. I’m tearing up just writing that. How can it be that one year ago today you came into my world, changing it completely? On the one hand it feels like only yesterday and on the other I’m certain we’ve been together forever.
I remember this day, one year ago, so clearly. We were so lucky that everything went well and you were able to come into the world in exactly the way we wanted (minus the back labor), without medical interventions. They put you on my chest and I remember I just looked at your for the longest time, trying to comprehend how you could possibly be on me instead of inside of me. When the enormity of the moment struck me I just started sobbing. I don’t think I ever truly believed you would arrive safe and sound until you actually had and the relief and gratitude were overwhelming. I have never been so blissfully happy in all of my life.
In the past year I’ve watched you grow into the most amazing, fun loving, enthusiastic little girl. Your laugh is a bubbling brook, springing up when least expected, always refreshing and energizing. Your smile is sunlight, brightening the shadows of any day. You are interested in everything, so eager to try new things. Every day you reintroduce me to a world I thought I knew; the universe you show me is alive with a color and vibrance I once appreciated but had begun to ignore. Thank you for showing me everything again, through your eyes.
How is it that you teach me so much when it is I who is supposed to be guiding you?
I’m trying to put into worlds what you mean to me, what this day means to me but I can’t seem to articulate it. The enormity of you, as my daughter, as my dream-come-true, it can’t be pinned down on a page. When I think of this day, one year ago, I truly feel as if my heart could burst out of my chest. Your arrival marked the culmination of an entire lifetime of wanting to be a mother and wondering if it would be so. You are a gift that I treasure more than words can express. Every single day I am actively grateful to have you in my life. Every single day I stop and say “thank you.”
Isa, someday you will know that life contains all manner of suffering. I’m sure I’ll cry with you each and every time you are taught this difficult lesson. My journey to you was not always an easy one and I’ve met so many women along the way, women who, as I write this, are struggling to bring their own child into the world. Their stories have left deep impressions on my heart and I am so thankful to have known them. Their stories emphasize each and every day the miracle of my own story. Their struggles and their strength serve as a constant reminder that my greatest offense would be to take what I have for granted. And I promise you, and them, that I never will.
Oh Isa, at the start of each paragraph I stop and try to collect my thoughts and all I can do is cry. Can one’s body be wracked by sobs of gratitude and happiness? I wouldn’t have thought it could be so, not until I had you. I have cried tears of joy in my life but I have never sobbed from it. It’s as if the celebration of my heart were too much for my body, as if the sheer power of it could only move me uncontrollably.
It’s funny, today is your day and we will celebrate it with you for the rest of your life. But right now it feels like my day. Today was the day my life changed forever. Today was the day that my dream came true. I want to celebrate this day for what it means in my life. I couldn’t stay home with you today and everyone thought I was silly for being upset. She won’t remember, they all assured me. But it wasn’t for you that I wanted to mark this day, it was for me. This date is the most important in my life and I want to celebrate it for what it means to me, as much as what it means for you. Today is my daughter’s birthday. It is the day I gave birth to my daughter. Me. Today is also my day.
Will I always feel this way? Is this how all mothers feel on their children’s birthdays?
There are things some people say, like “stop growing up” or “you’ll never be that big.” I never say those things because I don’t take your growing up for granted. I know that nothing in this world is guaranteed, least of all the path of your life or mine following along side it. So I will not say those things, I will not assume something I do not know. But I will ask of you this. Don’t grow up too fast. Take your time. Enjoy your babyhood. Enjoy wherever you are in your life. I know I will be enjoying each and every day with you. Just today you’ve started standing by yourself and you’re so eager to take your first steps. I won’t ask you to wait to take them because I don’t want to be the kind of mother that holds you back. I will only hope to be there for you when you finally pitch forward, with arms outstretched, ready to celebrate, encourage and support you as you continue your precious journey through life, one uncertain step at a time.
I love you Isa.
Thank you, for everything. And…