I have sat down several times to write this but cannot seem to put into words how I feel. I'm trying desperately not to fill this with too much sappiness or cliches, but I'm finding it so difficult! I cannot even begin to describe what this last year has brought to me and how you've enriched my life.
When you were first born, people would ask me all of the time, "Did you ever imagine you could love somebody so much?". I suppose the expected answer is "No, I never imagined" but for me, from the moment I held you, it was like you were always here. It was like we were instant soul mates and you made my life make sense. It was like I knew you my whole life, loved you my whole life and needed you to be here, it just so happened that I waited until May 15, 2009 for this to happen.
There were plenty of things that I did not imagine though...
What I couldn't have imagined is the amount of emotion that you would evoke from me. I cannot tell you how many moments in your first year that you made me cry tears of joy. You make me laugh like no one else can, too. Your laugh is still as infectious as it was the first time I heard it at 4 months, and I still cry every time you get the giggles and can't control yourself.
I also could not have imagined the bond that we would create in this past year. A bond between a mom and her first child is unbelievable and something that took me by surprise. I understand your needs now, I hurt when you hurt, I miss you when we're apart, even while you're sleeping, I understand your baby language...and you, you need me when you're hurting, you look for me when I'm in another room, you understand me.
I could not have imagined how you would grow in one year. From a helpless, dependent newborn who slept her way through her first 2 weeks of life, into a growing, independent toddler who knows exactly what she wants and is usually too busy to sleep, all in one year. All the milestones that happened in your first year: smiling at 6 weeks, rolling over at 3.5 months, sitting up at 6 months, crawling at 8 months, clapping your hands, growing 12 teeth, dancing, mimicking....it was such an amazing experience to be a part of.
Lastly, I could not have imagined how unbelievably emotional I became as your first birthday approached. It's something I can't really explain but I can only hope that you will experience someday. I just could not believe that my precious little baby, who at one time found everything she needed inside of my belly, was turing a year old. As the day was approaching, I felt excited, joyous, happy, yet sad because you're getting so big. I can only imagine how I will feel the day you go off to kindergarten, or better yet, drive away for the first time.
We threw you a party on your birthday, something that I was excited about doing from the day you were born. Remember, on the day you were born, I wasn't feeling well and daddy did a lot of the work caring for you. I felt that I missed a lot that day, even if it was only a few hours. So, on your first birthday, I made it my mission for it to be the second best day of my life, next to the day you were born. I wanted to be present, in the moment, and full of energy that I could put into you. It was more than I could have hoped for...
You were an angel on your first birthday. You slept in that morning until almost 9am, only waking at 7 to have a bottle. You soaked in all of the attention. You weren't a ham, you were just content with 35 people watching you eat your lunch, singing you Happy Birthday and then watching you eat cake. You were passed around from person to person and then you even napped for an hour. You sat and opened your presents with me, for most of the time. You were just a happy little girl, basking in the love and attention. It was almost as if you knew it was your day. It was a perfect day.
It was overwhelming to me to see all of the love that people have for you. How many people gave up their Saturday to come and spend it with you, and even those that could not be here poured their love into you with phone calls, cards and gifts. You are so loved by so many people and such a lucky little girl to have the friends and family that we have. Having you has given me a newfound respect and love for the people that are in our lives and love us so much. We are so very, very blessed.
You are no longer a infant, Lily. You are now my toddler. You have a personality all your own. An amazing, fun, strong, loving personality. You had a great first year of life and you gave me a new perspective on mine. I can't wait to see what the years ahead will bring to us.
Although you are growing by leaps and bounds, you will forever be my baby.
I love you,