A letter to my one year old, on the day before she turns two.
Dear Teagan —
On your last day as a one year old, you woke up smiling. You clutched every plastic Paw Patrol toy your little fingers could grasp and asked to be pulled “up” and out of your crib. Pausing before you left your bedroom, you asked for “up” again so you could turn on the bedroom light switch, then flick it off again, before wiggling your way out of my arms and back down to the floor. As if sensing that something was missing, you turned around to face me and said “thank you” before running into the hallway to find your siblings.
Today is the last day you are a one year old. Tomorrow starts toddlerhood in earnest, and we’ve already seen flashes of what those terrible twos and terribler threes will look like. You are sweet, and funny, and fiery. It’s not easy being the youngest kid on a totem pole of 5 – but you’ve developed some broad shoulders and know how to hold your ground.
You think that you’re a big kid. You don’t want to be big like your siblings – you believe that you are their peers already. You run carefree into the ocean waves as I hover just inches behind and you climb the rock wall at the playground, swatting me away when I try to give you a boost. When we go to pick up your sister from preschool, you march right in and pull up a tiny chair to whatever activity table looks the best and subtly start participating. You are already so fearless and outspoken. You never want to be left out and you always want to have fun.
On this, the last day that you are a one year old, I’m reminded of this same day two years ago when my body let me know that it was nearly time to meet you. Your dad and I considered going to the hospital but decided it was more convenient for our family schedule to wait until the next day. So I put my feet up and drank a lot of water, and breathed through a few rough contractions.
I wondered as my hand pressed up against you, a thin layer of skin and water the only thing separating us, what you would look like. I wondered what clues about your personality would be immediately obvious to us. I wondered, selfishly, how much more sleep I was going to lose over the next 18+ years. I already loved you more than imaginable.
You turning two isn’t exactly earth-shattering news — not even in this house. It’s a powerful reminder though of those beautiful first two years of a baby’s life.
Babies remind us to slow down, to be silly, to soak in time as it flies by us. Babies reveal who we truly are as people, and who is part of our inner circle. Each new baby changes your outlook on the world, and your relationships with your spouse and other children. Parenthood is the hardest, most exhausting gift you’ll ever receive. Someday if you end up with babies of your own, you’ll understand.
And Teagan, you truly are a gift — not just to me, but to our entire family. I often wonder how I’ve been so lucky to have you and your siblings in my life. It’s with some sadness that I say good-bye to these first two years, knowing we have so much to look forward to as you continue to grow. Happy (almost) birthday to our baby, forever and always.
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