A Letter to My Birthday Girl
I was completely conflicted with emotions when my baby girl turned one year old.
Of course I was thrilled, but I was also a little sad too. I spent the day hurrying around setting up her party and making sure things were running smoothly, but when things finally settled down at the end of the day, I just held my little girl and cuddled her close. That night I put my ‘baby’ to bed for the last time— the next morning, she woke up as a toddler.
My life has changed in drastic ways since the birth of my daughter. I’ve changed as a person, too. I want my little girl to know just how much she means to me, even through all the hustle and bustle of life, I don’t want her to ever forget it.
So the day after her birthday, while my newly-appointed-toddler was taking a nap, I sat down and wrote her a letter, telling her just how I felt.
Yesterday, you turned one year old. It was a hard day for me; part of me is thrilled to celebrate you and your life and remember the day you came into mine and changed everything. Part of me feels sad that you are no longer my tiny little baby.
It feels like just yesterday I could hold you with one arm and cuddle you close to my body; it feels like just yesterday you would fall asleep on daddy’s chest or I could nurse you to sleep. Now you are so big; you are smart and beautiful and you crawl and talk and dance and it won’t be long before you’re walking all by yourself.
I absolutely love watching you learn new things and discover the world—you constantly surprise and amaze me.
I love the way you look up into my face, gently touch my eyelashes or my lips, exploring my face with your fingertips. I love the way you look at the world around you—you are so curious. I’m so blessed to be able to help you discover every little thing.
I love your smile when you’re happy, and I especially love your smile when you’re proud of yourself. I love when you do something good and then you clap for yourself or do a little “good job!” dance.
Your favorite toys are your books and I love that you love to read. You always want to turn the pages yourself, and you especially love pages with flaps to open or patches to touch. One of my favorite things is when you don’t know I’m watching you and you make your way over to your books, choose one, open a page and study it before flipping to the next page. I can almost see your mind working on the details. You are so smart and it astounds me.
You’ve changed my life in every possible way. I’m definitely not the same person today I was 366 days ago.
This last year, I’ve kissed my biggest kisses, hugged my tightest hugs, laughed my loudest laughs, and cried my biggest tears.
You’ve taught me patience; I’ve had to learn to be more and more patient through all the crying and whining and breastfeeding and temper tantrums and lack of sleep and lately, the exploring and getting into things that aren’t safe for you to explore.
And you’ve taught me strength. I am so much stronger of a person than I could have imagined— I physically brought you into this world and it’s what I’m most proud of.
You’ve taught me pride. Just about everything you do makes me swell with pride; every time you learn a new word, every time you show kindness to our dog or to another person, every time you fold your hands to say a prayer, every time you pick up a book to read, every time you give me or daddy a kiss, every time you do something new.
More than anything, you’ve taught me that I can love someone more than and in a different way than I ever thought possible—and this is something I re-learn every single day. Every time I think that I couldn’t possibly love you more than I do now, it happens and it takes my breath away.
You alone, this small little girl, have made me a better person than I ever knew I could be. You’ve challenged me and pushed me to my limits and I know I will always strive to be the best I can be just so I can give it all to you. And I’m so grateful to you.
I try to put all these feelings into words, but there is no way to describe the way I love you, other than to tell you that I love you only the way I can love my daughter. It’s never been felt before and it never will again. We have something so special right now and I pray every day that we will be this close for as long as we live.
This last year can’t be described any other way than an adventure; every day has been something new and exciting and sometimes frustrating and always, always wonderful. I get emotional thinking about the person you will be a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now, twenty years from now. You have such a big personality now and I’m so eager to know you as a person when you are an adult.
I promise you now that I will always be by your side, I will explore the world with you and I will teach you everything I know to be true. I will comfort you when you are sad and I will celebrate with you every little accomplishment.
I love you more than the world and always, always will,