A LETTER TO MY GIRL
Now that you’re one, you toddle around on chubby legs that you clumsily lift high into the air with each step, as if you’re doing knee lifts. You wave your hands and tell me when you’re all done, even if it’s in the middle of family prayer or me singing you a song. You constantly remind us that you’re watching and listening. I know it because I hear myself in you when you point at curious objects and ask, “Whassthat?!” in the same tone I use. Or when you see one of your toys light up and you say, “Oh, wow!” sounding just like your Dad. And even though I can’t see any of my features in yours when I stare into your face as I rock you before bedtime, I know that you’re mine.
I see myself in you when you rub your opened palmed hand across your fuzzy stuffed-elephant when you drink your last bottle of the day. I see it when I give you the tiniest crumb of something sweet to eat and you wiggle with delight. I see it when you walk around, babbling, waving your hands in the air as if you’re having an actual conversation. I see it in the way you get excited for story time. I see it in the way you “sing” a little too loudly, and a little too abruptly. I even see it in the way you sass me. “Uh!” you say as you grab what you want out of my hand. And when I correct you in the sternest mom voice I have, you crumple into a fit of tears. Oh yes, honey child, you are mine.
My favorite time of day comes at bedtime, just as it’s getting dark outside and the hippo lamp splays multicolored stars on the nursery celing. Lately you let me cuddle with you in the glider, so long as I let Mr. Elephant join the party as well. You pop the bottle out of your mouth the instant you’re satisfied and plop it on the floor, and then you throw yourself into the crook of my arm and start singing a song that only you understand. You bury your face into my armpit and I can smell your lavender scented shampoo. Sometimes you touch my face and play with my lips while your eyes start to get heavy. In these moments, I try to picture what you’ll be like when you’re three, or twelve, or twenty. I picture you graduating high school and college. I picture you in a white dress on your wedding day. I get sad sometimes, because it didn’t even take the full first year of life with you to realize that what they all say is true, it goes by so terribly fast.
The other night I rocked you until you fell asleep, a very rare occasion for us. I couldn’t stop staring at your pretty face and I knew, I just knew, that it was a moment I would never forget. And even though someday you will cuddle your own little baby in a glider, I’ll still be holding on to all of the precious moments being your mom has given me.
Love you forever,