My dear little girl,
It seems like we’ve always been together, you and I. In reality, you have only existed as you for 12 blissful months.
This past year I have watched you grow. Counting those shiny, pearly whites pop up in your mouth. Watching the pounds on the scale tick up as you gained weight in chubby cheeks and rolly thighs.
Those first hesitant steps blew my mind and the excited screech you let out when you realized you could walk all on your own made my heart sing and soar. It is an honor to teach you, to guide you, and navigate this life with you as you open your eyes to all this world has to offer.
But most importantly, I am grateful for the lessons YOU have taught me.
1. You have taught me the power of self advocacy.
Before you, I never understood the difference between being passive about my opinions and making those opinions heard. By giving me the power to speak for you, you have also given me the power to speak for myself.
2. You have taught me (and your daddy) the importance of our marriage.
It’s no joke that marriage is tough, and adding a new little person into that dynamic is even tougher. But you have shown me that in order to really love each other and to grow with one another—we must have the hard conversations, share in our responsibilities to you, and above all else, respect each other so we can give you the best versions of ourselves. By needing and demanding our love, you have deepened our love for each other.
3. You have taught me the necessity of self-care.
Watching you explore and move and learn is my greatest joy. But I’d be lying if said sweeping floors, picking up toys, and folding tiny shirts and pants isn’t exhausting. And while I may feel guilty taking that hour or two away from you every week, I know it is necessary. I can’t give you the best of me if I don’t feel the best about myself.
4. You have taught me to STOP COMPARING.
To stop comparing your growth, to stop comparing my marriage, to stop comparing my recovery and my postpartum experience. It can be difficult to disconnect and remember that all of the perfect parenting images that surround us are just that—images. But you—you have taught me to let that go. And you teach me it again every day when you say a new word or try something new. I’m learning with you, baby, and I’m getting there. I promise.
5. You have taught me it’s okay to not be ‘okay.’
I look at you, and you are the most remarkable little person I have ever seen. But sometimes it’s all a lot. Being your mom is the greatest, most liberating experience of my life—but it is also lonely, challenging, and heartbreaking. You have taught me that there is peace in the inbetween. And as I watch you tumble through an array of emotions so purely, I know it’s okay for me to do the same.
6. You have taught me to trust my instincts.
Call it a sixth sense, but I know. And I hope I will always know when you need me or you are feeling something that doesn’t feel right. Milk allergy? Ear infection? It doesn’t matter. Because I know you more than I know myself, sometimes. And by knowing you, you’ve shown me that I’m usually right when something isn’t. I promise I’ll keep watching and listening, as long as you let me.
7. You have taught me the importance of health.
This should seem like a no brainer, right little one? That after carrying you for nine months, that I would know by now that my health is important. Right? Wrong. Like self-care, it’s hard to make sure I’m being healthy. But you know what? You know those walks you love going on? They’re good for me, too. Want to brush our teeth together three times a day? We will. Because you learn by example, and I need to set that example (even if it means going to the dentist!).
8. And most importantly, you have taught me to laugh and let it go.
When you used to pee every time I took your diaper off? I laughed and let it go. When you had a poop explosion and I didn’t realize and it wound up on my face? I laughed harder and fought even harder to let it go. You have showed me that sweating the small stuff isn’t worth my time and that laughter is the best and sometimes only medicine.
Thank you my sweet little girl.