One year ago today, after 10.5 hours of what the books call “mild discomfort,” a stint in a hot tub, a few good pushes, and a lot of energetic screaming, in a sudden warm liquid rush I became your mama. You were tiny — a squirming, huge-eyed, soulful girl who sweetly put her hand on my breast while snuggling in and meeting your outside mama. You stoically accepted the pokes and prods and settled into your world with an astonishing quiet dignity.
In that year I’ve watched your beautiful determination to master physical tasks, your delighted glee when you discover something new or interesting, and your slow evolution into humanness. I love beyond measure your innocence, your faith in the world, and the way you have always used your whole body to express your feelings and meanings, and now words.
I love how when you say Mama it is slower and softer than any other sound you make, and how the last syllable trails off to a gentle ahhh. I love that your new word of yesterday, Yum, is a lot like mama — Mamummmmm. I love that when you say all done in baby-sign you sweep your arm across the whole room to emphasize your point, and I absolutely love that when you are happy or proud of yourself, you do a subtle little side-to-side wiggly dance just for you.
I love how engaged you are with everything in your world, and I really love your incredibly high tolerance for parental screw-ups. That single little curl on the top of your head kills me every time I see it. And I love how sweetly your lips pucker when you eat and how you use the back of your hand to catch the wily stuff that falls out as you chew. At the risk of causing you deep embarrassment, I think I get a little high when I touch your naked skin or when I smell your head.
I was worried that you would change my world beyond the point at which I would recognize it — that I would lose myself in having you. You did change my world and I am profoundly grateful that you have. I haven’t lost myself, though. Instead, you make me want to find and be the best of myself so that you can learn how to find and be the best of yourself.
Happy 1st Birthday, Gadlet.