Thursday, July 11, 2013


To my baby girl on her first birthday:

A year ago, you were placed in my arms all tiny and wrinkly and screaming, and I was shaking so hard that I had to give you back to your dad after a minute because 1) I had just given birth like two seconds before, 2) apparently epidurals give you the residual shakes, especially when you push the button for the first time right after the baby is born because 3) you need some stitches and the epidural wasn't that strong so you can feel said stitches, causing you to squeeze your tiny baby a little harder than your new mother self feels is safe.


Once the shakiness and stitching were over, I got to hold you again. You hadn't had a bath yet, so your hair was still a little sticky and your eyes had that goop on them. You had the tiniest little lips and the tiniest little nose and the tiniest little fingers, and after months of crazy pregnancy dreams about  you coming out as a toddler with a mouth full of teeth or being born on the floor accidentally, somehow this was more surreal than any of that. You were the little person I'd been wondering about while you elbowed me in the ribs, bounced when I listened to music, kicked when your dad put his hand on my tummy. It was nothing like I imagined it would be and everything I didn't know I wanted it to be, even with the stickiness and goopiness and shakiness. You were so beautiful and amazing, and I didn't know even a tiny fraction of how beautiful and amazing you were actually going to be. I'm sure I still don't.

Alert from the beginning. The smiles came a few weeks later.
The weird thing about waiting for a baby to be born, for me, was that I imagined what you would be like as a newborn, and I imagined what you would be like as an older kid, but I had no idea that what happens during the rest of a baby's first year is the most amazing thing, except possibly what happens to a mother during her first year.

Since you aren't old enough to make wishes for yourself, I thought I'd like to make a few for you. You don't need that much right now, so these are wishes you can save for later.

  • I hope that someday you decide to be a mother, and that you get to experience the sheer wonder that comes from looking at a tiny person and seeing elements of yourself and your spouse in her, but also seeing a personality that you know is entirely her own. You can't imagine how incredible it is to realize just how individual a baby is, even at a ridiculously young age. I'm reminded of your individuality whenever we play with other babies or I talk to other mothers and I find myself thinking things like, "Oh, that baby hasn't made up her own dance moves yet, but does give her mom kisses. Fascinating." 
  • I hope that you have a husband who is as supportive as your dad is, who may not totally understand how you can feel so much joy and so much frustration with your life at the same time, but who knows that sometimes you need him to tell you to go read a book while he takes the baby and does the dishes, and who supports whatever you decide you need to do to feel like a happy and productive adult, and who trusts your judgment as a mother. I can't imagine what this year would have been like without him. 
  • I hope that someday you will understand why I have pictures of your baby self in the snow and the grass and on the merry-go-round and at the beach, even though you will have no memory of any of these things, because you will also feel the need to show your baby all of the wonderful things in the world and experience them through her eyes. 
  • I hope that someday your baby will be crying  until the moment that you pick her up, and you'll realize that you are more important to her than you ever realized you could be to anyone. And you'll realize this is right, because she is more important to you than you ever realized was possible too. 
  • I hope someday you'll be rocking your baby and suddenly she'll put her head on your shoulder and fall asleep, because your arms are her favorite place to be. 
  • I hope that becoming a mother will help you realize just how little it matters whether you have snot all over your favorite shirt, as long as you are there to snuggle your sick child. 
  • I hope that having your own child will someday help you realize just how much your own mother loves you. 
  • I hope that in spite of all of the wishes I will surely have for you throughout your life, you will always know that I believe in your potential to be anything you want to be. I hope you know that I am here to pick you up when you fall and cheer for you when you succeed.  
Happy birthday, little one. I can't wait to see more of who you're going to become, and what your own wishes will be as you grow up.  



I love that you put this on your own head. 


emilymcb said...

This made me cry. So beautiful, Meg.

Sean and Jennie said...

Love this! Yay for CB turning 1 and for all the happy birthdays yet to come!