I’ve started this letter 365 times. That’s right. I have written this letter over and over in my head almost every day since you were born. Sometimes it is funny, sometimes I’m a blubbering mess and sometimes I don’t know where to begin. So I’ve decided to be a little funny, a little nostalgic and begin at the beginning.
Your dad’s birthday is the day before yours. He turned 30 the year you arrived and instead of chicken and noodles at his mom’s house to celebrate, he got a whale of a wife groaning through contractions and a late night turned into a very early morning at the hospital; I can assure you, he’s never been so happy to give up his favorite meal. You missed arriving on November 1 by two hours and forty-one minutes. This is neat for a lot of reasons but it is particularly special because your dad’s mom was in labor with him on November 1, 30 years before your arrival, and your dad’s great-granny Dillon was born 80 years before THAT on the very same day. You are a part of something very special. But then, as you would have it, you decided to make November 2 all your own. And that was the beginning of you being you.
I was SHOCKED to find out that you were a girl. I always thought I would be the mother of three boys; I grew up with two brothers, your dad is one of three boys, and to be honest, I’m better at hiking, camping and rough-housing than I am at shopping, curling my hair and wearing heels. So, as the nurses were taking bets on whether we would need our boy name or our girl name (both were finalized when we were at the hospital), I was in disbelief when it was announced that you were a girl. I had a daughter. My vision of three boys playing in the mud quickly vanished and I knew it had happened exactly as it was supposed to.
You – being a girl – were the most unanticipated, best surprise of my whole life.
Since you decided that 2:41 AM on November 2 was to be when you introduced yourself to the world, your Dad and I were awake for a solid 36 hours before we got any rest. If you ever doubt how loved you are, STOP. STOP RIGHT THERE. Because within an hour of your arrival, you were greeted by my parents, your dad’s mom, your uncle Greg, and the flow of friends and family through the door didn’t stop all day, and really has yet to stop a whole year later. You were hugged and kissed and swaddled and ogled over nonstop. It was the wildest, most surreal, truest display of love I’ve ever been a part of.
This past year you have taught me so much; but mostly, that we’re lucky as hell. Not only did you show up healthy as can be and cuter than a button, you have always been a ridiculously good baby. To the point where I told the pediatrician I might end up being one of those crazy ladies with 50 babies because I was enjoying you so much; he looked me square in the eyes and said, “whoooooa, NO. If you get one this good, you stop right there. Probably won’t happen again.” And although it is yet to be seen, having another child that sleeps through the night at about six weeks, who eats and eats and EATS from the very beginning and who has a demeanor so calm and cool we can confirm any paternity speculation because OHDEARGOD this has to be your father’s kid who is so laid back, I’m not sure your future sibling (NOTHING IN THE WORKS HERE!) will make our lives this easy. Your demeanor is carefree and blissful 99.9% of the time; really, you are so darn calm about everything. I think “man, its a little cold outside.” You don’t mind. I think “gosh that noise was loud.” You just wheel your head around and take a peek. You DO, however, scream when you aren’t being fed fast enough and if you are getting drowsy and Buckley knocks you over while you are tooling around, it is as if the world has ended. You pause, and then WAIL to your hearts delight followed by quickly popping your thumb in your mouth while either throwing yourself on the floor (I can’t even imagine what this will be like when you are two) or nestling into the nearest comforting chest.
You have been walking since about 11 months and a week and you currently believe the staircase is your playground as you experiment going up AND down. You have 10 confirmed teeth and a few other molars poking through. You have a language of your own, but the words that translate to English are: dog, mama, dada, bubbles, baby, apple, owl, bear, hi and bye-bye. You love watching the world go by and you seem to jump right in seamlessly, it’s like it was waiting for you. And now you are not only here, but you have arrived.
For the first time in my life, everything makes sense; becoming a mother has made me feel like I know what I’m doing. I see the world more clearly, somehow more carefully yet more carefree at the same time. I guess once you think you have everything, you know what you stand to lose; which is an awesomely scary but amazing place to be.
You have made our life so unbelievably full. I love you more than I ever knew possible.
Happy Birthday to you!