A letter to my baby girl: What you've taught me in your first year of life.

Dear baby girl,

I can’t believe we are just a day away from your very first birthday.  I feel like we’ve always been together, yet it’s only been 12 beautiful months.

Over this past year, your dad and I have watched you grow.  We’ve celebrated with you as you rolled over for the first time and sat up on your own.  We cheered you on as you figured out how to crawl. We asked you to smile way too many times because we wanted to see those little white teeth in your mouth.

Baby girl, your smile and laughter are contagious. We’ve often put you to bed and sat on the couch together talking about how much we love you and how much we love teaching you how to navigate this big, big world we live in.

Aside from all of that, what I really want you to know is how thankful I am for you and all you have taught me in your first year of life.

Photo credit: Kelsey Zwicker Photography

You have taught me how to love.

Before you came along, I found your daddy and we’ve shared an undeniable love from day one. But this love I’m talking about is something only a mama can understand. A love you can’t put into words and a love that makes you cry big wet tears all over the keyboard when you write about it.  Every single day I walk into your room to wake you, my mama heart bursts. Thank you sweet girl for showing me and giving me this love.

You have taught me that it’s okay to not be okay.

We all live in this world where we feel like we have to be ‘on’. You go to work every morning and are pleasant to your co-workers and your customers. You attend family events and put a smile on your face.  You talk on the phone to your distant relative about all the great things that are happening. But baby girl, you’ve shown me that it’s okay to breakdown one minute and be extremely happy the next. It’s acceptable and actually, it’s helpful. Thank you for showing me it’s okay for me to do the same.

You have taught me to trust my instincts.

Mama knows best, right?  I always know what you need and when you need it. I think all mamas have this super power. Ear infection? Teething?  Need to poop? Super tired? All of the above? I know you better than I know myself, and I promise to always give you what you need for as long as you need me.

You have taught me to take care of my body.

Postpartum bodies and postpartum issues are topics people tend to avoid conversations about.  You’re squishy, stretched, feeling a pain like never before, wondering what’s going to happen next, and gorgeously imperfect. But what I need to remember is, I made a human. I made you and I have you in my life because of my beautiful body.  So the next time I’m feeling a little off, I will always remember to give myself grace and a little bit of time to myself. My body has done something magical and I will forever have you to thank.

You have taught me to stop comparing.

To stop comparing your growth, to stop comparing my birthing experience, to stop comparing my body. It can be extremely difficult to disconnect or disengage in conversations about these things, but you’ve taught me to let it go. Our story is unique and our experience will be different than anyone else. It’s beautifully ours.

You have taught me how to be flexible.

I read a number of baby books before you were born.  Not because I wanted to do exactly what the books say to do, but because I like to be educated.  That perfect sleep schedule? The array of foods to try? That one outfit I love? Everything goes out the window as soon as we have a large blowout, an afternoon of too much stimulation after a trip to Savannah, Georgia, or a night you decided you needed your mama at 2 AM.  Even if I do everything perfectly, if it’s not what you want or need it doesn’t matter. Getting to know you and understanding the importance of being flexible has forever changed me.

You have taught me that in order to achieve success we have to be willing to grow.

The truth is, I don’t have all the answers.  5 years from now, I still won’t have all the answers. But, in this first year of your life, you’ve shown me how important it is to gather wisdom from those around me, to stay humble and learn from my mistakes, and when something isn’t going the way I planned, the only way to grow is to make necessary changes in life to help achieve my version of success.  I’m living in the moment, the little moments, thanks to you sweet girl.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for challenging me to become better. For allowing your daddy and I to have a stronger love than before you existed, for making me feel like a superwoman, for hugging me tightly, and for making me a mama.

Happy birthday little one, life is about to get a whole lot sweeter.


Your mama