For Caroline, On Her First Birthday…

1_Cal_1YearCollage

Oh, my Caroline.  My sweet Cal baby.  How is it possibly that you are one already?  This year has simultaneously flashed by and also felt infinitely longer than all others.

Having a one year old in the house, having YOU in the house, is exhausting.  I had imagined that you would be like Mommy was as a kid – I guess I thought this because you’re a girl and also the first child.  I pictured you playing quietly on the carpet with favorite toys, intent and focused for hours. Shy, slightly timid, quiet, satisfied with not exploring too much – “I’m fine just where I am, thanks…”  You are NONE of those things.  And I love that.  You are completely your own girl.  You are silly, loud, and all over the place.  You’re out-going.  You wave to EVERYONE when we’re in public, UNLESS they wave at you first.  How dare they wave at you first??  Thank you for being a champion sleeper so that Daddy and I can recover from you.

You amaze me.  Watching you learning new things is utterly fascinating.  We slowly and distinctly pronounce new words for you and we can see you concentrating and absorbing.  You frown slightly and intently watch our mouths for the pronunciation and then usually try out your new word with enthusiasm.  You love the words “Dog” (pronounced DOOOOG!, with an elongated “O” and practically shouting with excitement), “cheese” (usually comes out as SHeesh), and your new favorite is “baby”, pronounced “bebee”.

I will miss you being a baby.  I will miss cuddling you in stillness and calm (when you were asleep) and when the length of your entire body, from fluffy hair to long, slender, toes, would fit neatly curled against my torso.

But I am SO thrilled to watch you grow. I just got to spend one entire year with you!  Not one, single, full, day apart.  How lucky am I?!  I am honored and so fortunate to collect this time with you. I want to collect 100 years with you.

I find myself having to make a conscious effort to tell you “I love you”.  How can I “tell” you, how can I express in just words, something that is SO powerful?  “Love” doesn’t come close to what I feel for you.  Before this day last year, my knowledge of love was everything that I feel for your Dad.  …and then you were born AND THE UNIVERSE EXPANDED.  My love for you is all-encompassing.  Infinite.  Everything.

Happy 1st Birthday, my Cal baby.

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