They Say It’s Your Birthday…

…and I just don’t know how we got here. I remember being nauseous and dreaming of naps as I tried in vain to keep up with a busybody toddler. I remember my insides getting kicked and squished- a lot. I remember feeling like you were going to fall right out of me at any moment, and for the last several weeks of my pregnancy, I desperately wished that you would. I remember you making me wait. And wait. Four excruciatingly long days past your due date. And I remember the moment when I knew you were finally on your way out to greet me. You came in a whirlwind (read Lucy’s birth story here) that left me breathless and shocked and oh so very relieved.

I remember you looking exactly like your sister. When you would sleep or nurse (so basically all of the time), it felt like I was reliving Penny’s newborn stage again, you were both so much alike. And I remember there was a day when you didn’t look like Penny anymore. You looked like you- sleepy smiling eyes and a cute button nose and a tiny, squeezable butt.

I remember being worried in the beginning, when it seemed like you hardly ate at all compared to your sister. You put on weight slowly, didn’t have the huge cheeks and rolls I had been accustomed to, and wanted to be held a lot more. I remember the moment when I realized you were a different baby with different needs, and what a breath of fresh air it was to relax and trust that you would tell me what you needed and I would provide it.

In the past year there has been lots of juggling and learning (on both our ends). There has been guilt. Guilt that I haven’t given you the one-on-one attention that I was able to give your sister. There has been a lot of you laying on the floor waiting for me to come save you, a lot of you standing at the gate to the kitchen screaming at me to hold you while I rush around trying to get your sister a snack. And there has been gratitude. Gratitude that you are so understanding and easy-going (most of the time). And especially gratitude for all of the snuggles and nuzzles and contented sighs, for that newborn baby smell I missed so much, for the chance to do it all over again. It really does go so fast, and just as I have missed the days when you sister could sit still long enough to give me a hug, I have been so grateful for your warm little body pressed against mine.

Even now, in the wake of your 1st birthday, you are walking and babbling and waving and playing and still, you are Mommy’s girl above all else. In spite of your newfound mobility and the freedom that allows, you check in frequently to make sure I’m close by. The other day I watched you playing at the Children’s Museum, thrilled that you could finally run around and explore like the big kids did, finally had access to all of the wonderful things that had once been out of reach. You got caught up in the water room, mesmerized by the way the water dripped down the chalkboard wall as you made broad strokes with your paintbrush. Suddenly you looked up, and I saw your eyes searching the room for me, becoming more panicked with each passing second. Finally you saw me, standing amid the sea of strangers, and the glowing smile of joy and relief that spread across your face almost made me want to cry. You rushed toward me, hugging my legs as if to tell all of the other people in the room that you belonged to me. That you were mine.

Some days it still doesn’t feel real. It was surreal enough the first time, becoming a parent and being gifted the most amazing of gifts. But to get to do it a second time, and with someone as special and lovable as you, just seems too good to be true. Surely no one person deserves all this love, all this goodness. But I am going to relish it and cherish it and cling to it with the same ferocity that you cling to me when you suspect I am about to leave you for some mystery errand or other.

You are one! I don’t know how we got here, Lucy Pearl, but I’m so very glad we did.

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I will share more details on Lucy’s Birthday celebration soon- a small gathering of family and friends on a rainy Easter Sunday that included balloons, singing (which resulted in crying on the birthday girl’s end), carrot cake cupcakes (which quickly erased the tears), and sticky fingers. As always, perfectly captured photographs are by Amanda Seifert Photography.