Hey hey it’s my birthday! Yay! But for real, I’M PUMPED! So for those of you that don’t know, I take my birthday VERY SERIOUSLY! I expect all the balloons, cakes, candles, singing, and presents...
A Letter to My Daughter on Her First Birthday
To my Peanut Face, Hazel Bean, Cutest of the Cutes, Stinks, Minnow, Baby Baby, Littlest Baby, Chicken… Little Miss Roth… I can’t believe you’re already a year old. I know I’ve told you a thousand times, but the time has gone so fast. You should also know that your dad and I are LITERALLY BESIDE OURSELVES wondering how this day is already here. Seriously, how is today YOUR FIRST BIRTHDAY?!?
A Letter to My Daughter on Her First Birthday
In my mind, you made me a mom one second ago and almost two years ago… all at the same time. As I sit in your nursery feeding you now, and we look at the picture of your dad when I called him at work to tell him I was pregnant (almost two years ago now), I can’t help but tell you the story for the hundredth time… “Dad couldn’t shout with joy because his office door was open and instead gave me a silent thumbs up while I laughed on the floor of our bathroom. It was the least planned and most perfect way to start this journey.”
That minute, we both felt a love that we never knew existed. It was just the beginning, but that’s when we both knew we’d love becoming your parents. As you grew inside of me, I marveled at what our bodies can withstand. The most ancient, primal, and basic experience that literally every single human goes through to be born… yet I still can’t wrap my head around it. I learned patience, to give up control, to “do less,” and to slow down. You kicked and moved to remind me you were coming and I prepped and nested to remind your dad, ha! Oh, and he baked me cookies… lots of cookies.
Then the day came and looking back on it, it’s even more surreal. We went through the motions we had learned in our classes. We were packed up and ready, but how can you really be ready for the miracle of LIFE? When they placed you on my chest, fresh from my body and still a part of me, I lost it. How were you real?!? How were you mine?!? There literally aren’t words for that moment, but I’ve never cried so hard or been so happy and your little body wiggling in my arms was the best thing imaginable.
And literally, just like that, you made us parents. Brett, my best friend and love of my life, was now “dad”… your dad… and trust me, that took some getting used to. But more than that, I WAS A MOM! We fed you, burped you, dressed you, and mostly just watched you. We were in awe and we’re still in awe today. I’m pretty sure your dad and I will watch you with the same adoring curiosity for the rest of your life… so hopefully you don’t mind.
Then we got to show you off. Of course, you won’t understand now, but someday we’ll explain how strange the world that you were born into was. It wasn’t a world that any of us knew how to navigate and that was hard. There was fear and uncertainty around every bend and your dad and I were challenged to not only take care of ourselves, but to keep you safe in unprecedented times.
Your family wanted to hold you SO BAD, but they settled for sitting 6 feet away in the warm April sunshine or viewing you on a screen from across the country. Friends visited in masks and brought food that was wiped down with Lysol before coming in the house. See, I told you, weird times. But you know what? Those first 4 weeks – though your dad and I didn’t sleep much and it was HARD WORK – were amazing. You were growing every minute and your dad and I were right there to watch.
Then, guess what? You got to meet some of your family! Grandma Terry, Grandma Betsy, Uncle Tito, Aunt Heather, your cousins, and Grandpa Ben. And ohhhhh, if you weren’t the most precious little thing. They held you, cuddled you, kissed you, and loved on you while you soaked up every little bit of their adoration. You snuggled in on each of them and gave them just enough of your sweet little personality for each of them to fall in love like we had.
Now you weren’t just our baby, but you were officially part of the family. It was wonderful and honestly a little bit tough all at the same time. It was probably the hormones, but your dad and I closed up our house that night and cuddled around you on our bed, willing you to stay our little tiny baby forever.
But life has a way of teaching you, and your dad and I knew it was time to let go. We watched the months fly by as you grew and we went back to work. We celebrated all the little moments, taking hundreds of photos and videos and making sure we didn’t miss a single thing! Most of our original plans for what we’d do when you arrived had changed, but if I’ve learned anything about parenting, it’s all about being flexible. So we pivoted and made the best of the strange times we were living in. We took you on little local vacations and then even got ambitious and drove to Utah for hiking and fresh air.
I’m sure lots of parents say this, but I honestly think you’re the BEST BABY IN THE WORLD! You took to sleep training, you drank the bottles that I pumped for you, and when you started eating food, that was honestly the most fun!
As I write this I see the irony that obviously each day was leading us closer to today and that documenting it only proves that we should’ve seen it coming. But alas, here we are and somehow a year has passed and I can’t fathom how. Each day is a whole new adventure for you, and your sparkling eyes have a deep sweetness. You’re charismatic, curious, loving beyond belief, and hearing you talk melts my heart. Your first word was “Hi,” followed by “Mama,” and then “Dada.” Now you say as many words as you can, trying to say everything that we challenge you with… even “Caterpillar” and “Sandwich.” When we say “Dog” you say “Tiger” and when we say “Chicken” you “bawk, bawk, bawk.” I can’t believe how smart you are, trying to figure out the world one book, puzzle, shape sorter, and whatever else you can noodle your little finger into, at a time. You LOVE to eat and don’t discriminate against ANY food. It’s safe to say that you’ve tried more foods than your dad at this point and as I tell you at least 20 times a day, “MOM’S SO PROUD OF YOU!”
So as you go into your second year of life, I hope you know one thing: YOUR DAD AND I LOVE YOU SO SO MUCH. When I’m away from you, it feels like a piece of me is missing and when I’m with you it feels like my heart is living outside of my body. You’re perfect. You’re our universe. And you will always be my little girl. Happy birthday, little one.