On Friday, Emmalee will celebrate her first birthday. In some ways it is hard to believe that a year has passed. In other ways it feels like Emmalee has always been here, since life before her has become mostly an unimportant blur. It has also been a long and challenging year. I have lived through so many extreme emotions, experiencing both my greatest joys and most desolate hardships, all in the span of only twelve months. It is both a sorrow and a relief to see the year come to an end.
Many mothers are overcome by sadness when their baby reaches the one year milestone. I’m finding that for me that is just not the case. I would be lying if I said that I never felt nostalgic for the tiny baby that Emmalee used to be, but those moments are fleeting and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t go back to those days for anything. The time I spent with newborn baby Emmalee is mostly a haze of crazy hormones, sleep deprivation, and feelings of being in way over my head. At 4 months old, though Emma was certainly adorable, I often found myself at a loss with what to do with her. She was awake more and more, but was still so tiny and helpless and seemed content to just lie around staring off into space. And at 6 months another period of sleep deprived fog descended. There were plenty of happy moments too, but adjusting to being a mom definitely took some time.
I’ve found that as Emmalee gets older, it seems that I love her more and more. It is a pleasure to watch her learn and grow and explore. She seems to become a little more fun to be around with each passing day. She is now interactive. She still doesn’t say a lot, but she communicates in her own way. And best of all she not only knows who I am but seems to enjoy having me around, which is much more rewarding than the mostly indifferent attitude of her younger days. She makes me laugh constantly with the silly things she does, and I love to see the world through her eyes. Everything is so new, fresh and exciting when viewed from the perspective of an almost one year old.
I find myself eagerly anticipating what is still to come. I can’t wait to see her take her first steps. I’m so excited to see her running around the house, even if that means I’ll have to chase after her. And I am most on the edge of my seat to hear her start to talk. She jabbers so animatedly all the time and I am impatiently waiting to find out what it is that she has to say. If she is this amusing without even speaking, I can just imagine the joy I’ll get out of listening to her use words. Each day as I watch Emmalee grow seemingly before my eyes, I see her turning into this little individual with thoughts and ideas all her own. She is not a baby anymore, though she’ll always be my baby. Our journey together has just begun, but I know it will pass by much too quick.
When I was pregnant the thought of being the mother of an older child frightened me. The first day of school, projects, braces, peers, and the god-awful teenage years were the stuff of my nightmares. Now that Emmalee is here though, I find myself excited about these things too. I’m less eager for my baby to completely grow up, and I certainly don’t want to rush her, but I am interested to experience all the phases of childhood with her, both good and bad, and I think it will be an amazing thing to watch her grow into an adult. I often find myself wondering what kind of a person she’ll turn out to be. But I’m getting ahead of myself, as I tend to do. Emma has made the passing of time much too evident, and I realize I need to slow down and savor the moments as they come.
Happy First Birthday, my sweet baby Emmalee. I love you more with every breath. No matter what the future holds for us that will always be true.
“I wanted you more than you ever will know, so I sent love to follow wherever you go.” –Nancy Tillman