Dear Baby Bear,
This weekend, we celebrated your first birthday.
I know. I can’t believe it either.
How is it possible that you’re a year old already? It feels like moments ago when I was was nine months pregnant and couldn’t wait for you to arrive, so nervous and scared and naive about the year we were about to be thrown into.
And now you’re a year old. You’re not an infant anymore, and you’re hardly a baby. You’re just on the border of toddlerhood, the same person you’ve always been, and different every day. It’s been a year of watching you grow and change in so many ways, with me just trying to just hold on and keep up.
The night of your birthday party, we sat in your rocking chair before bed, like we always do. And for a moment, I thought about those early days, when you were too tiny to even hold your head up and all you wanted was to snuggle and feel safe and warm in my arms. And I hugged you closer, because you’re so much bigger now but you’re still that same baby to me. You always will be.
This year has been so incredibly wonderful And it’s also been so incredibly hard. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if having a baby was hard or wonderful, like it had to be one or the other. But it’s always been both. Every single day, it’s been both at the exact same time. It was the toughest year I’ve ever had. And it was also the best year of my life.
There were nights holding you in my arms when I wanted to just stop time forever, to pause that moment and spend eternity there. The joy of watching you grow up is impossible to even describe, and even now, after a year, it all felt like it went by too fast. Some days felt like they’d never end, but this year passed in the blink of an eye.
More than anything, though, I’m so grateful that you’re part of our family. Your entry in our lives was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and the best way I can explain it is this: The love that I have for you is so immense that it’s made me love everything in the world a little bit more. You opened up my heart in a completely new way, and I will forever be grateful for it.
At your party, some of my friends with older kids told me that a baby’s first birthday is for the parents to celebrate making it through the first year. And we did. We made it, and we celebrated.
It was the toughest year.
It was the best year.
Happy birthday, Baby Bear. We love you so much.