Tonight I will think of all these things while I watch my little girl dig into her first cake and open her first birthday presents, and tomorrow morning, she will wake up, another milestone passed, another step away from me. And years from now I will open her scrapbook and see her sweet face, and then I will call her, perhaps, and talk to the woman who will always be my little girl.
Today is the day, my baby is one. It's exciting and sad all at the same time. A year ago I held her in my arms and breathed her sweet newborn scent. A few months ago I watched her roll over for the first time, heard her first belly giggle rolling out. Not too long ago, she took her first steps. The small things I couldn't wait for her to learn she now does without me and without a thought. It's a funny thing, motherhood; your very job is to work yourself out of a job. You guide, you teach, and then you stand back and watch them do it by themselves. I feel a fierce pride when I see her toddle around the house, or figure out which block goes where, or shake her tiny butt in a dance, but I also feel a keen sense of loss with each new accomplishment. It takes us one step closer to the time when she'll ride off on a school bus, throw her tassled cap in the air, walk down an aisle, and ultimately, leave me to start her own journey of life and motherhood. No one fully explained this ride to me. All the advice, from teething to sleeping patterns, seems pale in the face of what I wasn't told. How I would feel the pain of each hurt as acutely as if it were my own, how I would become a champion who could ward off monsters and kiss away boo boos, how my life would cease to be my own and would instead meld into these tiny beings who I call my children. They are the best part of me, my inspiration, and my strength. Things that I am not capable of doing for myself I can do for them. They make me feel happy and sad, proud and angry, and most of all....blessed.