If I were to flip the pages of my memory of this past year, glancing at the glossy pages of what has happened, I would marvel at the life that has been recorded. My life has been a sort of tornado in a calm valley and yet, time has sort of stood still, too. Photographs speed past my eyes and I am in awe of how time can be newly measured in baby breaths and giggles, how days are captured in smiles and sleeping eyelashes. This has been a year spent in swaddling, nursing, cuddling, and cooing. This has been the year of celebration.
My baby has turned a year old this month. And though still quite small, she has laughed in the face of her struggles. There are no traces of her respiratory problems and no developmental delays that are common with premature babies. In this past year, she has nursed and weaned, she has rolled over, she has laughed, learned words, eaten solids, fed herself, played in the bath, emptied Kleenex boxes, discovered toilet paper rolls, snuck into her brother’s room, got stuck behind the couch (and under), dumped laundry on top of herself, and many other exploits. She has stolen shoes and a book, gotten her ears pierced, flirted with strangers, chewed on a rock, destroyed my computer charger, and mastered peek-a-boo.
And she has charmed my world. My darling baby girl is a gift. She sleeps with her bum sticking straight up in the air and falls asleep deeply, resting for a new day of adventure. She is as busy now as she ever was in the womb, fighting to get out. Her personality is large enough to wrestle this world and she just might. Every day I see her I am reminded of how much I was willing to pay to bring her here. The world needs this girl and the light she brings.
This yearbook that fills my mind, filled with photographs of worry and tears in the beginning of her sojourn here on earth, and now delight and laughter, is lovingly kept for her. I pull it out as I rock her, still, and show her one picture, “Remember when you were so itty bitty you could fit just inside one arm?” And she smiles up at me.
It has been a marvelous year. I would have gladly died on that day for this little girl, but I am certainly grateful I did not and I can spend my days loving her. Happy birthday, my sweet and precious Miss Jelly Bean.