To My Sweet, Sweet Girl,
Since your first birthday happens to fall on Thanksgiving, I would like to tell you what I’m thankful for as you turn one.
I am thankful that you were born 13 days past your due date. You taught me that, as intrinsically woven together as we are, you are your own person and that I should never expect to be able to predict or control what lies ahead for us.
I am thankful that when you did decide to come, you were born in the back of our Subaru, not at the birth center like we had planned. You taught me that parenthood is about flexibility and that I can trust that “the universe is conspiring in my favor” as Paulo Coelho puts it. As soon as I can get out of the way, life can unfold in a way that is better than I could have ever planned myself.
I am thankful that I had the opportunity to feel every second of your birth. It taught me that my body is strong and wise and can do really hard things.
I am thankful that you needed to nurse about 21 hours a day for the first four weeks. You taught me that we are a team and that, at that time and probably at many others to come, your role is to grow and mine is to help you.
I am thankful that now, at 12 months old, you often favor Daddy instead of me. You’ve taught me the humility of knowing that you can grow very close to people other than me and that it can be good for all of us.
I am thankful that when you’re tired or hungry, you still choose me. You’ve shown me what it feels like to be completely, unequivocally trusted by another human being.
I am thankful that you tend to be extremely daring and adventurous when you’re exploring. I’d like to be more like you.
I am SO thankful that you have a daddy who loves you intensely and sometimes shows it in different ways than I do. I see that you have a great capacity to accept love in all forms.
I am thankful that you seem to have an endless supply of smiles. You’re truly up for anything and I suspect in 30 years, we’ll be great friends.
I am thankful that you have come into my life and absolutely obliterated any sense of what things were like without you. Loving you so much has taught me how to feel excruciatingly vulnerable every second of every day. So far, I’ve survived it.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all of this and so much more, some of which you might not understand until you have a Little of your own. I can’t wait to learn new lessons from my big one-year-old.
Happy birthday, my love.