Dear Baby Bug,
Happy First Birthday to you, sweet little Mary Hazel!
Of course, I find myself feeling a bit nostalgic when I reflect on our first wonderful year together. Just this week, I put away another box of clothes that no longer fit you, I realized that you are almost ready for a bigger car seat, and you seem to be telling me that you are no longer interested in a bottle. With the closing of each of these tiny chapters, I know in my heart that these will be the last times I turn these particular pages. Every mama knows exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a bittersweet transition watching you grow from baby to toddler. But greater than that ache I feel in my heart, I feel pure joy that I am your mother and that you surprised us all by being our daughter!
What a journey we’ve had together since I first put two and two together and realized you were in my tummy. Your dad and I were told that we wouldn’t be able to have any more children after your brother and sister were born. They were our miracle babies. Through desire, perseverance, hope, and the wonders of science, we nurtured Charlie and Poppy into this world. It was a precarious journey with a wonderfully happy ending and we were humbled to be their parents. I never thought I would have another chance to bring another precious baby into this world, which is why it took me so long to catch on. Everyone else had the flu that week and I just thought I was following suit. The nausea, the fatigue, the cramps…the flu, right? What else could it be? After weeks of feeling under the weather (and pulling over on the interstate), I finally had the vaguest of inklings. I was told by experts in their field that it wasn’t possible, but yet, I knew you were there. You have brought me undescribable joy from the very second I realized you existed. You are our third miracle baby. The nine months (plus two weeks) I spent carrying you were some of the happiest of my life. You were an easy baby even then. It felt good and just as it should be.
I’ll never forget the morning I knew I would soon meet you. I called the babysitter, the grandparents, the doula. They were all on stand-by, but nobody knew just how quickly you would make your entrance into this world. We arrived at the hospital at 9:05 on your grandfather’s birthday, and you were born twenty minutes later. It was intense, empowering, exhilirating and wonderful. I can still remember how perfect and warm you felt lying on my chest where you nuzzled for hours and hours. Bliss.
When you were just two weeks old, we headed to Atlanta to help Daddy with his surgery. Looking back on it now, I’m not even sure how we did what we did. You were my constant companion. I found that when I comforted you, it brought me peace. You centered me and I just knew that everything would be fine because we had defied so many odds already. You were here, we were meant to be a family, and that was that.
You have spoiled me. Getting the chance to mother a singleton has been an unexpected joy. I wouldn’t change a thing about having twins, but it was definitely more…challenging. You make my job easy. You started sleeping though the night long before I was ready to be away from you for eight consecutive hours. You only cry when you’re really good and mad about something. You are happy to tag along with all of us on all our many chores, errands, and adventures. I try to carve out enough time each day when it’s just you and me, the creaky rocking chair, and your quiet, cool, dark room. That’s the magic time. The time when I sing to you the songs my mama sang to me. The time when I smooth down your silly soft cowlicks. The time we gaze at each other when you drink your milk. I plead with myself regularly to remember this time. (Click.) I hope to recall not only the specific memories of rocking, holding, and singing, but also the feeling of complete and perfect contentment. It’s during these moments, that I feel nostalgic for the things that have yet to happen. I feel the past, present, and future all at once. I sense the potential for who you will soon be and I love you even more.
So, yes, I might be a little emotional tomorrow when we put that candle on your chocolate carrot muffin and sing Happy Birthday to you while you clap your little hands and smile that toothy grin. But I’m also really excited about watching you grow. I appreciate you every single day and I never for a minute take your presence here in our family for granted. I love the way you scoot around from room to room on your bottom while holding one arm up in the air like a cowgirl. I love how you point to everything with your finger and exclaim, “This? That! This? That!” I love how you break into laughter when you see me or Daddy walk in the room. I love how entertained you are by your brother’s crazy antics and how adored you are by your big sister.
You were meant to be here with us and we couldn’t imagine it any other way.