Happy half birthday. You are officially (well, officially as of Friday) 1 and a half. This means I can no longer say "Oh, she's just over a year". It means that when I ask you if you are a baby, you shake your head ferociously and say "Noooooo". It means that you've taken to wandering around the house, pointing at pictures of yourself when you where younger and exclaiming "Ohhhh baby!" and no amount of convincing & explaining will make you agree that that tiny person was in fact, you, not too long ago.
Gracie, I've run out of new ways to tell you precisely how beautiful you are. How wonderful. How you have filled spaces in my life I didn't even know existed.
I steal pieces of you, you know.
The way you giggle, from deep down in your belly, when I hit that tickle spot between your neck and shoulder just right. How it feels when you suddenly stop playing and run over to me to hug my leg and lay your head on my lap, just for a minute. When you are walking, and suddenly throw your hand up and back, without even turing your head, knowing, never doubting that I will take your hand in mine. How you smell, just after a bath, when you are snuggled against me, rocking in our chair, reading our nightly stories. The weight of you in my arms, against my hip...& the weight of knowing that all too soon, you will outgrow my arms. The way you take my hair and pull me close to you, place your forehead against mine & just laugh.
I take these pieces & tuck them in my back pocket. I hoard them, covet them, rearrange them in my mind over and over again. And if my day becomes a little gray, a little overwhelming- I take them out. I revel in them. Bathe myself in the lightness of them.
I think the first few days of your life, in that sunny hospital room, where some of the best days of mine. Days of love and joy and family. Where we were safe. Where the worries & responsibilities of the outside world were kept at bay. And where we just marveled at you. And some days, my heart breaks a little knowing I will never have a time in my life just like that, ever again.
The truth though? I still find myself marveling.
You are funny. Funnier than me, in a way that is effortless and wonderfully pure. And you know it.
You are so beautiful. More beautiful than I could have ever imagined in my dreams and more beautiful with every day that passes. You have been known to literally take my breath away.
You are stubborn and opinionated. Serves us right. But I hope it means that you always stand up for yourself and what you believe in.
I watch you love and I am amazed. Sure, you are loved, by more people than I can even name- but to see you love, to watch your face light up when your Grandpa walks into a room, to hear you calling for your Mimi, to watch you traipse around after your older cousin Alex, idolizing his every move. To see you truly love, without expectation or without it being colored with past experiences- it is, in a word, inspiring.
A good friend of mine recently told me that I was one of the best mothers she knew. That she
could see the joy of motherhood pouring out of me when I was with you. As tears sprung to my eyes, I realized, in amazement, that this was one of the greatest compliments I have ever received.
You, my dear, are marvelous.
I hope you understand...
you will always be MY baby.
I love you to the moon and back,