Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On Your First Birthday

Dear Hannah,

Last year on your birthday, I wrote to you about all the hopes and dreams and wonders I had for you. The days surrounding your birth were pretty incredible, and I should have known that you were going to come into this world guns a'blazing. And did you ever!

In the hospital, I tried to rest up before your arrival. You had other plans. You kept kicking the external monitors, making them thump, and then rolling over to the other side so the nurses had to come in and adjust the monitors. All that movement meant no rest for Mommy.

Your arrival into the world was more of an "eviction process", since you found me to be a hospitable living environment. You came out squirmy and scared, screaming until you and I met for the first time. You were so beautiful and warm, exactly the same temperature as me. You were my perfect little girl.

When you did arrive, you were so tiny! Every nurse and doctor warned me about the potential complications at birth, but I should have known then who you were going to be, because you came on your own time, in your own way, proving me wrong every step of the process.

For the first few weeks of your life, you were an average baby: eat, sleep, gassy smile, poop, repeat. At 5 weeks, you made eye contact with me and smiled for the first time. You recognized me! At 8 weeks, you stopped being a newborn and you became A Person. Tummy time, infant rattles, mirrors, it all became the stuff of infants. You had more interesting and important things to take care of. Ever since, you have been trying to stand, roll, laugh, crawl, walk, play, and have fun.

You love to laugh, and it's my greatest joy to be the master behind the giggles. Everyday I tickle you, make faces and weird noises, and make sure you go to bed having  laughed a great big belly laugh. Your smile lights up a room. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't think your smile can't melt a cold, black heart.

You are spunky, determined, sassy, and independent. You don't let anything, or anyone, stand in your way. You have quite the personality on you. Everything you say, every word and baby babble, is said with great importance and earnest. You quickly figured out that we grownups used sounds to communicate, and you wanted in on that action. You have been babbling and talking forever, and it will likely never stop. I just know that you are going to have questions that demand answers.

You despise nap time and always have. No amount of begging, pleading, feeding, and praying would get you to go down. Just when we thought we had you fooled, we had to come up with another way of convincing you to sleep during the day, because you hate to miss out on anything. Nothing gets past you, and if you think there's fun to be had in another room, by golly, you'll find it!

You are also crazy smart. You get that from your dad. You can follow commands and say words and sign signs. You can crawl so fast, stand on your feet, push up on your tippy toes, and reach for what you want. You know where we keep things and hide things, and we can't ever count on being able to hide things from you, because you automatically go looking for what you want. Blockades be damned! You WILL find it! You say Dada, Mama, book, touch, tongue, kittykitty, pretty, milk, more, buh-bye, nice....the list goes on. When we sing "Teenage Dream", and I say, "Just one touch, now baby I believe!" you reach out and touch me, all while saying, "Toooooooooooooooooouch!" When Jane walks into the room, you light up and say, "Kittykitty!" You recognize us and yourself, and when your favorite toy or puzzle piece goes missing, you aren't satisfied with a substitute. You want YOUR Mr. Dog, not another's!

You love music. On Thanksgiving Day, while watching the Macy's parade, you stood still, completely enamored by the Broadway performances during the pre-show. When Daniel Radcliffe danced, so did you. You love singing and dancing and always sing along in the car. Christmas music is your absolute favorite. We dance everyday, and your little head-bob gets me every time.

You love to eat, and you'd eat all day, everyday if we let you. You have days when you're picky, but eventually they pass and you're back to nom-nom-noming on everything in sight.

You, my dear, are a big, big fan of moi. You are always climbing towards me, crawling at me, pulling up my legs and wanting to be held. Sometimes you reach out and just want to hold me or hold my hand. When Daddy tickles me and I say, "Noooooooooooooo!" in my funny voice, it upsets you. Each time it happens, you cry and come to Mommy's side. You are always reaching for me. It won't always be this way, and I want to enjoy it for as long as possible.

Your comedic timing is impeccable. You can make me laugh for hours with just a look or smirk. You know exactly when you shrug your shoulders or give me "that face". Your laugh is infectious.

You love to do so many things. You know exactly what you love and you don't care who knows it. More importantly, you are loved by so many people. Everyone who's met you thinks you're the bee's knees, kiddo. You will never stopped being loved for who you are, and who you are becoming.

It might be a little heavy, maybe even a little unfair, to tell you that you saved me. Even when I didn't want to be saved, when I didn't think I was capable of loving anyone more than I love myself, you were the one who  turned me around. You made me a Mom, and you, sweet baby, are the only one who could have made that happen--it was a job meant for you alone.

Hannah, before I met you, I was just breathing. Inhaling and exhaling. I didn't realize it, but I was. Now I savor every moment with you. I breathe you in and squeeze you tight before you wriggle away and find something else to get in to. I love watching you play and learn and grow. When you smile at me, you light up my whole world. The worst part of my day is leaving your sweet smile

Baby, the day I met you was the day I started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. You've helped make me complete, and it was you who made me realize that I always wanted to be your mom. I love you to the moon and back, and I am honored to be your mommy. You are, and always will be, the daughter I always wanted. Baby, no one loves you like me.

Happy Birthday, Presh.