Thursday, September 8, 2016

DEAR EVERLY RAE: HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY




You are my sunshine, my sweet wildflower, my heart.

You have changed me.

As I got you ready for bed last night, I found myself doing everything more slowly.  Taking my time as I washed under your sweet double chin, making sure all the lotion was rubbed into your back, listening to you "read" me a story.  The minutes were pulling me ahead again, and I already knew what was on the other side.  When I tiptoed out of your room and closed the door, I would be finishing a chapter of our story.  The most wonderful, difficult, magical chapter of my story and just the opening chapter of yours.  Two stories intertwined, but also growing branches that pulled away from each other.

I cried as I changed your diaper this morning, because I couldn't picture the skinny little newborn who used to lay there and stare up at me.  It was like trying to remember the melody to a song as you listened to another song.  Impossible.  Instead here you were.  This happy and chunky 1 year old who wiggled out of my hands.  I know next year I'll cry because you'll be too big for the changing pad on the pack and play I keep in our room that only is used as a catchall for clothes now.

But away from your wonderful current self, I remember.  I remember your hot breath as you fell asleep after I nursed you.  I remember you screaming in the car and then only quieting down when I sang you your favorite song, "Beautiful Dreamer".  I remember the first time we locked eyes as the doctor placed you on my chest.  That, I will always remember.

And as crazy as it seems to me that you will be running and talking this time next year, I will hold these images of your first year so dearly.  You were mine this year.  My permanent shadow who needed me so completely.  And while you'll still need me in the future, it will be different and always changing.  And that's ok.  The one thing I want you to know is how fiercely I love you.  Now and always.

You are the happiest, sweetest, most inquisitive baby.  Our favorite thing is when you hold up something you found.  You are so very proud of yourself as you make sure we all see your new treasure.  You give your love freely, and I love when you clamber up my shirt and clutch on so tightly when you're worried I may put you down.

You wave and give high fives.  You clap your hands whenever I say "Yay Everly!"  You say "mama" (kind of to me) and whisper "bye-bye" just as people head out of ear shot.

You love being cuddled.  Every night when you get home from daycare, you waddle up to your toy dog and slap it's back, signaling that you want to sit on it and us to pull you around the house.  Which we do, because it makes you so very happy.

You get into EVERYTHING.  The cabinets are your treasure boxes that surely hide something amazing.  We gave you a toy remote control, which you like ok, but you always go after the real one given the chance.

You are walking more and more and love the new freedom.  We know when you're tired, because you try to stand but then drunkenly fall down and resort to crawling.

You're eating more and more table foods and meal times take an hour.  Your favorite food to feed yourself is peas and your favorite food for us to feed you is applesauce.  You cannot get enough applesauce.

You still have no teeth(!).  I worry sometimes that there aren't any teeth in there and that we'll have to get you baby dentures.  Every time you fuss at night, we assume it's teething, but then no tooth pops out.

You have very little hair.  So the no hair and no teeth thing trick me into thinking you're younger than you really are.  Then I pick you up, though, and remember that you're huge!  You're already wearing 18-24 month clothes.

You love to giggle and be tickled.  You already have a great sense of humor and know how to get us laughing.


I wonder sometimes what are those things I want to tell you, to make sure you know, to help you as you find your way.  In my 20s, I did a lot of reading with a single purpose.  I wanted one truth that would explain everything.  That's a tall order, but what I did find was a passage in a book that made me see value and adventure in my seemingly ordinary life.  The best advice I have for you is to stay in the present.  Appreciate the fleeting moment for what it is, without focusing on how the past was better or how the future will be brighter, because guess what?  Today is a day you'll one day look wistfully back on as "the good old days".  I know that as I cry about missing your newborn days, years from now I'll cry about missing your toddler days.  It's so much easier said than done, but a wonderful reminder that you don't have to do anything extraordinary to have an extraordinary life.  Just open your eyes to the incredible world around you.

If we could have remembrance now
     And see, as in the days to come
     We shall, what's venturous in these hours:
     The swift, intangible romance of fields at home,
     The gleams of sun, the showers,
     Our workaday contentments, or our powers
     To fare still forward through the uncharted haze
     Of present days. . . .
     For, looking back when years shall flow
     Upon this olden day that's now,
     We'll see, romantic in dimm'd hours,
     These memories of ours.

--"Romance by Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer


No matter how old you get, you will always be our sweet baby girl.  Happy 1st birthday, Everly.  You are so very loved.

3 comments:

  1. Love this! Happy Birhday Everly! Hannah just got her first two teeth at 8 months, it seemed to take forever! At least Everly can gum food :)

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  2. This is so sweet and amazing, Kari. Well said. Love you!

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  3. I love this! It seems like I'm going through so many of the same emotions. Easton too loves to feed himself peas! I never thought of giving him his own remote, I love that idea. It's been so bittersweet having my sweet baby turn one. I loved reading this. Everly has a pretty amazing mommy!

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