My dearest girl, there is so much I want to tell you, so much I want to say…
One year ago today, you were born, gifted to us from our God above. After 19 hours of labor, you arrived at 12:06p.m. You weighed 7.08lbs and were 22 inches long. I can still remember how scared I was. I can still remember my heart beating so fast, and even though the epidural kept most of the pain away, it could not keep away the butterflies that I felt when I knew you were coming. I still remember that in the middle of the night, when I was dilated to a 7, almost 8, I held my best friends hands and asked them to pray for me, to pray that I would be strong, to pray that I would be a good mother to you, to pray that we would make it. I still remember the taste of those salty tears as I cried when I held you for the first time. When I felt you on my chest, so warm, clinging to me as much as I clung to you. I knew you were safe in my arms and we had made it through the delivery together. The overwhelming rush of love that I felt when I held you for the first time is something no one could have prepared me for. Sadie, I knew that I loved you, and that I would forever be changed, when our racing hearts touched for the first time.
I have never seen your father so proud, as the moment he first saw you and held you in the hospital. He was so attentive, so ready to be your Daddy. One day you will see that he is not a man who displays his emotion easily, but for you, he will always have a melting heart, and you will always bring out the smile in him. He loved you from the beginning, and everything he does in this life, he does for you. I think that even he would admit that you have had him wrapped around your little fingers since day one.
Those next few days after leaving the hospital would be challenging for us my dear, as I not only was learning to be your mother, but I was coping with the fact that your father would be leaving and heading back overseas for the next eight months. For three weeks, every time I fed you, I would cry. Not just because I was scared of parenting you solo, but because as I would watch you nurse, my heart was breaking for all of the moments he would miss with you. There were so many insecurities I had. Would I be a good mom to you? Could I be two parents at once? Would I be patient when you cried? Or, would I have a nervous breakdown and not be the strong mother you needed me to be. I can never accurately describe to you the overwhelming emotions I felt in those few weeks after you were born. But, I can tell you–it was you who kept me together, it was you that I woke up for everyday, and it was for you that I wiped away those tears and grew into the mother that you deserved.
The months till your father would reunite with us seemed infinite at times. Then there would be days where I would stop and think, “Wow! The time is flying by!”. Every time I took your monthly birthday picture, I knew two things: one, we were getting closer to seeing him, and two, you were growing so quickly. During those months, I spent all of my moments with you. You went everywhere with me. I learned how to go grocery shopping with you strapped to me in a baby carrier, and how to carry into the house as many bags as I could possibly handle to minimize the trips from the car to the house. When your grandpa and grandma would come to visit, we would head to Costco to help me stock up on items that were too heavy for me to carry without your father. I learned how to clean the dishes and cook dinner while I had you tightly wrapped to me, fast asleep. That wrap was my best friend in your first six months of life.
When I had to go back to work, I would wake up at 4:55a.m. to get in the shower while you slept in my bed. I still remember making pillow barriers around you and taking the baby monitor and listening like a hawk for you to make a sound while I quickly showered. I don’t know how I lucked out, but you never once stirred during those early morning showers. I would get out and go check on you, just in case, and there you would be fast asleep as usual. You would let mommy make her coffee, and we would either get to Skype Daddy, or watch the news until it was time to get ready for our day.
When you were eight months old, we were finally reunited with your father. I was so nervous for us, you had only known him from our Skype sessions, and now, here he was in real life. I prayed and prayed to God that you would accept him, that you wouldn’t be afraid of him, and that you would one day look at him, the way you look at me.
We have been lucky enough to be a family now for the last four months. We get to do regular, normal, family things…things that people take for granted every day. For now, your Daddy works a regular job, Monday through Friday, and if he does have to travel, it won’t be for a long time. What matters is that he gets to come home to us at night, and I get the joy of watching your face light up when he walks through the door.
I have been home with you since we left for Italy. Even though I have struggled with not having a job, I am adjusting to being a full-time Mommy to you. It has been hard for me, to not be working, but the longer I am away from it, and the more time I spend with you, the more I don’t want to go back. Sadie, you make my heart feel in a way I never knew existed. Your presence in my life has allowed me to become more than I ever knew I could be. I love you so much, and as you get bigger, as you learn new things, I know that I must do everything I can to not take this time for granted.
You are my heart, your little toes that I love so much, your wispy brown hair, those blue-green eyes, those warm hands that melt my soul…they are comprised of a love, so deep, so grand, that sometimes the very thought of it brings tears to my eyes, as it does now while I write this.
My dear, as you turn one, know that no matter what happens in your blessed life, your Mommy and Daddy will love you unabashedly, unconditionally, and sometimes, uncontrollably.
Happy first birthday my sweet girl, we pray you have many more.
Love you forever and always,