Before You Turn One

By Natalie

My Dearest Felicity,

It feels like you’ve always been a part of us.

Tomorrow is your birthday. Before you turn one I want you to know how significant this past year has been. You’ve overcome every hurdle that stands in your way. Rolling, crawling, climbing, walking. We’ve sat alongside you for every milestone cheering you on.

I feel nostalgic for the days that have passed. Worn out from the consistency we have to uphold with you. But I also feel honored to have such a sweet snuggler for a daughter and I hope we can be everything you need us to be even if you might not think it at the moment!

I want to meditate on what this past year has brought us. I want to hold on to these last days nursing you at bedtime. I want to remember the little moments like when you’d walk into the bathroom and point to the shiny toilet paper holder and chatter on about it. I want to paste in my memory what your little body looked like standing outside of the bathtub in nothing but your diaper, waving your hand in the air, ready to splash in. How you cling to me when you’re scared, rest your head on my shoulder when you’re sleepy. How you run across your crib when I walk into your room after a nap.

I want to remember what you looked like as you walked toward me for the very first time. I even want to remember these tantrums you’ve been throwing, with tears in your eyes, throwing yourself face down on the floor when I tell you no.

While I was standing in the kitchen recently I looked down at my feet to see you reaching up for me. I needed to take a breath because you’d been screaming for me. I had to wash my hands free of raw meat I was about to bake before I could pick you up. “One minute baby.” I told you. I wanted you to go pick up your stuffed lamb, I wanted you to explore, I even urged you to pull all of the tupperware out of the cabinet. But you wanted me. Before I allowed myself to get too flustered I remembered a woman at the grocery store who stopped us a few months ago. She smiled at you sweetly. You’d just been writhing in my arms. We were waiting for Nana and Daddy to pick out a carrot cake for Easter and it was almost your bedtime. Sensing that your routine would be off I grew flustered. That’s when the woman walked by. She asked, “How old?” I told her almost 10 months. She stood there for a moment taking us in. Seeming to ponder herself back to a time when she was in my very shoes. “Enjoy her.” She told me. “Mine is 17 and she’s out with her friends right now. She doesn’t like to spend time with me anymore.”

In the kitchen that day with you at my feet I thought about her words. If I pick you up then dinner will be late. But if I don’t pick you up, in a few years I’ll be aching and wishing I could reach down to pick up your tiny little self, the only thing that would be of some comfort is knowing that I did pick you up as much as I could.

It’s hard Felicity, to be in the moment, and even harder is when we are in the moment and yet time passes us by. We just saw your little cousin this morning and he’s getting big! Aunt Sara was just in that hospital bed, I had just stood there holding him, freshly born.

Aunt Laura and I were just sitting at Amelie’s together having conversation over sweet macaroons. A day that feels recent in my memory but I suppose it had to have been years ago. The air was stifling out in the atrium as we talked about the future. We talked about how she did hope to find someone one day, and now he’s here. She now sits with a sparkly ring on her finger and their lives are changed all at once.

I want to go back. I desperately want to go back. To the time when I had that cheer in my heart with the freshly sparkling ring on my finger. I think about all the happiness they must be experiencing all while I look down on my broken wedding band. The wrap broke one day after I had you. Sensing it was too tight on my swollen finger I forcefully pulled the rings off. The wrap surrounding my engagement ring broke apart. Really I should get it fixed, but something about it tells me that this is life. This is how it goes. One day you have a fresh engagement ring and before you know it you have eight years under your belt and a broken wedding band to show for it.

I want to go back to when you were a not so teeny tiny 9 pound 2 oz baby first placed on my chest. But something about now screams that these are the good days too. When you chase bubbles, when you smile at our smiles. One day you were a baby and before we knew it you’re a toddler. So it goes.

We took a family walk this morning and I was reminded of my aching back a year ago to the day that we took a walk right before labor started. Life has passed us by and I have tried to soak up every moment of it, the good with the bad and that’s all I can really do. Mostly I want to remember it all, try not to feel sad when time passes but simply feel it all. I want it to wash over me all at once and experience the blessings God has placed in our lives by every single one of these moments.

I promise you on this day that I will always strive to be the best mom I can be to you, forever soaking up all the years I have with you.

I picked you up that night in the kitchen knowing this is just the beginning of our time together. I’m not cradling your newborn body in my arm anymore. I’m not soothing you to sleep or cooing at your rarely open eyes. I’m growing as you grow, I change as you change. Though you have been outside of my body for a year now you remain a part of me and that is something time can never change.

 


7 Comments on Before You Turn One

  1. Laura
    July 2, 2019 at 7:14 pm (2 weeks ago)

    I’m honored to have had your example going a few steps ahead of me over the last TEN years! Isn’t that wild?! So many good memories and more to make. Love you all so much!

    Reply
    • Natalie
      July 2, 2019 at 10:47 pm (2 weeks ago)

      So wild! You’re the best. Love you!

      Reply
  2. Kristin Zalaquett
    July 2, 2019 at 9:23 pm (2 weeks ago)

    😭😭😭

    Such a good reminder to soak in all the little moments!

    Reply
  3. DeAnn Poe
    July 2, 2019 at 11:30 pm (2 weeks ago)

    Love this! And your heart! So timely to read this now, when we are in throes of the newborn phase. It’s hard. Even though we’ve been through it before, it’s hard. You made it look easy. And you have such a good perspective. Thank you for being willing to share it with us. 🙂

    Reply
    • Natalie
      July 3, 2019 at 2:48 am (2 weeks ago)

      😭 What a lovely thing to say.
      I’m so happy my words could speak to you during such a hard season!
      I hope that boy is good to you both!
      You got this! ❤️

      Reply
  4. Nem Peters
    July 4, 2019 at 11:49 am (2 weeks ago)

    The cliché is true! Times really DOES fly by so we must BE present as much as possible! Having little ones around makes this reality very real. Their rapid growth is a constant reminder that time will not stop, but we can be excited about new phases and growth to come! There is a season for everything. We must continue to evolve and embrace each one so we can enjoy what it has to offer 😊

    Reply

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