March 28, 2012

Abigail,

How have we already traveled twelve months back to where it all began?  How can you be crawling now, when just yesterday you were kicking around inside of me?  I do not have adequate words to describe the first year of your life, the fastest of mine.  It has been the hardest, most rewarding, most humbling experience of my life.  Twelve months ago, you made me a mother, and it has changed my life beyond what I could ever have imagined.  It is hard for me to remember what life was like for us before you made your debut.  Our little family of three is so natural now, and it feels as though you’ve always been with us.

Oh, there were some tough weeks and months this year.  There were times that I did not think that we were going to make it another hour, much less until bedtime.  And, oh, could we make it through the night?  Since that Sunday morning when we headed to the hospital, you have done things on your own terms in your own time.  And each phase of this first year has been no exception.  You are so uniquely Abigail.  You have a flair for the dramatic, wrapped in unbridled affection for us, and sometimes I think you must be an old woman wrapped up in baby-soft skin for all of the maturity in your facial expressions.

I can’t wait to watch you grow up and to see your personality work itself out in each phase of your childhood.  I fear you have inherited a double portion of an independent spirit from Daddy and me.  We knew it from the second night in the hospital when you started holding on to your bottle while he was feeding you.  Those five little pounds of baby sure had some willpower.  When we got to solid foods, you wanted to hold the spoon, and I am quite sure there will be more where that came from.  Who could have dreamed you up?  Only God.

I have heard motherhood likened to walking around with your heart outside of your body.  And I can think of no better description.  Sometimes I can feel my heart ache because I love you so deeply.  Someday I hope you will understand.  Everything I have done for you this year – every hour of sleep I lost, every hour I held you, every time I fed you  – has been more than worth it.  You are more than I could have ever dreamed.  I have no idea why God saw fit to make me your mother, but I will be forever grateful that he did.  And I hope that I can be the kind of mother for you that my mother has been for me.

When you plant one of your kisses right on my face or belly laugh from my tickles, there is no greater feeling in the world.  I wish I could bottle it up and save it forever.  You are big enough now to crawl away from me now and start exploring the world.  It’s the real first step in your independence.  And yet, as excited as you are that you can do more things on your own now, you will often crawl back over to me and tug on my pants for me to pick you up or climb into my lap.  I love that you still choose to be with me and often still want me to hold you.  I could hug you forever.  I will always be here waiting for you, no matter how far away you roam.  I will always be thrilled to see you, to hug you, to be with you.  You will always be my baby girl.

I love you,

Mama

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