Today is much more than just Valentine’s Day. Our daughter Aurelia Margaret is one year old today. This past year has at once been the most exhilarating and the craziest year of my life. When they say things change, they do.
When Aurelia was only a few months old, we got away for a little tailgate and Titans game. I met Cecelia there, who is fabulous. We connected immediately and I really enjoy talking to her every time I see her. That day she asked me what it’s like to be a Mom and I said, “It’s the coolest!” I know that isn’t the normal response people give with a new baby at home, but that’s how I really feel about it. Hands down the coolest experience in my life has been watching my husband become a father, and watching my child grow. I pray constantly that God will keep me in this state of wonder throughout her life. I think I have a good shot. My Mother still looks at my brother and me like that.
I talk a lot about the salvaged things in our lives, and today, I’m thinking about salvaged lasts. Lasts: it seems it’s all firsts we want to talk about. Everyone talks about firsts: first date, first kiss, first prom, first love. First everything. (I’ve now typed that word so many times it looks ridiculous and I’m secong-guessing myself. Is this really a word? First. Weird.) Anyway, it’s no different when it comes to babies: first time they sleep through the night, first time for baby food, first steps. But oh my goodness, why did no one warn me about lasts? The reason lasts hurt is that you never know when a last time is for anything. Like the last time she and I snuggled at 3:00am curled up in the rocker in her room. I can’t even remember when the last time was. I would drape us both in a heavy knit blanket and sleep there with her. Or the last time I swaddled her, the last time she ate baby food. And most recently, her last bottle. I had no idea that Sunday night would be the last nighttime bottle she would take. That was our time- me and my girl. It feels so special that I’m her Mommy and no one else will ever be to her, who I am. Bedtime was always wonderful to me. I love spending that time with her. I got to turn that valve and let everything from the long, gruesome day just leave my body. I thought I would have a hard time getting her to go to sleep without a bottle and I had been dreading it. But, I knew it was time, so I tried it once. She never looked back. But that’s my girl: she knows what comes next and she embraces every new experience and challenge with eyes in awe, her mind growing and building pathways in her development.
How can I salvage these lost memories of lasts? I guess in the last, therein lies a first. Her first night to go to bed on her own. The first year holds so many milestones, hurdles, and wondrous beginnings. What an unbelievably beautiful year, saturated with the depth of my ability to love, to strive for selflessness, and to rise to the occasion of being Mama to this tiny smidgen of a girl:
Who has grown into such a magical little thing:
Aurelia Margaret, Happy Birthday to you, baby. You are indeed, the sweetest pea.