My daughter is turning 1 in a, very short, week. I try to soak up all my moments with her now, pre-one year old, so I never forget what it feels like. How her wispy hair tickles my cheek as I slowly rock her to sleep, the way the softest skin on her neck and shoulders feels against my lips when I kiss her over and over and over again there (it's my little spot of heaven), how she buries her head in my chest when she wants to be close to me, how her chubby hands look perched on top of my breast as she nurses, and the blissful feeling of having her so much a part of me still, relying on me for nourishment, comfort, love, soothing; I wouldn't have it any other way.
When a couple welcomes a child into their lives for the first time every other parent around them explains how fast it will go and how before you know it they'll be graduating high school, having babies of their own, & moving on with their own grown up lives. Do they all feel the way I do when they say this? Aching knowing that the sweet beings we hold, nurse, kiss, hug, love constantly day in and day out are going to grow out of us so much sooner than we will ever be ready for? I see friends, and even strangers, and I want to yell out to them, "it DOES go so fast and you won't know, you won't understand, what that means until it's already past!". There's just nothing you can do to slow it down.
The joy of watching her grow and change is mixed with the sadness of watching her leave each stage behind. Every day that she still holds her little arms up for me to pick her up I try to remind myself that sooner, not later, she will be able to run so fast she won't need my arms to carry her where she wants to go. Every night she calls for me because she needs to be snuggled and nursed before she can fall back to sleep is one closer to the night she stops wanting me to comfort her. Sometimes I feel frustrated that I still don't get all the sleep I want every night but then I stop and think...and I realize that some unlucky parents have had 30 minutes (ore more) LESS snuggling each day than I have gotten this entire first year. Yes, that is how I choose to look at it. I'M the lucky one. And let me just say that middle of the night snuggles are so much snugglier (not a word, I realize) than day time snuggles. Their heavy, sleepy bodies just curl up so easily and rather than yanking hair and earrings the darkness soothes them and little arms and fingers find a resting spot across your chest as they slumber contently in your arms. I love love love it. Even when I'm tired and think I hate it I still love it.
I hate to say goodbye to this first year. I hate that some people will start calling my BABY a toddler. I wish I could freeze time. But I can't, and I know I'll love this next year just as much as the first. I know that my baby will always be MY baby. I know I'll still get snuggles even if I have to wait until she's worn out and ready for bed before I get them. They are worth waiting for.
I've loved this year so much. I love my baby so much. I love being a mama so much more than I ever could have imagined I would have. Now my little munchkin is waking and will be calling for her mama any moment so I must wipe away the tears and enjoy my baby.