Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Happy Birthday, Beautiful
A year ago I took a picture of you in the exact same position and as I look at this picture I sit, slack-jawed, wondering how it is that a year has already passed and your legs are longer and your expressions more purposeful and your sentences longer and your desire for independence so much stronger. I am not ignorant, I understand what growing up and growing old means, but I am a fool and that part of me can't let go of the baby with the bald head and the fat-bracelet arms. Don't get me wrong bug, I wouldn't trade the miniature person you have become for the drooling baby - those people were right when they said I would enjoy each year with you more than the last - but I just wish that it wouldn't go by quite so fast.
You turn three tomorrow and it is undeniable that you are now much more a kid than you are a baby. But for the chubby thighs and the thumb sucking you wouldn't know that not so long ago you were the little ball wrapped up tightly on my chest, being carried with one hand, light as a feather. Now I only carry you on my hip, your squirmy body and long(er) legs interfering with my knees, and only when absolutely necessary, like when you are asleep or near sand.
You are totally self-sufficient these days and, though you will occasionally indulge me, for the most part you do everything on your own. You can imagine that I both love and hate this. You understand every direction or command and if you don't respond it is not because you don't get it, it is because you are strong-willed - which they tell me is a good thing and will come in handy later in life. I hope they are right. Maybe strong-willed is sugar coating it. You are 3 and you beat me at staring contests, that should tell you something about your determination. Obstinate or not, you are the sweetest, most loving child and when nothing seems right with the world, one minute with you convinces me otherwise
So, yeah, you might be three, but my heart still pulls and tugs with that overwhelming feeling of knowing that you belong to me and that I am responsible for you and that no matter what else happens as long as I am alive you will be my baby. Every day you challenge me to live a better life, to be a better person, to love more, to laugh more, to remember that what is important is what is happening now. I look at you and my breath still catches and my heart maybe skips a beat like it did the first time I held you tucked neatly underneath my chin and you sighed.
Thank you for being such a special girl and know that you will always be my baby, no matter how old you get.