Two days ago, you turned one year old.
Firsts are a really big deal for parents. When you got your first tooth, I cried like a baby and wondered how long it would be before you bit the hell out of me. When you ate solid food for the first time, I cried like a baby and thought about how, soon, you would be feeding yourself. When you took your first steps (which happened just a few days before your birthday on May 14th), I cried like a baby and thought about the definite end to those days when you depended on me to travel. And to explore. And while these are all really beautiful things you are doing, they make me feel a little lost. Up until now, my lovely, you have needed me for everything. And now, here you are, one year old and starting to walk.
I wanted to make sure that, since your brother will be born in just a few short weeks, that this first birthday would be for you, a true celebration of how much you mean to your father and me. I know you won’t remember it. And I know that first birthday parties are more for the parents of the children than for the children themselves. But, the important thing was, to me, that the people who love you the most got to share in your day. And they did.
You were a beautiful birthday girl, Lilah. But I don’t want to talk about your party. Because that’s not what this letter is about.
This letter is to let you know, and make sure that it is spelled out here so you don’t forget it, what an amazing addition you have been to my life for the last year. Before I had you, I had known love, but I could have never known a love like the one that you brought to me when I saw you for the first time. I am not sure that a mother can ever fully express the love that she has for her child. I am not sure that I will ever be able to make you understand how much you have enriched me and every minute of my life so far just by being with me. The thought of my life before you is a faint memory. One that I don’t care to revisit. I was unaware, before I met you, how much I was missing out on. And I am so thankful that you have shown me. I hope that someday you will have children of your own, so that you can understand the kind of joy that you have brought to me. (Just for your information, when I say “someday”, I mean, when you are 30. Not 14. Okay?)
I hope that I can be the kind of mother to you that I have promised to myself that I will be. I hope that I can teach you all of the things that a girl’s mother should teach her. About respecting herself. And finding beauty in herself, even in her flaws. About what confidence is and why it is important that other people not be able to tear you down. I hope that I can lead you down a path to be a respectful, compassionate person. I promise you, my dearest, I will do my best. I want nothing but the best of everything for you.
Now that I have sufficiently soaked the keyboard with the tears of a year with you, I will just end here by saying that I love you.
I love you to the moon and back.