Long before I held you on an unusually chilly June day, I knew how badly I wanted to hold you. I imagined you snuggling into my arms late at night and milestone celebrations. I imagined the tears I’d have when you took your first steps and how you might sound when you began to learn your first words.
Livia, I wish you could know how good it feels to be the first person who sees you [almost] every morning. To open your bedroom door and see your mouth turn up into a giant grin that scrunches your nose is to start the day on the absolute best foot.
I know you’re only a year old and there’s a lot of life ahead of you – things that will break you down or hurt your heart – but to me you are pure joy. Truly, I don’t know a happier child, though I’m sure there are many as happy as you and I’m sure it’s my own bias showing when I say that. I don’t care. Parents should be a bit biased.
I thought this first year of your life would change me. I thought maybe I’d feel like a new person. I don’t feel new.
I feel found.
A part of me that’s always been here has truly come alive.
Your dad and I dreamed big dreams of what you’d be like and we’ve quickly learned we couldn’t even imagine the best parts of you – the little things you do every day that are just so you. How would we have known the way exact way you’d bounce along to all the goofy songs we make up or how hard you’d giggle as you walk through the living room holding one of Carter’s toys triumphantly over your head?
How would we have known you’d fall asleep so easily and peacefully at night (god bless you), the way you’d wave at every stranger (human or dog) just late enough that they’d already passed, or how you’d pause breastfeeding to lean into my face for a kiss?
This year didn’t change me or your dad. It gave us new life, not that we weren’t living well before, trust me, we were. But you’ve brought joy in places that felt dark. You’ve helped us prioritize things we hadn’t before. You’ve reminded us again and again how much love we have in this home.
I’ve delighted in all the ways you’ve grown over the past 12 months. I’m not sad you’re not a tiny helpless baby anymore. I didn’t cry putting boxes of baby clothes in the attic. I feel nothing but gratitude that we get to witness your spirit and growth inside our home every single day.
Livy, the fun is just getting started. Here’s to you, sweet girl, and the many years ahead.