Happy first birthday, Madeline!
It's hard to believe that it has been a year since you, a tiny 5lb 15 oz bundle, were laid in my arms for the very first time.
I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy so in some ways, I don't think I ever properly anticipated that moment. I'm sure you will grow up knowing how much you healed our family's broken hearts at just the right time. After a really tough year, I honestly couldn't believe something so incredible was happening until I actually laid eyes on you and heard you cry. You are our greatest blessing and meeting you for the first time was a moment that changed my life forever.
My mother-in-law, whose babies were all nine pounds or bigger, kept saying you were the tiniest baby she had ever seen but you taught us right away that you were strong, a little sassy, and a force to be reckoned with.
I feel so fortunate to have been entrusted with the incredible responsibility to keep you safe and help you grow strong and into a good person. This has been terrifying at times. The day your dad went back to work after you were born might have been one of the scariest days of my life, with five long days of just the two of us stretching out in front of me.
I like to think we've figured it out pretty well, though, and enjoy our days together. When I think back to this day one year ago, I can see how much we've both grown and learned.
You learned to smile, coo, laugh, roll, sit up, babble, crawl, stand, squeal and scream, feed yourself say "dada" and "mama", clap, wave, and walk with a little help. We went to play dates and joined play groups, went to Story Time at the library and played on the swings at the park. We made new friends and joined baby music class and you soaked in the world around you.
But, sweet girl, I almost think you have taught me more than I have taught you this year.
I learned to nurse and how to do something challenging for someone you love. I learned everything about baby sleep (and the lack there of). I learned about baby food making and baby proofing. I learned about fostering social and physical development and trying to take it day by day. I learned a new level of patience. I learned to re-prioritize what is really important. I learned to say no and slow down. I learned sacrifice. I learned unconditional love.
Thank you for surprising us by entering the world ten days early on this day last year. You have been bringing the most beautiful surprises with you ever since, like when you laughed for the first time while I was changing your diaper two days before my maternity leave ended. Like you just knew I'd been so worried I would miss it! Or by rolling over when I stepped out of the room during tummy time and waiting for me on your back when I returned! Or saying "mama" for the very first time on my birthday!