Thursday, July 28, 2011

As You Turn One

My Dearest Isabella Joy,

Today, you turn 1. It's amazing to look at you today and realize how much you have grown and changed over the past year. Every milestone you reach and every new experience that delights you puts a smile on my face. I just love to watch you explore. There is so much for you to explore these days. You're intrigued by everything. Yet, just one short year ago, you were a beautiful, healthy, newborn baby asleep in my arms. A year has brought so much change, so many smiles, and so many tears (good and bad). 

You are getting over your 4th ear infection right now, just in time for your birthday. I know they make you miserable, but it's all part of this thing call "teething." You need those teeth, I promise you that it really won't be that bad. Once they are all in, you'll be able to eat so many wonderful things! You just have to suffer through the discomfort of those teeth coming through the gums and the ears that cause you great pains. Those ear infections? That would be a big source of the bad tears. You and Mommy both had a good cry on Sunday. You were feeling so miserable, with your fever and your hurting ears. And there was nothing Mommy could do to help you. Oh, I wanted to. It broke my heart to see you in pain. We both sat and sobbed together until the ear drops numbed the pain for you. Mommy NEVER likes to see you cry. Thankfully, the good doctors gave us some medicine to make your ear infection go away. So you're feeling all better already, just in time for all the birthday celebrations!

So, now that we have the small talk out of the way, let me tell you all about how you have made me feel this past year. There is nothing more joyous and amazing than holding your firstborn child in your arms for the very first time. I cried before I even held you. Since Mommy had to have surgery to have you, I didn't get to hold you right away. But Daddy did and he let me look at you and kiss your sweet face. I cried. Never before had my heart known such love. I didn't think it was possible to love something or someone so much. I had butterflies way down in my tummy and this sense of awe came over me. There you were, perfect, beautiful, mine. Yes, indeed, you were mine. Finally, my dream of becoming a mother had come true. Nothing prepares your heart for that moment. The emotions that fill you up are overwhelming. I'm teary eyed just writing to you about that moment. 

It's hard to believe that was one short year ago. A year seems like short time. Yet, in the past year, you have made me love you even more than I thought possible a year ago! My love for you grows each and every day. Just when I thought I couldn't love anymore, I love you even more! My heart melts when you look me in the eyes and say in your soft voice, "Mama, Mama." In the past year, you have made me feel like the mom I always wanted to be. We snuggle (though a lot less than we used to), we cuddle (again a LOT less than we used to), and we play together. Your love for me is evident and that alone makes my heart sing. There is nothing quite like a mom and there is a special kind of relationship between a mother and her daughter. We'll grow into all the good things (and the bad) that come from that relationship as you grow older. 

A year. Seems like such a short amount of time. Yet, in a year, you have gone from the fragile, tiny newborn in my arms to the rambunctious, adventurous one year old beauty you are today. All those milestones, all the changes, all the growing in just one short year. It's like a lifetime condensed into 365 days. In that span of time, my life has forever changed. Nothing, no part of me, will ever be the same. You make my life more joyous, you fill it with more laughter, and you make my heart smile more than I ever dreamed possible. I love you more than I ever did before. Happy Birthday, my sweet Isabella Joy!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Your First Year of Life

Dear Isabella,

It's been hectic around here as of late. I have not written you nearly as often as I should. And for that, I am sorry. But you keep me busy. You're crawling around everywhere and getting into a bit of trouble if I take my eyes off of you. So instead of writing you letters, I've been down on the floor playing with you. Right now, you are sound asleep on top of the first quilt Mommy ever made. You conked out early tonight, I didn't even have a chance to get you in your pajamas yet! 

I find myself getting a little teary-eyed as I think about the fact that we are planning your first birthday party. It's so hard for me to believe that a year ago (almost), I truly became a mom when they placed you in my arms and you looked up at me with your newborn eyes, taking in whatever you could see. You were so tiny, so fragile. You were everything I had ever dreamed of and more. You had ten perfect little fingers and ten perfect little toes. Your clear steely blue eyes were the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen (well, maybe next to your daddy's brown eyes). You were so little in my arms and yet so perfect. And now, somehow, a year has flashed before my eyes and I am planning your first party. 

You amaze me with all the new things you can say and do. You constantly call out for Daddy. Of course, you also yell at him when you are in trouble or can't get your way. Your response when we say "no" is always "But DADADADADA...DADDY!!!!" It doesn't matter who says "no" to you. That is how you respond. You look straight at your Daddy with those sad little eyes. Let me tell you. Those sad little eyes don't work on your Daddy. Trust me. I know. But I love that you love your Daddy. He is one amazing man, that's for sure. You are one blessed little girl to have him in your life. He's a wonderful daddy. He takes great care of you and does a lot of things (like changing a diaper) that some dads refuse to do. He reads you bedtime stories, he sings to you, he gets on the floor and plays with you. You giggle at him so much. You are so smitten with your daddy. Of course, so am I, so I totally understand that. You have discovered your inner rooster, which is so amusing to me. After our most recent trip to see your Great Grandma an Great Grandpa in Kentucky, you came home crowing like the rooster. Too bad I can never seem to get it on video! You're on the go all the time, crawling everywhere. It's only a matter of time before you are walking. Hard to believe that my little baby is no longer little and no longer a baby. You have become a little girl in the blink of an eye.

I used to chuckle a little when people would always say to enjoy every moment of the first year because it will fly by. I thought "it's a whole year. How fast is a year really going to go?" Little did I know that it really would fly by. It's the most important year in your life, it's when you experience most of your firsts and thankfully, I haven't missed those. But this year has gone by so quickly.

So as your Daddy and I plan your first birthday party (which will be a wonderful celebration!), I just want you to know that I have cherished every moment of this first year. I wouldn't change a thing about it. I'm so blessed to have you as my baby girl. You melt my heart with your snuggles and your baby kisses. My life has been forever changed by your presence in it. I love you, Isabella Joy!