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!
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