Today, you turn one. It's hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that its been a year since the day you arrived on this earth. It still feels like yesterday when I got a lump in my throat as I realized I'd missed several calls from your birth mother. I can still feel my heart racing as I tell your dad that "it's time," and we scramble to get to the hospital. It still feels like yesterday when my breath stopped for a second as I finally got a glimpse of you - through a plastic box, tangled in wires and tubes. Through the beeping of the monitor. Through your screams of fury. Through the droning of the doctors and nurses. There you were.
I've watched with pride as you've accomplished so much in the last year. You've overcome enormous obstacles already in your short life, and as much as I'm sad that this first year is gone, I'm also looking forward to what lies ahead.
I don't know yet who you'll be - what type of person you'll become - but I can see glimpses of it. I see them in the way you stubbornly pretend like you can't use your sippy cup, and then handle it with ease when we turn our backs. I see them in the way you glance out of the corner of your eye at us when we say no, and then continue forward into the mischief we were hoping you'd avoid. Mostly, though, I see it in your outgoing nature. The smile that's almost always on display. The laugh that you are willing to give to almost anyone.
Your dad and I aren't those parents who want you to become a certain way or a certain thing. We've only ever had one wish for you, even before we met you. It wasn't for you to become a doctor or lawyer, or to make millions. It wasn't for you to go to a particular college or take up a certain sport. We don't need you to become a classical musician or a brilliant artist. The only thing we've ever wanted for you was simply to "be happy," and it fills my heart with so much joy to see you embracing this wish.
Today, you are no longer a baby to most people, but you are still my baby. You are the girl who loves to crawl on my lap and watch Sesame Street. You are the girl who rests your head on my chest when it's time for a bottle - or, in most cases now, that dreaded sippy cup. You are still, in my eyes, that tiny little baby whose tears I wiped away. Only now you are bigger. You don't quite fit into my arms as well as you used to, but we make it work. I hope that you never stop sitting there. I hope that you never stop letting me comfort you, because every time you press yourself against me, you heal my broken heart.
But I don't just think about "us" in those moments. I think about your birth mother, too. My mind wanders back to the moment I first saw you and realized that you were mine. It was then when I realized that you were someone else's, too. You always will be. She had a few of your firsts. She felt your first kick. She saw your heartbeat on a monitor. She held you for the first time and fed you your first bottle. Then, she selflessly gave me the rest of your firsts. I can't pretend to know what it was like for her to make her decision, to place you with us. Yet, every time I look at you, I'm forever grateful that she did.
Happy birthday, my sweet baby girl. Thank you for giving me the most incredible, most amazing year of my life. I can't wait for all of the wonderful experiences yet to come - all the firsts I still have to look forward to.
I love you to the moon and back.