Today you turn one. I have no idea how twelve months could have possibly passed (especially since I still look pregnant) because it has happened so quickly. Only twelve months ago you were being born, but it seems like a lifetime ago. Only twelve months ago you were still in my belly kicking me, punching me and doing various acrobatics that I did not enjoy and frequently told you so. It’s amazing how much you’ve done in 12 months, the milestones you’ve met, all the laughs you have laughed, the smiles that lit up your face and all those around you.
You love animals. You are unreasonably excited whenever you see your dogs. You don’t realize yet what a troublesome twosome they are. You bug your brother sometimes, but his patience and love for you is amazing. He’s always looking out for you. Making sure there are no “choke-ables” anywhere and loving his little sister so much.
You also LOVE to eat. Everyone who has ever fed you always tells me so. You get so quite excited when you see that food is near. You’ve out eaten your brother on more than one occasion. Especially when it comes to breakfast foods.
You are always smiling, just like your brother was except you have more teeth than I’ve ever seen on a twelve month old. Your big goofy grin lights up the room. So does your silly little laugh. You love to go on the swings. And to be bounced. You love to dance whenever music is on.
I wish so much for you. As your mother I wish that we could have the kind of relationship I never had with my own mother. I know she is an amazing Babi to you and your brother, but mommy just does not have the same kind of relationship. I hope we will. I hope that we will be best friends one day and you will feel comfortable coming to me with any issues you have. I’m going to be much cooler than dad. He’d liked to think you’re never going to have sex, but I know better. He’d also like to think you’re never going to drink, but if you’re anything like your mom was in college, I know better.
One day you’re going to be an adult. You’re going to do things I don’t necessarily want you to do. But you have to do them. You have to make mistakes to grow. And its okay to make a mistake. Its okay to sometimes need to apologize and be forgiven. It’s a part of life. You don’t always have to be perfect, but you always have to try. I want you to try, I don’t want you to give up until you feel like you’ve done the best you can. Sometimes we have to give up. Sometimes we have to fail. As long as we tried.
I hope the world is a better place when you’re a grown woman. I hope you never feel like you’re pigeonholed into being something just because society tells you so. I hope you never feel like you need to be thinner or blonder to get a better life. But that you’re beautiful regardless of your outside appearance. I hope you are friends with variety of people from a diverse group of backgrounds, races, and tax brackets. I hope you never judge someone by anything other than the person they are to you. I hope you are never judged by anything but your actions. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for what you are entitled, or to ask for change. Don’t accept the world as it is, but as it could be.
I hope you live in a world were you can mention your children in a job interview without fear that you will be passed over. Where you can have photos of your children displayed proudly in your workplace without feeling like your priorities and job performance are questioned. I hope this glass ceiling we live under is shattered. I hope one day we have a woman smart enough, passionate enough to be president one day (I hope that woman is not Sarah Palin). I hope one day you can go to a wedding of your two best friends and its legal because they love each other and they are choosing to make a commitment and their gender is irrelevant.
I hope you know that you can help make these changes. That my hopes for you and the world are not blind aspirations but motivations for change. It is not who you are that holds you back it is who you think you’re not. You are capable of doing anything you set your mind to. You are capable of making the world into a place you want to live in. You are my beautiful wonderful daughter and I love you more than you’ll ever know. One day when you hold your own child in your arms and only then will you ever truly understand the love I have for you.
Birthday Cake Smash Photo taken by the wonderful NLJ Studios.