My sweet Charlotte,
One year ago, you were placed in my arms for the very first time, and if it were up to me, I would never have let go.
Unfortunately, I can’t stop time and so I’ve had to let go many, many times this past year—and each time I’ve let you go, your mama and I have watched in wonder as you grew before our eyes.
You learned to laugh and smile.
You sat on your own.
You celebrated all of your first holidays.
The year has been filled to the brim with firsts. I can’t even begin to list them all. Know that the joy in our lives has increased with every one of your milestones. Just when I think I couldn’t possibly be any happier, you do something new and my heart explodes with happiness.
You’ve grown inch after inch and gained pound after pound since this day last year. I look back at those tiny newborn clothes and I just can’t believe that you ever fit into them. You are such a big girl now! I’m so grateful that I have ten thousand photos to remind me of how small you were. (Seriously, sometimes mama really needs to put down the camera… but you’re just so CUTE!)
You are a force to be reckoned with these days, my little one. You have strong opinions about everything, and you let us know exactly how you feel. When you’re happy, it’s impossible for us not to be happy, and when you’re sad, our hearts break for you.
You adore the outdoors. The beach, the pool, the park, and the back yard are your happy places. If there is fresh air and sunshine and we can give you a little bit of room to explore, you are just the happiest baby. People stop to share in your joy when we’re outside—it’s infectious.
You are constantly in motion. We can’t get you to sit still for longer than a minute. There’s always another room you’d rather be in or another obstacle you need to climb. (The climbing! Oh my gosh, you scare me to death! It’s great that you know how to get up on things, but I can’t wait for you to learn to get down off of them safely—right now, you dive head first and we just have to pray that we’re close enough to catch you.) You don’t like to be restrained by anything for too long—the stroller and the high chair are fine until you decide that they’re not fine and then you will protest loudly and use all your strength to try to free yourself.
The other night while I was chopping up a mango for your dinner, you dumped out the dogs’ water bowl onto one of the kitchen rugs. The next morning, you opened up a cabinet while your other mom was making you a bottle and you dumped a bottle of vinegar all over the floor. Nothing is safe. Clearly we need to improve our babyproofing skills. You are just so curious, and you want to explore everything. Who could blame you? The world is a magical place for a baby!
You still aren’t the biggest fan of nighttime sleep, my little one. Sometimes you “only” wake up twice, and sometimes it’s more like 5 times. Every once in a blue moon, you’ll sleep longer than expected and I’ll wake up and find myself missing you. As hard as it is to be up with you at all hours, I enjoy those quiet moments with you. (And sometimes we fall asleep together in the glider, but don’t tell your mom because she gets mad at me!)
Every night at bedtime, I stand over your crib and sing “You Are My Sunshine” because you ARE my sunshine. You light up my life like nothing and no one ever has.
Happy birthday, sweet girl. You are a miracle.
All my love,