You Are One Year Old Today

You are one year old today. Daycare starts in three days. You are standing up, almost ready for your
first steps. You want to talk, you are talking already. Your own language only you understand.

You are one year old today, and I am back to work. After a whole year of parental leave, I only get to see
you in the morning now and in the evening. You are spending your days with your daddy for now.

You are one year old today, and you don’t really care about the cake, the candle, the two little
presents that were stolen from you by your two older siblings the minute we opened them for
you. It is OK. You are used to the chaos, the noise, the fights, the laughs, the tears. This is your home,
watching us, your siblings, your parents, your grandma interacting – singing, chatting, being loud.
Some have called you the buddha baby. You seem so peaceful sometimes, just content and
observing. I also know the spark in your eyes when you smile, when you laugh (oh and how you
laugh!), when you grab something in your little chubby fingers and look at it for hours. Yes, a piece of
paper can sometimes be so fascinating.

You love your older brother and sister. Your whole little face is shining when you see them coming.
And they adore you so much too. You are their little baby.

You are one year old today. Are you still a baby? On your way to toddlerhood and to a universe only
you will completely know of, daycare with caregivers and new playmates – I am not sure we can call
them friends yet. I was your major caregiver for a whole year. It was just you and me all day and
everyday. I loved every part of it, and yet I was ready for the next step, being back at work, back to a
job that I love and that feels like me. This is a time for letting go and letting you grow. And that is
never easy.

You are one year old today, it is hard to believe. A year ago you were coming out of me so painfully
and naturally at the same time. You are our bonus baby, the one people outside our home and hearts
were not expecting. “Oh you have a boy and a girl, your family is complete.” To me, it was
not. You were missing, and I knew it. You made me graduate to a mom of three, this weird species of
women people tend to look at with admiration and fear at the same time (“Wow three kids… that is
so… brave!”). I don’t know about bravery, but I know it is a lot. I know I often feel out of strength, out of
patience, desperate, frustrated, and not good enough. I often feel like I can’t give enough, that I need
more time with each one of you, that I’m failing. But I know I wanted you, and our family does feel
complete to me now.

Putting you to bed at night is still one of my favorite moments in the day. We retire, just you and me,
in my bedroom. We cuddle up, and I give you a bottle of milk – it used to be my breast – and I can feel
you relaxing as you suck in and slowly drift to a semi sleep. You still often fall asleep right there in my
arms, the bottle still in your mouth. Part of me knows I have to put you to bed. The two other kids are
waiting, the kitchen is a mess (the whole apartment is), there is still so much to do before I can just go
to bed myself. But part of me also just wants to linger there, enjoy this piece and quiet, suck up the
silence, your breathing, your beautiful resting face, your warmth in my arms.

Happy Birthday, Baby. (Please don’t grow up too fast).

Photo via Unsplash

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