A year ago today, just before we left for the hospital and about three hours before you were born, it snowed. It was the first snow of the year and it came down lightly, the snowflakes glinting in the street lights on the side of the road.
It was a sign of a new season, both literally and metaphorically.
There is so much about you that I didn’t anticipate. You were wanted and planned for, but I didn’t expect you to enter our lives a month after I started a new job in a new city. But we were ready, and I guess you knew that.
I spent the next months trying to imagine you – who you would be and what you would look like, but I couldn’t. At the time I couldn’t even begin to picture a child different than the one I already had.
But you are so very much your own person. When you decided you were ready to enter the world, you did so determinedly, and a couple of weeks early. When you were born you were so small we had to borrow preemie clothes from your cousins because everything we had left you buried in rolls of soft cotton.
I looked at you and wondered how you could possibly be so small and quiet when everything about your brother was big and loud.
My first few days with you, in the hospital and then at home, were filled with nothing but awe. But it was a different sort of awe than I felt as a new mom the first time. It was a feeling of calm, a feeling of peace. It was us settling in to one another.
That settling has let me observe you and see things I want to capture in the palm of my hand and never let go of.
You are joy and happiness and laughter. You have a huge smile. You give really, really good hugs.
Everywhere we go someone comments on how happy or easygoing you are. You are both of those things, and blissfully so, except if someone takes away something you’re playing with and then WATCH OUT.
I’m used to your brother’s big personality and sometimes I have to remind myself of you because, truly, you are quiet enough that people come into the room and don’t know you’re there.
And then, suddenly, you will light up. You’re a talker and you wave your arms wildly and repeat sounds and mimic us. You want to be involved and you make sure that you are. When you start to talk or laugh you become the centre of all things, because how can we not listen to and look at you?
A year into this journey I’m not sure I know what it is to be your mother. You are my little babe, my duck, my blondie. I want so badly to stop time and stay with you a while, just as you are. I want to hold your soft hands and watch you sit on the floor and kick your legs in excitement. I want to watch you dance.
But just as the seasons change, so must you. And I must let you.
I see amazing things for you but sense that my role is simply to guide you and watch you soar.
So do that. Dance on, darling.
I will love you always and forever,