My dearest girl,
You are six months old today. I know in the large scheme of things that’s really not that old, but it feels like it. I am so torn. Part of me is so excited for all the new things you are learning and doing daily, and for getting to know more about your personality, which has started coming out in spades. But another part of me is just sad. There are things I miss already, and no matter how hard I try, time is going so quickly.
My therapist told me a few sessions ago that with each stage or milestone you reach, I have to grieve what was before I can be proud or joyful for what now is. As always, she is completely right.
The feeding session before bed has become our most sacred time together. Since you don’t nurse at all anymore, feeding has been….interesting. You want to have sole control over the bottle, but you aren’t quite strong enough to hold it yourself yet. You want to eat, but you also want to see and observe everything that is going on around you. You, just like me, cannot sit still and meals are no exception. You play air guitar and do bicycle kicks. And your new favorite thing is blowing bubbles, which for some reason you love to practice when you have a mouthful of milk. So it usually takes you about forty minutes to drink your bottle, and you and I both need an outfit change by the end.
But the last feed of the day is different. You’re tired, and more than once you’ve fallen asleep because you are so worn out from keeping that little body moving all day long. You let your body fully relax for the first time all day, and instead of trying to wrestle the bottle away from me, you simply hold onto my fingers. When I burp you, you nuzzle your face into my neck and I breathe you in. And the only thing you want to look at is my eyes. We stare at each other the whole time. There are points throughout the day when I am so overwhelmed by my love for you that my chest physically aches. And, recently, these moments we share at the end of the day bring tears to my eyes. I snuggle you a little longer, knowing that soon you won’t need me to feed you at all.
During these times, I sing to you, or cover you in kisses, or we talk about all the fun things we did that day. I look at you and wonder what you will look like when you are older. Who you will be. Sometimes I whisper to you the things I want for you. And so my little one, on your six month birthday, here is what I hope.
I hope you are intellectually curious. Compassionate, friendly, welcoming, accepting, and kind. Willing to stand up for others, especially those who cannot stand up for themselves. Willing to stand up for yourself and your beliefs. Confident. Joyful. Open to new experiences, people, cultures, and ideas. Generous. Thankful. Independent. Hardworking. Gracious. Fun-loving and carefree.
I hope you are not an anxious worrywart. I hope you are a reader. I hope you are creative. Ambitious. Optimistic. Trustworthy. Willing to laugh at yourself. Not afraid. Passionate. Self-aware. Secure. Determined. Un-self-conscious. I hope you laugh. A lot.
Most of all, I hope you choose to be happy. It seems simple enough my dear, and you may wonder why someone wouldn’t choose to be happy. But so many people do. Choose to be happy with your body. Be happy with your decisions. Be happy with your circumstances. Let go of what you cannot control. Let life amaze you. And know that wherever you are, whatever you do, I will love you. And being with you will always be my favorite part of the day.
“For what it’s worth … it’s never too late…to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
–The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
All my love,
P.S. Don’t worry. I’ll eat half a cake in your honor today. Being a mom is all about sacrifices.