To my beautiful girl,
It’s your first birthday! I’m not often at a loss for words when I write, but I know that I’ll give you this letter when you’re older (even though it’s impossible to picture you as any older than the precious little one year old you are!) No matter how old you are when you read this, I hope you know just how nuts your dad and I have been about you since you were born. It’s mind-boggling to think about how I lived 28 happy years without you, but once I knew about you, I couldn’t live without you anymore.
Right after you were born, the doctor and nurses immediately laid you on my chest. I cuddled you for about 30 seconds trying to comfort you while you screamed, and then I asked the nurse to flip you around so that I could see your face for the first time. I’ll never forget that moment. You were perfect, and you were mine.
Sometime around midnight, just 11ish hours after you were born, your dad slept on the hospital couch next to me while I sat up in bed and fed you. It was completely silent and the room was totally dark except for the flashlight on my cell phone that was resting on the nightstand beside me. Here I was snuggling my brand new daughter, and maybe it was the crazy rush of sudden postpartum hormones, but I unexpectedly experienced the happiest moment of my entire life while stroking your sleeping face. I felt euphoric in a way I had never felt before. In that moment, I felt that I had every single thing I’d ever wanted or prayed for. I had your dad, your sister, and now you. I fell head over heels in love with you, and I remember wanting to bottle that feeling up forever.
Everybody who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with the little person that you are. It sounds so simply stated, but you make me really darn happy. It’s funny how all I want to do is tell you how incredible you are and how quickly I seem to have forgotten that your first year was really hard at times. We had so many nights where neither of us slept, and breastfeeding put me through the ringer in many ways. You’ve made me a little crazy digging everything from fresh dirt from Daddy’s boots to Hadley’s marker tips out of your mouth, and I couldn’t begin to count how many crayons you’ve successfully digested. You eat everything.
Even during these moments that made me a little (a lot!) crazy, you’ve always had the powerful ability to melt all of my cares away. 100 times a day, I find myself thinking about how incredibly proud I am to be your mom.
Watching you develop your unique personality has been the most fun. You’re known around town for your “mean mug” face, and everyone always tries to make you smile while you study their faces intensely. Your scrunchy-nose smile that you flash for your dad and me during dinner every night has made us belly laugh since you were six months old. You are such a ham, and a lot of people agree that you’re going to be a funny one to watch as you get older.
You have always been such a little comedian, and I hope that sense of humor is something that sticks around because it fills our home with laughter. You have been so, so silly and playful for as long as I can remember. You are really good about picking up on others’ cues and doing something to make them laugh harder. You are obsessed with playing Hide and Go Seek with Hadley in the playroom teepee, and you wait every day for Dad to chase you down the hallway as you laugh your head off and try to speed-crawl away. You have the most infectious laugh!
Watching your relationship with your sister develop has been such a gift.
Nobody (and I mean nobody) makes you smile as big as you do when Hadley walks into view. Lately you’ve been getting antsy when Hadley’s napping, so you’ve tried over and over again to take matters into your own hands and crawl into her room and stand up next to her bed, patting her on the face until she wakes up and looks at you. Sometimes I take you away so that Hadley can sleep, but sometimes I just let you do it (as I admire while standing in the doorway) because it just makes me so happy how much you love your sister.
Don’t worry though – the feelings between you and Hadley are 100% mutual. She is bananas over you and wants to know where you are at all times. In fact, as I’m typing this at the kitchen table, Hadley is sitting across from me drawing a picture of you saying things like “Hi honey!” and “Dis is Sadie.”
I pray (really, honestly pray) that you and your sister always recognize and appreciate the gift that God has given you both with the other. Your Tante Jenn is my built-in best friend and I adore your Uncle David; they are two of the most special relationships in my life. Relationships take selfless work, and even though you and Hadley will have your unique opinions and qualities, I will always cheer for the two of you to prioritize your sisterly relationship. Do what you have to do to love each other intentionally during the many different seasons of life you will walk through together. Family is everything.
One of my favorite moments of every day is picking you up from your crib when you wake up. You’re usually crying, but when you see me you quiet down and raise your arms. I pick you up and snuggle you against my chest as you get out your last few whimpers and settle against me. I don’t know what it is, but I’m always reminded in these moments that they’re fleeting and that you won’t feel like a baby in my arms for very much longer. You’re feeling more and more like a toddler every day, and while I am so excited to get to know toddler Sadie, I’m holding on to baby Sadie for just as long as I can.
You are so unique, determined, hilarious, snuggly, and slick. We feel like the luckiest to be seated on the front row to watch what God has in store for your life. He plays a role in our lives that cannot be replaced by anything or anyone else. Your life will feel more whole and hopeful if you strive to learn about Him and what He desires for you. I hope that we’ve set that example for you.
I love you so much, Peanut. You were so meant to be a part of our little family. Happy, happy 1st birthday, Sadie Rose! (I wonder how long your middle name will stick around as part of the name we call you. We love it so much.)
PS: More from my motherhood section