Monday, July 22, 2013

Dear Kate, Your first birthday letter...

One year ago today, you introduced our family to pink, and we'll never be the same.

Maybe it was your temperament, or maybe it was me being a more relaxed second time momma, or maybe it was a result of flat out necessity (I suspect it's a little of all 3), but you transitioned into our family with such ease (please understand that's not to say it was easy).  Your brother was accepting of you from the start.  He surprised me by vascillating between indifference and adoration.  Occasionally, he'd ask us to put you down or insist on sitting on the boppy while I nursed you, but mostly, he didn't miss a beat when you joined us.  Hearing him call you Baby Sister/Baby Kate and say, "Awww....she's so cute!" are among some of my favorite memories this year. 

Those first few weeks are so precious to me.  We had lots of help from Mimi and Lori and her girls.  Of your first 6 weeks, I think we got to see Mimi and Pop each one.  They were and are over the moon for you, their "little caboose".  You will no doubt be spoiled rotten since you are the youngest grandbaby on each side.  Your older cousins are so sweet with you and fuss over you. 

You were such an easy nurser, and I nursed you for 11 months so we spent lots of 1 on 1 time together, especially in the wee hours of the morning.  I tried to soak it in, as you may be my last baby.  I hope I don't soon forget the sweet little sounds you made nursing or your hands up over your eyes and face.

I spent a lot less time documenting this year than I hoped.  But I tried not to beat myself up because I was truly enjoying it.  I rocked a little longer in the evening instead of obsessing over organizing pictures or blogging.  And sometimes just collapsed from the tiredness that comes from having a 3 year old, infant, and full time job.

Your first year was full of transitions.  We said good-bye to sweet Mary, had career changes, had some personal awakenings that changed our course and some harsh reminders that mortality is many distractions that I sometimes worry your infancy year was overshadowed by grief, worries, and decision making.  But I know so many of the changes/awakenings will result in a stronger family for us so I try not to dwell on it.  You have been a bright light amid it all.  A reminder that He makes all things new, that the circle of life is beautiful, even if brutal.  There is nothing that can bring a smile and perspective like a sweet smelling, smiling baby girl.

Your brother made me a momma, but you have made me a girl momma.  I have enjoyed so much monogramming bloomers, shopping for smocked clothes and pinafores, buying mary janes and tights, and finding matching bows.  There is such a sweetness and tenderness baby girls bring, and you have brought that to our home.  It is God's grace to me that I now see baby dolls intertwined with trains and trucks.

You make me want to be a better woman, a better role model to you and your peers.  You've made me rethink body shapes and self image and women's roles.  You've made me think hard on issues I've never really much cared about.  I want so many good things for you and want so much to shape you with a healthy self image so that you can avoid so many of the struggles I've wrestled with .  I'm realizing that teaching you to be kind to yourself means I need to start being kinder to myself.

Thank you for so softly landing in our family.  Thank you for sharing us with your big brother.  Thank you for being a snuggler and loving to rock; it was my best therapy many days.  Thank you for being drawn to Pop and giving him smiles and kisses when he needed them.  Thank you for being drawn to baby dolls and reminding me of so many fun days playing dolls with Aunt Lori.  Thank you for giving sugar readily, for grinning so wide, for singing after we've stopped, for bouncing when you're happy, and for shaking your head wildly when you're simpled out.  Thank you for inspiring me to be better and kinder.  Thank you for reminding me that even when it feels like things are spinning out of control, that they're just things and relationships are what really matter.

I shook my head in disbelief when God graced me with Bo, and that He's doubled my graces by entrusting me with you will always amaze me.  I lathered you in Baby Magic last night, rocked you to sleep, inhaled your sweet scent and watched you rub your silky blanket, and thought, "My goodness.  I have a daughter."  I did the same thing countless times the first week you came home.  May I never stop being mindful and grateful of the blessing of mothering you.

Happy birthday, Katherine Morgan.  I love you so much.

{1 week}

{1 year}