My lovely. For the last 3 weeks, I’ve been in a state of denial and disbelief that your birthday was just around the corner. It’s been such a full, lively year not just having you but experiencing life as a Mom with 2 kids and I’ve struggled with feeling like I really savored and enjoyed you and all of your newborn and baby goodness. It was harder this time in some ways, easier in others, just as sweet. I’ve spent the last year taking you in, observing, wondering, who you would be a month from now. A year. As an 8-year-old. A teenager. I certainly don’t have those answers yet, but my god, I’m captivated by you. You have defied all of my expectations. What I thought I wanted out of ‘my next baby’. You have challenged me in new ways. In my thoughts. The things I thought I knew about myself. In the way that I give and show love. Simply, in the way I love. It’s so true, the common question mothers ponder over when pregnant with their second. How could I possibly ever love another human the way I loved my first baby. I didn’t believe it would be true for me. The idea of more children seems to be mutually exclusive with more love. But then I found myself there, wondering how I would, could ever love in comparison. And then you came and for the first half of your life, I had the continual overwhelming thought that I just want you to hurry and grow a bit more so that you know just. how. much. I love you. So bad. It’s like a type of unrequited love except you weren’t rejecting it. You accepted it in the most basic way of getting your needs met. But did you understand? Was it felt? Did you sense the love seeping from my pores as I held you? Did you taste it as you drank from me? Did you feel it cover you in the night, like a heavy blanket, pulled right up to your chin? I longed to know that you understood what my looks of adoration and nuzzling into your neck meant. I’ve given a lot of thought to unconditional love and how it exists for me since your brother was born. You’ve opened that up again for me and I’ve experienced it in a completely different way. So many layers there and it seems the deeper, the richer.
Somehow, I’m growing right along with you, baby girl.
We didn’t know if you were a boy or a girl until moments after you took your first breath. I had my suspicions, as did everyone else and we were all right. Very few guesses that you’d be a boy. The first week of your life I had a conversation with a friend about gender being so irrelevant. There’s obviously a lot to unpack when trying to explain what I meant and this letter isn’t about that or you being a girl. I’m just trying to convey the wealth of questions and my own life experiences that I have been flooded with over the past year when anticipating whats to come with a daughter. While I wanted a daughter for the excitement of getting to experience having ‘one of each’, I also felt a disconnect from the traditional hashtag girlmom excitement. Don’t get me wrong. The Clothes. Yes. Like, whole new world shopping for a little girl. But it’s not about clothes or gender or the status quo of expectations when raising a little girl. It’s about the soul that resides deep behind those dark brown eyes. It seems so obvious and ridiculous to say(type) but I believe that we are given the children that we need and I know that there is so much I have to learn from you.
The power, yes POWER, that I have been entrusted with in raising you is not taken lightly and it is not set down. Ever. So many of the choices I make as a parent stems from me and my own old wounds and misunderstandings and desires. While I try and will continue to try not to direct any of that on to you, I will build on that. So that you are better, but with no expectations. You are free and I am open to all of you in your most genuine self, so aware and appreciative of what you bring by existing so true to who you are. Without any of the influence of society, telling you who to be. And I must reiterate that while I didn’t have a child to heal old parts of me (although what a great question), it seems to be a byproduct of the unconditional love I spoke of earlier. A lesson I am grateful for. That a servants spirit can do more for us than others. The age-old question of altruism. Can we ever truly be selfless if we achieve a sense of pride or accomplishment or healing in our own way? I’m not here to contemplate such things. I’m just here to say that I’m so thankful you’re here. Because you’re here, I am humbled. Because you’re here, I have found a new part of me that I didn’t know existed. Because you’re here, I am better. And because this day and this letter are not about me, let me bring it full circle for you. I hope that means that I’ll do better for you and you’ll be better than me and you’ll make the world a better place and you’re so capable and you already have and it’s become apparent that the deepest, most selfless kind of love will change you if you let it.
I cannot wait to see all that you become and all of the ways that you’ll express yourself. I am so grateful of all that you bring to this family and to our world! You are such a feisty little thing and I love it. I hope you continue to surprise me and surpass all of my (loose) expectations. Madden declared on his birthday that your birthday was the best day of his life. It’s a tie for me and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for you.
I love you more than I can convey. Happy First Birthday, my darling girl.
Incredible Birth Photos by Emily Martin of Canary Cottage Photography
I don’t recall enjoying this as much as I look like it here. Must have just been a moment! :)
I do recall enjoying this though.
Big brother announcing “It’s a Girl!”
This handsome dude was so smiley! I think I got at least one smile for every set-up except for one. I mean, the sibling shots!! That almost never happens. So presh and don’t even get me started on those dimples. Between those and his head of hair, girls will be lining up in Kindergarten. Loved having his sweet Mama and sister in the studio as well. They drove an hour and a half to see me and he still slept amazing for me. Just charmed me in every way possible. :)
The sweetest family that I will certainly miss having in front of my camera every year! We spent a beautiful evening at the Plaza district for their session. They were weeks out from moving and wanted to capture the urban vibes here in Oklahoma from this neighborhood. Unfortunately all of the murals were being redone this specific evening so we missed out on the cool walls but I still loved what we got and loved hanging out with them. I’m so glad to be Facebook friends with them so that we can keep in touch and watch precious Luka grow from afar!