Happy Birthday, Annabel!

Dear Annabel,

Today you are a year old and all I can think is “how?” How has it already been a year? How has it only been a year? How was I ever not your mother? How, how, how?

Needless to say, the last year has been extraordinary with you in our lives. You’ve changed everything, mostly for the good. I say mostly because you have a couple of bad habits, namely waking up at ungodly hours of the morning most days. You’ve also learned how to throw a mean tantrum and scream a scream that no one’s ears should ever have to endure. But other than those few things? All good changes.

You’ve given me so many laughs and taught me how to love in a way that I had previously only read about and seen in movies. You are a constant source of joy and you entertain us everyday as you begin to show more and more of your personality.

Over the past month since our last update, you’ve perfected your walking skills and begun to think about running. It’s scary. You’ve started pointing at everything while babbling questions at us. You make quacking noises when you see your rubber duckies and your favorite time of day is still bath time. You’ve learned to say “uh-oh” and now that’s your favorite phrase. You usually say it right before you drop something…intentionally. Like your food over the edge of your highchair tray. You recently learned how to stack blocks and it’s really neat to see you so focused and concentrated on your efforts. You give the best kisses ever and I can’t help but smile when you come at my face with your mouth wide open as you repeat “muah” over and over again. They’re ridiculously slobbery, but amazing nonetheless.

In the last month you’ve made it a habit of waking up right around the time I’m trying to go to bed. I think you just want to see me, which is very flattering, but I’d rather see you in the morning. Preferably after my alarm clock goes off. I might have to start sending Daddy in there to break this habit. If the past is any indicator, you won’t like this one little bit. When it comes to bed time, you are a complete mommy’s girl. You want absolutely nothing to do with Daddy both when it’s time to go to sleep and when you wake up early and I bring you to our bed.

You’re able to understand more of what we say everyday. It’s really so much fun to watch you make connections like that. I can ask you to go get your shoes and you’ll do it, you walk to the bathroom when I say it’s time to take a bath and to the front door when I ask if you want to go outside. You continue to act very differently with me than with anyone else. By that I mean you are much more naughty with me! If I put you in your highchair, you scream for me to get you out. But when Daddy does it? You sit there happily and eat your food. You throw a fit every time I try to change your diaper, especially early in the morning. But for Daddy? Nary a peep! Why do you do this to me?

Daddy and I put together a video slideshow of pictures from your first year, and looking back at all of those early pictures definitely made me a little weepy. It’s bittersweet watching you grow up and I don’t imagine it ever gets any easier. On the one hand, I couldn’t be more grateful to have the opportunity to witness this growth and guide you through the world. On the other hand, I want it to slow down! But I can’t control time, so all I can do is embrace this and try my hardest to soak it all in before you grow too independent to hold my hand, too heavy for my arms to carry you and too embarrassed for my hugs.

Happy Birthday my sweet girl! I love you to the moon and back and no matter how big you get, you’ll always be my baby girl.

You were born into a strange world

Like a candle you were meant to share the fire.

I don’t know where we come from, and I don’t know where we go,

But my arms were made to hold you, so I will never let you go.

‘Cause you were born to change this life.

You were born to chase the light…..