reflections before my daughter’s first birthday

I’m planning a first birthday party for my daughter and the only party attendees live in our house.

I’m watching my daughter, whose blue eyes sparkle and personality changes every day, grow right in front of me, yet most people only see her through a screen.

I’m rocking my daughter to sleep in the middle of the night because she is teething and it feels like just yesterday we rocked her for every single nap. And now she sleeps on her own, all by herself, except times like now where she just needs mama.

I’m grieving what I wanted, expected, planned, assumed, hoped her first year of life to look like. I used to think grief was only something you felt when someone died but I’ve learned that it’s much bigger and even more complex than that.

I’m flipping through photos of the first few days of her being here and wondering — who is that woman holding the newborn? And who is she now? She’s the same but different.

I’m cheering as my daughter as she speed crawls across the room, as she pushes the little cart across the floor. Soon she will be walking. So proud of her and also where did my baby go?

I’m nursing my daughter for the millionth time and I’m over it and want to stop and yet also don’t. Can’t imagine not doing this. Recognizing that these sweet moments just us are a much-needed pause in my day, in my cycle of worry and busy. A moment of peace.

I’m sitting here and thinking just how grateful I am. And also, a confusing mix of emotions all the time, doing a little dance every day, for a year now. Disappointed, scared, overwhelmed, angry, lonely. Hope, light, goodness, joy.

I’m reflecting on how the year my daughter was born was one for the history books. We will never forget 2020. So many big and urgent things happened outside of our home— breaking news, scientific discoveries, a heated political environment. And so many ordinary and magical and slow things happened inside of it.

The longest year of my life flew by. Part of me hasn’t come to terms with the fact Winnie is turning one in a few weeks. But I’m getting there. 🤍

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