Dear Lily Claire,
You are one. One whole year. I can't get my head around it. A minute ago you were all tiny and wrinkly and kind of smelly in my arms. Today you spent most of the day tearing through the fallen leaves in the front yard. Though still a bit smelly, good on ya girlie. A year ago you nursed for the first time (for 2 hours straight, you little devil), today you ate a whole hot dog and an apple with your two little teeth and had some meatloaf with us for dinner. A year ago, when you were born, I checked you out inch by inch to be sure you were all there and in the right spots because even though they said those tests were wrong and you had fine, normal genes, I just would not believe it until I saw for myself, and today I sat back and watched in awe this perfect person who has some funny looking, kinda webbed toes but otherwise is so far beyond beautiful that I think they will make a new word for it.
You have the most amazing brownish-greenish eyes, absurdly cute curly, sandy blond hair, the kind of olive skin people pay money for and a laugh that stops strangers walking down the street. You...you...you have made it all worth it. I could seriously do nothing more than eat your toes for the rest of my life.
You have lived in 5 houses/apartments/hotel rooms and 2 countries since your birth. You have already done more international travel than I have in my 31 years. You have been bounced around, moved around, held by strangers, slept in cribs and beds and air mattresses and basements you don't know and forced to grow up way too fast in your first year. And you have done it all with the type of grace I hope you know for the rest of your life.
I can't imagine what you think the world is all about. I wonder if you still remember your dad, that guy you love so very much, that guy you haven't seen for too much of your life. You don't say dada anymore and it sort of breaks my heart. For a long time, that was the one word I could get out of you.
You do, however, say Idiot pretty clearly and in interesting company. You also say puppy and nana. You say a few other words pretty regularly, I just can't figure out what the hell you're talking about yet. You walk. Everywhere. All day long. You loves the walkin'. It helps that you have some ridiculously cute shoes to show off (thanks, ASYB'er!), doesn't it?
I don't know much, but I do know this...I waited my whole damn life to meet you. I cannot believe that I actually get to be your mother. I get to talk to you every day for the rest of my life. I get to know you better than anyone else ever will. I promise you, baby girl, I promise I won't waste a minute of it. I will love you so bad it hurts every single minute of every single day (except those where you choose to scream directly into my eardrum while biting the closest fleshy part of with those little razors you try to pass for teeth, those minutes I could live without) until I breathe my last breath.
You were the best present I EVER got. Thanks for being my kid. I love you, sweetheart. Happy birthday.