A letter to my daughter in the last weeks before she turns two years old.
My first memory of knowing you was before I even saw you. I felt you first. I was sitting in the car next to your Dad. We were driving through the Everglades during our “babymoon,” the last vacation we’d take for a long time before life radically changed. I was just about 16 weeks pregnant with you, and I felt you move inside of me. I thought to myself, “I think it’s too early for me to feel her.” And I looked it up on my phone. Yup, probably too early. But, I knew it was you.
And then, also earlier than I expected, my body decided it was ready for you to come. Daddy and I went to our 35 week OB check up and my blood pressure was high. After a dizzying 2 weeks of lab tests, ultrasounds, and a lot of appointments, it was decided that I would be induced when you were 37 weeks old. The day was set on a Friday night: we’d go into the hospital on Tuesday morning, August 12. Mommy’s best friend took maternity pictures for us. I couldn’t stop staring at them, those snap shots where I knew I was finally so close to cradling you in my arms instead of my womb.
After less than 18 hours from the start of my induction, and not even 20 minutes of pushing, you came. I always thought that it would be this moment where I’d immediately know you, and our connection would be magnetic. Don’t get me wrong, sweet girl: I loved you instantly. But, the moment was anti-climactic. You were so little – only 5 pounds, 12 ounces. The first thing I remember thinking in those minutes is – did I really make such a little baby? When I went to visit you in the nursery when you had to lay under warming lamps, I couldn’t even recognize you among the other babies. It was weird to me that I actually hardly knew you, even though we hadn’t been apart for a single moment in almost 9 months.
But now, my love, no one but God knows you more than I do. I know what you’ll say to me when I go to get you up in the morning. I know that you’ll want breakfast at least 30 minutes before it’s time (you LOVE to eat, unlike just about any other toddler I’ve known). I know that you get excited about nap time, you’ll bring me your shoes when you want to go outside, and you’ll cry when it’s time to come in. I know that you’ll start bedtime prayers for us before I get a chance to.
And even though I’m sure I’ve forgotten more than I’d like, I remember a lot. I remember when you were so light that if you were laying on my chest, and I closed my eyes, I could hardly feel you there. I remember that you were Snow White for your first Halloween, but you looked more like Sleeping Beauty. Daddy wanted you to be an angel for your second Halloween, and it was hardly a costume for you. I remember the moment that you first grabbed onto a toy. I was so proud that I called Daddy at work to tell him. I remember when you finally said “Mum mum” instead of “Da Dee!” I don’t remember the last time that I breastfed you, but I do remember the first time that I offered you my breast and you no longer wanted it. (My heart aches to remember the time before that.) I remember the last time I kissed you goodnight before I brought your little sister home. And of course, how could I forget the first time you saw your sister? I hope that you’ll always love her as much as you do now and that you are always so gentle towards her.
Do you want to know a secret? Even on the days when you’re most exhausting, and I can’t wait until it’s time for you to go to bed, I miss you as soon as I put you down. You are my great love. I can’t resist your smile and your laugh – even your silly fake laugh.
I’m so torn wanting you to stay this innocent and joyful forever but also so excited to find out what kind of person you’ll grow up to be. But, for now, I’ll enjoy you being not-yet-two. I’ll take the extra cuddles you’ve showered upon me this week, because in these moments it’s as if time is frozen when it’s most perfect.
You are my sunshine, baby girl.
About the Author
Kendra is a mom of two girls under the age of two. Before becoming a mom, she became a physician assistant and spent a year as a “mountain doctor” in Haiti. She is obsessed with cloth diapers, sewing, a good bargain, discovering new baby products, and ice cream. She and her husband will be celebrating their third anniversary this October. They currently live just south of Boston, MA.