One year ago, I first held you in my arms. I looked into your perfect blue eyes, felt your tiny fingers around mine, and heard your sweet voice. For nine months, I wondered how you would fit in our family. I worried about what I would and wouldn't be able to do for you. I thought about the kind of baby, toddler, little girl and person you would become. And for the past year, I have watched you grow. I still worry about what I will and won't be able to do for you. I still think about the toddler, little girl and person you will become. But I no longer wonder how you will fit into our family. You might have to make space for a child in your home. But in your family, that space is already there. There was a Maggie-shaped hole in our family, and you filled it perfectly.
I know that as you grow older, I might forget what it was like walking you around in the middle of the night while you cried your colicky little heart out. I might forget how you protested mightily when I would try to put you down (for naps, for bedtime, for a five-minute break so I could get a glass of water). I might forget how loudly you can scream when you don't feel well at two in the morning. I might forget the guilt I felt because I could never give you the undivided attention that I could give Hannah. But I know I will always carry with me the bond forged in those loud, exhausting, frustrating moments. I hope you will always know that no tears, protests or screams will be too much for me. And I hope that you will always know that I tried my hardest and have love you with all I have.
I have mixed feelings about you turning one. I know that this next year will be a tough one for both of us. You will start to really talk and test boundaries. But even harder than that: you will begin growing your little hair out (and people will stop asking how old my little boy--in the dress and leopard ballet flats?!--is); you will get long and lean and look silly in a Baby Bjorn; you will curl up in my arms and I will marvel that you ever fit in my belly. You will stop being my little baby and start becoming my big girl. And that is OK. But that is a little sad too. Because I have loved little baby Maggie. Loud cries, recurrent ear infections, sleepless nights and all. Because along with those cries, illnesses and long nights were snuggles and hugs and smiles and laughs.