One year ago today you arrived in our lives, a month early with the cord looped twice around your neck and mad as hell. And at 5 lb 11 oz, you were the tiniest little thing your daddy and I’d ever held.
Which reminds me … since we’re on the topic of your dad, I’m sorry about the porn ‘stache in all your newborn photos.
|His mustache brings all the girls to the yard ...|
I can assure you your father wasn’t trying to join the likes of Ron Jeremy before your birth … just raisin’ some dough for prostate cancer during Movember. The thing is, Movember’s supposed to be over at the end of November, which would’ve given daddy loads of time to shave off the ‘ol lady tickler if a certain “someone” hadn’t kicked her way out of the womb a full month in advance. So if you’d come when we were expecting you, your daddy wouldn’t have looked like such a creeper at the hospital. I’m just sayin’.
Speaking of apologies, I’m going to apologize in advance for your teen years. If you take after your dad and I, ages 13 – 17 are going to be … awkward. I wish I could give some sage advice about this upcoming stage in your life but here’s the thing: As your mother I’ll spend all day talking about how looks aren’t important (which they aren’t) and how you’ve just got to work at being a good person (which you do), but the truth of the matter is, other teenage girls can be real bitches. And bitches be cruel. Having been-there-done-that, I also know that no amount of soothing talk about just “ignoring” things will help. So here’s what I’ll say instead:
I’m sorry. The teen years are hard. Please know that every day you go to school I wish I could be there alongside, defending you, standing up for you and helping you find your way through junior and senior high. Every day I pray you come home from school happy and joyful, not beaten down and alone. Every day I wish you the strength to courageously rise above the chaos and pettiness of teenage life and trudge ever onwards, using wisdom beyond your years to know that this is but a brief period in your long existence. You will make it through, you will come out on the other side, and you will be a better person for it. Trust me.
And if that’s not enough to help you push on, keep this in mind: Karma’s a bitch. And Karma likes to send her friend, Miss. Ginormous-Ass-Once-You-Hit-College, to really close the deal. So take heart if you’re picked on, and be kind to others if you’re not. Everyone gets their comeuppance.
Yes, sweetheart, the teen years are going to be rough on us all. At some point you’re probably going to hate me, but you know what? That’s ok. Its kind of a rite of passage between girls and their moms. It’ll sneak up on us; one day we’ll be gossiping about how cute Justin Bieber looked in his latest video and the next … wait, what? The Bieb’s thirty-five? And bald? What’s that? Only old people listen to him? Are you saying I’m old? Well, if I look old it’s only because I’ve had to put up with you and your brother’s crap these past 17 yea ….. Oh, wait. You’re still only one, and I’m just imagining this all in my head. Ok. *deep breath*
Your brother. From the day we first told him there was a baby in mommy’s tummy he was in love with you. He informed us you were a girl long before we had an ultrasound to confirm it, and he stood by that even under intense pressure to change his answer. He just knew. And he adored you. “Oh, wait ‘til the baby comes!” everyone warned us. “He likes the baby now, but once he realizes its here to stay he’ll be over that fast”.
Except he wasn’t. He was in awe of you, called you his “favourite girl” right there in the hospital room, cuddled you, snuggled you, protected you and made you laugh all through this first year of your life. “Mom, why are you telling me this during my first-year letter?” you ask, a little pissed that the focus is taken off you. Well dear daughter, its because right now, at this point in your life, you probably think he’s an asshole.
Truth be told, he probably is an asshole (to you. Not to me. Never, ever to his mother). But through all the noogies and wrestling holds and slammed doors and teasing and dutch ovens and whatever the hell else you guys fought about over the years, he loves you. He probably doesn’t say it, he may not even believe it (“Gross, mom! As if I love my sister!”), but deep down that kid loves you. Always has, always will. And deep down, you know you feel the same.
So for god’s sake, will the two of you just hug and make up already?
Now let’s see … what else do mom’s write about in these letters? Hmmmmm …. oh yes, wishes. I’m supposed to write about my wishes and dreams and hopes for you.
Well, first of all, I truly, truly hope with all my heart that you outgrow your current fascination with dipping your hands into toilet bowls. Seriously kid. It’s gotta stop. Its getting weird. Woe be the person who neglects to close the bathroom door while taking their morning constitutional at our home right now. To their ears will fall the quiet pit-pat-pit-pat of your still-unsteady gait as you round the corner, a grin on your lips and hands outstretched and grasping. “Grasping? Grasping for what?” you wonder as you watch her tread ever closer. And then the cold, tiny fingers of our toilet-bowl-fiend will forcefully attempt to shove their way through your legs and down into the water below, and you will know.
So yeah. Lets move on from that mmmkay? Gettin’ a little embarrassing over here.
I also hope you stay true to the personality we’ve seen develop over these past twelve months. Eight weeks in I would’ve said “God no!” as I sat (upright because that’s the only way you would sleep) in bed, desperately trying to catch 20 minutes of slumber as I held my screaming baby. Or even eleven months in as I listened to you cry in the car for, like, the eleventh month straight. Anyone who knows us personally knows this was a tough, hard year with more than our fair share of tears and frustration (particularily from me). However, I’ve come to recognize that the very personality traits we find difficult in babies (demanding, passionate, my-way-or-the-highway) are the same ones we hail in adults for their leadership abilities, strength and fortitude. That or in white-collar criminals, I guess. So … yeah … uhh … Where was I? Oh yes … stay true to your personality. Its who you are and more importantly, it’s who we love.
Honestly, I just want you to be happy. There will be ups and downs throughout your life but when you look back on it near the end, I hope with all my heart that you see it was filled with joy. Finding humour in whatever life throws at you can help immensely with this, and I hope growing up in the family you have you will see this modelled day after day. Humour is the key. Believe me. If you can laugh at yourself, you can move forward in life without all those nasty chips on your shoulder that weigh down so many others. So laugh. Laugh often, and laugh loud. But not too loud, because that can get annoying. But, you know, just moderate your volume and have at ‘er.
Avery-bear, its been a crazy, hard, wonderfully chaotic year and I’m so happy you chose me as your mom. I love you, little girl, and I always will. Wherever I am in the world, whatever the case, you will always be on my mind and in my heart. So happy, happy, joyous birthday baby! And may the next year hold even more laughter and blessings than you’ve already experienced!
|The big baby ate the little one, clearly|
But maybe, just maybe, we could knock off the car ride crying?