Happy 11 months sweet girl. For the first time in the past three years I feel at a loss for words. You are growing up, there’s no doubt about that and soon you will be a toddler. The closer you get to that special milestone of your first birthday, the more and more I find myself reflecting on your whole life. Because of this, it is hard for me to remember what you did this past month that made your eleventh month of life so special. Was it the cruising, the standing unassisted for longer periods of time, the clapping, the waving? Those are all great accomplishments, but in the grand scheme of things and in consideration of all the changes you have brought and the love you have filled us with, it all seems so tiny. All these developments seem like tiny descriptors for someone so grand.
Perhaps, it’s just me being emotional or dramatic because your growth leaves a more bittersweet feeling in my heart. With your sister we knew there would be another baby and the opportunity to relive the whole baby stage, but with you there is a definitive end to each stage: no other baby will come after you. All these experiences have been lived through and they will be the last ones. There won’t be another pregnancy. There won’t be another baby. Your firsts will be the last firsts. I won’t see another child of mine roll over for the first time and the triumph on that child’s face or hear another child of mine utter “mama” for the first time. Have I done my best to remember all these moments? Have I cherished this experience of you as a baby enough? When the memories begin to lose their focus, will I have regrets?
The irony in all this is that I look at you and I still see a baby. I see the difference of two years between you and your sister and you are more baby than you are toddler. You still look like a baby. You still need and rely on me. There is still so much you cannot do. I know this will all change. Time will continue to pass and you will continue to grow. Slowly, the babyness will creep out of you and one day, you will look and act like a toddler. I will love you then more than I love you now, but I will still look at you and wonder why time has been so cruel so as to play this trick on me of living with you everyday and being blind to the subtleties of your growth.
So 11 months. What did you do this month? You grew. What made this month special? That smile on your face, those arms clinging to me in an embrace, the kisses that came when asked for, the sound of “mama” escaping your mouth, all these little things that are meant to remind me that, even though you will not be a baby forever, the things you will be able to do are worth letting go of baby-you.