Dearest Elyse -
I've had a million thoughts swimming in my mind as I think about writing this post. You are one year old. What haven't I already said? What am I really feeling? Maybe a little like this at times:
I'm feeling pretty much everything. I'm happy, proud, excited, yet I'm also emotional, sentimental and sad. You have been in my world almost two years now. Two years ago we were trying to have a baby and in January 2011, we were so excited when we found out we were pregnant. Many nauseous, swelling and waddling months later I was nearing my due date. Your nursery was complete. Clothes were folded away in your dresser smelling like a sweet baby. Hospital bags were packed. I was ready, but absolutely terrified! And then... you were here. This beautiful baby girl was laid on my chest with these big eyes blinking back at me. What?!
Elyse with the stroller and baby at Grandma Deanie's.
The next week was a whirlwind. Our house was always full with visitors. I barely slept. I mean, really - I barely slept. Every time I closed my eyes, I couldn't rest - I was so excited. And I didn't want to miss a moment with you. Daddy and I talk fondly of that time. We were up at all hours of the day - and night. We kept the heat on about 75 degrees (and it was September) and Daddy was always sweating. We just didn't want our little girl getting cold. Daddy would sleep with a hand on your chest - he was so worried about you. We spent more consistent time together during your first few months than we had our entire relationship. It holds such sweet memories for us. It was so fun getting to know you.
Elyse and Uncle Casey.
I loved being home with you. I loved holding my sweet baby, patting and rubbing your back back and breathing in your sweet scent. Nursing you to sleep and then carefully carrying you down to your room to sleep. Kissing your sweet cheeks. Being able to (almost) always make your cries go away by giving you what you need whether it be food, diaper change or just cuddles. I'd dress you up and take you out for visits and beam as you were always happy to meet new people.You have never been shy.
The infamous arms-up of the early walker.
Christmas neared and I was excited about the holiday, but inside I was a mess. One night, Daddy and I sat in the living room and tears just rolled onto your head as I said to him, "I didn't expect to love her this much." I was physically sick about going back to work. I always knew I would, but secretly I worried I was being selfish. I did it and it was HARD. Yet, I worked out a new schedule where I could be off one day a week (and Daddy was already off another). Somehow this all brought a balance and peace to our decision. You would be with Mom and/or Dad more than you were not. Somehow it eased that discomfort and I was so happy.
Loves to climb the cement stairs on the patio (and make us nervous!).
I'd come home each night so excited for that moment when I walked into the room and my Baby Girl would see me (this is STILL my favorite part of the day). My friend, Jessica, had told me, "Babies always know their Mama. Whether you work or stay at home - don't worry. You'll always be her Mama." She was exactly right. Nothing changed.
Standing on her own took some practice!