As a warning, the words I will use to talk about the monumental shift in my life since becoming your mother will fail to convey what your life has meant to me. I won't be able to express what deep, unabashed joy I take in your smiles, your steps, your hugs and kisses and growing relationship with the world. It's beyond me. But let me attempt to share some of what I'm feeling and thinking as we round out a year together.
First, so you know, you are an easy baby. You are social and outgoing, happy to win over any crowd you see. On the train, on the bus, at parties and at home, you know exactly when to smile to melt even the angriest of New Yorkers. You haven't had big problems with gas or fussy eating or rock-me-til-I-sleep attitudes. You have been kind to your parents, and for that we are grateful.
You just started walking. About a week before your birthday party, you took a few cautious steps. But by the time your grandparents arrived to celebrate your big day, you were ready to show off, walking clear across the living room while we all beamed with pride.
You love blueberries, and raspberries, and really any fruit we put in front of you. Pasta isn't a big hit, surprisingly, but oranges are. You enjoy scrambled eggs and English muffins, peanut butter and sweet potatoes, even parsnips and carrots. You take two naps a day and love swinging in the swings and going down the slide.
Above all else, Alice, my life is for you, for your daddy, for this little family of ours. There is so much in this world right now that doesn't make sense, but your existence here grounds us, gives purpose and meaning and perspective to life. Making sure your needs are met is exhausting and consuming, but more rewarding than anything else I could imagine doing with my life.
My hope for you, my sweet, 1-year old girl, is that one day you will know what joy, what unadulterated, unconditional, uninterrupted joy your child can give you. I hope that you will experience the way the ground shifts beneath you when you become a mother. I hope your world is reordered in the way you have reordered mine.
"But when she stepped off the train in New York, her plain little face looked beautiful for a moment, as if the future were opening before her and its glow were already upon her forehead, as if she were eager and proud and ready to meet it..."