To My Daughter On Her First Birthday

I love you.  Before, after and above all else, I love you.

I loved you long before you took your first breath, before I first held your tiny little hand and breathed in your sweet baby smell.  Before I felt your kicks in my belly or listened to the sweet sound of your little heart beating.  Before I even knew you existed, I loved you.

Tomorrow, you turn one.  It's hard to believe that this time last year, you were still snug inside my belly, nestled just underneath my heart.  I talked to you and sang to you and wondered when you would make your appearance.  I loved to watch my belly rise and fall as you practiced breathing and I giggled with daddy when we watched you hiccup.  Your daddy read you stories every night, usually "Baby Oh Baby, The Places You'll Go" or "Guess How Much I Love You."  I daydreamed about what it would be like to be your mommy.

Now, I can't imagine being anything else. 

This time two years ago, I was praying for you and wondering if your daddy and I would ever be blessed with a baby.

And here you are.  We are so very blessed.

You are an amazingly sweet little girl.  Your smile lights up my life.  Your laugh is infectious.  You are my little mini-me and yet every bit of your father.  Your Fred Flinstone feet are the cutest things I have ever seen and your crazy bed head in the morning is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world.  The goofy faces you make crack me up and your little baby pot belly is just so precious.  The way you wave bye bye in the driveway with daddy when I leave for work brings me to tears every time and the way you yell "mama" and run to hug me when I come home melts my heart.  I may be a little biased, but I'm pretty sure you are the cutest little girl in the whole wide world. 

You love your puppy.  You love your daddy.  You love milk straight from the tap and you love french fries in a way that makes me crazy.  You thoroughly enjoy unravelling rolls of toilet paper and dumping out my purse onto the floor.  You love your new water table from Nana Lorrie and Grandpa and you love your new red wagon from Grandma Sherrie and Pap Pap.  And you love your puppy.  A lot.  :)

You are curious and excited and energetic.  You love to run, well, try to run, and drag around toys that are bigger than you.  You are my little night owl and my sweet little snuggle monster.  You sleep better, nap better, do everything better when you are close to me or cuddled up in daddy's arms.  Your favorite movie is Finding Nemo- I watched it with you at least 3 dozen times in the last 3 months.  Your favorite book is any book you can get your hands on.  You love to flip through the pages and yell at them, and I love to watch you.  You love to play with Lucy's water bowl and try to eat her doggie food, no matter how many times your daddy and I tell you "no".

I love to watch you laugh and learn and grow.  I love to watch you discover new things about yourself, like your belly button, and I love to watch you discover new things about the world around you.  You know "mama", "dada", "puppy" and "more".  You can sign milk, more, all done, and of course, puppy.  You wave bye bye and blow the best kisses.  You are so smart already, but you still have so much to learn.  I can't wait to show you the world and teach you everything I know.  But at the same time, I wish you could stay in this sweet, innocent, naiive state forever.

You may not stay little forever, but you will always always be my little girl.

You are perfect.

And in the morning, when you open your pretty gray/blue/green eyes to this big world, you will be perfectly one.

Happy birthday, sweet baby girl.  I love you!
 Love, Mommy