Monday, June 15, 2009

Way, WAY back there

Dear Charlotte,

I got behind again. It's been 3 very long months since I posted. A whole quarter of your life has gone by that I haven't written you, and I'm sorry for it. You are now a whole year old, growing more independent and charismatic by the week, the day, the hour. There is so much that has changed in your life; encompassing all of that in a single post would be impossible, even for your Mama.

That's right, you say "Mama" now. It started out as "Na-na", but then you learned to put your lips together and make the "M" sound. It was really kind of the best day ever for me, because you've been delighting everyone with your perfect pronouncement of "Dada" for a few months now, and my tiny Mommy ego was feeling crushed as only a mommy ego can. Don't get me wrong - as a normal person I delight in the fact that you and your daddy are so close and inseperable. I didn't have that with my dad, so to see how amazing your daddy is with you is the single best thing I could ask for and get.

Notice I said, "normal person."

Mommies are not normal people. We're a rather exotic breed, with amazing ability to conjure any number of fantastic scenarios that spin normal situations into dilemmas the best team of fiction writers couldn't come up with. For example, letting you nap in a t-shirt instantly injects the fear that you will somehow wrap that shirt around your head and suffocate. Same goes for the idea that you will choke on the no-longer-existing tufts of fake fur on your crib-buddy Joe the Giraffe's little knobby horns. And I will unfortunately admit that my fantastic conjuring of scary scenarios includes one where you don't need me or want me. When those thoughts happen, I'm less likely to be thrilled that you get mad at me and reach for your beloved Daddy. Or Mamaw. Or really whoever happens to be in your reach that you find interesting. I'm happy to report that Mommy's insecurities about being a good enough mommy have receded towards the "normal" category, but don't let that admission fool you; I'll never be fully rational when it comes to you. Someday, you might understand.

You don't walk yet. That's okay, because I'm content to keep you adorable and tiny and baby-like forever. The days I can see you growing up by the minute are the days I understand why Michelle Duggar has 18 children (and counting). I can't get enough of you as a baby. I know that as you grow up, you'll most likely turn into the moody, dramatic, independence-seeking, parents-are-the-new-enemy teenager that I was, with a nice dash of your Daddy's charm and stubbornness thrown in for extra oomph. I can't wait to see what kind of adult you'll make, but I don't want to lose the honest, exuberant, scrambling mass of almost-toddler that you are. Life is an adventure for you, and you lack the ability to hold anything back. When you're sad, you cry. When you're happy, your whole body radiates that emotion, and life is simple. You're content with some Cheerios, a little Elmo, and your beloved Tuggie near you. Music makes you dance. Twirling stars above your crib make you smile. Bathtime makes you fairly explode with laughter. Bliss is the window rolled down on a bright, warm Saturday and Miri Ben-Ari on the mp3 player as we cruise down the highway, a noisy toy clutched in your hands.

Can I tell you a secret? You make all of those things the same way for me. You are my bliss. You and Daddy and Tuggie and Livvie have the incredible ability to put my life into perspective, and show me what's really important. Not work; that has its place, but it's okay to let go when the day's over. Not worrying about the stupid little details that don't matter, like if the dishes are done or what your neighbors think about your car or if you picked out the right present for someone. Life, Charlotte. That's what is important. It's a symphony. One you only get to hear once. Don't be focused on getting to the next part. Enjoy where you are now.

I love you, sweet girl.