It’s been a heck of a year. It’s been an incredible year. I can’t even begin to describe how incredibly exciting it’s been watching you bloom into the sweetest, most adorable little girl.
I’ve learned a lot from you about being a mother and about myself. You taught me that childbirth can be calm and peaceful. You’ve taught me that patience is the key to joy. That I am capable of more than I ever dreamed possible and that there are no limits to my love. All that, and so much more, my love.
Something you’ve taught me from the very beginning is how important it is to watch you become you and not protest every milestone because time is going too fast. It is going too fast. I will never get these moments back so I’m going to cherish every single one of them, the good and the bad. Oh, what I would give to cuddle you as a 6 lb 14 oz swaddled bundle of joy again for just a minute.
A year ago today we brought you home. The car ride was long and scary. I panicked and made your dad pull over twice. I didn’t want you out of my sight. But as we stepped through the door with you we were like, “Alright, we’re a family of four now. We’ve got this.”
Of course, we had no idea what we were doing. Still don’t.
In the past year I’ve watched you study things I’ve never noticed, use your tiny voice to let yourself be heard, smile and wave at everyone even if they don’t smile back (though they almost always do if they see you) and discover the world in a way I wouldn’t have ever considered (such as eating everything you can get your hands on).
You’re so beautifully uncomplicated. You have your toys, but you’d much rather play with a water bottle, remotes, coasters, rocks, or leaves. After experiencing Typhoon Chaba in Busan last fall, we have nicknamed you Typhoon Della because you can destroy a room in 3.6 seconds flat. Toys just aren’t your thing and that’s fine. I can already tell you’re developing a love for books and that makes me so happy. You’re so curious and while it’s a chore to keep you out of trouble, I love watching you explore. Each day I see you learn and navigate the world around you and I find myself getting excited about the simple joys in life again. The love you have for the wind, the way you gaze at the trees, the way you yell and point at dogs (or anything that moves), the fascination you have with rocks and dirt. I love loving life with you!
You are the welcoming committee wherever we go and people seem to flock to you. Your big beautiful eyes literally stop people in their tracks. You LOVE attention and you know no stranger. The stranger danger phase only lasted about a week. Now if someone holds their hands out to you, you throw yourself at them, eager to make a new friend. You know who your favorites are though, Ms. Lee and Emo, specifically. And I love that they love you just as much.
You make us laugh with the way you dance and giggle, and oh my goodness, the way you wave with both hands like the Koreans is so cute. You love to give high fives, hugs and sloppy wet kisses to everyone. Everything you do makes us smile. Your first word was bow (you love your bows!) and you can say hat, wow, dada, thank you, uh oh, puppy, cat, and so much more…you’re a little chatterbox. You aren’t much better in the sleep department than Owen, but time will tell. I don’t think teething is doing your nights any favors. Until a few weeks ago you had no interest in solids but now that you’ve finally cut your top teeth, you’re a garbage disposal. You eat twice as much as Owen and in half the time. It’s unreal to me after three years of fighting Owen to eat.
Changing your clothes and diapers, clipping your nails, and wiping your nose is like wrestling a greased pig. Unless Owen is there to entertain you, that usually always helps. You get annoyed with him more often than not and I can’t say I blame you, he does pick on you a lot, but you do adore him – it’s so obvious in the way you watch him. He can get you to say new words, you’ll do anything he does, and I love the games you play together (even the spitting game). You look up to him and I hope you always know that you can count on him. But when you learn how to fight back, do take it easy on him, would you? He’s a little scrawny.
I am so grateful that God chose me to be your mama! Thank you for the lessons, laughter, and reminders of what is important in life. You make me want to be better and do better, not only as a mother but as a wife, sister, daughter, and friend.
I pray that you always know you are a daughter of God, know that He loves you and has great things in store for you, I pray that you always remember the love and strength of your family, that you are smart, beautiful, and courageous, and that you will never ever be alone.
I promise to always be there for you, to help guide you, pray for you, and love you unconditionally. I may disappoint you and already have, I may not be your “friend”, I will for sure embarrass you, but know that I love you more than you can ever possibly imagine.
Happy first birthday, sweet Della!