As the year winds to a close, everywhere you turn there is reflection on the past year. Best of lists, worst of lists, highlights and lowlights, compilations of movies, songs and TV shows. For me, reflecting back twelve months is an entire slideshow of you and all that you have brought to my life.
It is you being born, growing, thriving and learning. It is you sticking your tongue out at me when I would stick mine out at you, and then you smiling, giggling and babbling.
It is us cheering for you to roll over for the first time, you figuring out how to crawl, you standing and cruising.
It is you in your going home outfit, your tiny one-piece snap-up outfits that you wore for the first three months that were the bain of The Daddy's existence, your long-sleeved R E B E C C A onesie that I loved so much, and now the cutest damn outfits they make!
It is calling you Shorts, then Rebecca, then Bex, then Stinker, then any name under the sun that strikes my fancy at any given moment.
It is all the different formulas we tried, the trials and tribulations of our feeble attempt at breastfeeding, the first time we gave you cereal, and then our adventures into solid foods.
And it's a ton of drool, and spit-up, and pee, and poop, and snot, and vomit.
And so much love, and laughter, and hugging, and cuddling, and holding and staring in awe.
And I can't help but reflect on me. I have changed so much in the past year. The Dark Days - which I have been thinking about so much recently - are still so unbelievably fresh in my mind. The way I felt, acted and thought make me so upset, and as I watch so many of our friends make their way happily through those first amazing few months as a new family with their tiny newborns, I get extremely sad that I don't really remember having that or feeling that way. I so wish I remembered more of how you were then, but simply don't have those mental pictures. I remember feeling distant, anxious, sad and exhausted. I remember not eating, not showering, not wanting to get out of bed. I remember crying and I remember you crying too, and being paralyzed by that sound, wondering if it would ever end and if I'd ever be able to leave the house again. I remember wanting to want to take care of you, but feeling like I was going through the motions of how to do so. And I remember thinking that those feelings would never end.
And I remember the day that they did - when I suddenly found myself happy to come to you when you needed me, and singing little songs and rhymes to you. I remember accomplishing things with my days, and meeting new moms out and about in Hoboken. And I remember the day that I was first alone with you all day - the night before, I made the Daddy go out so that I could have a trial run at being your mommy - and it worked. For a few hours, I took care of you by myself. The fact that you were over two months old and I had barely done that makes me shake my head in awe, but at the end of the day, I am proud of myself for getting through what I did. Plus, because of having gone through that, I am also hyper-sensitive to the needs of other new mommies, and would do anything to help them avoid feeling like I did. And I plan to do something about it.
I used to be quite selfish, baby girl. Maybe not obviously so, but I always thought of myself first (well, until I met The Daddy and then usually put him first) and was lazy as can be. But you were born and now I really don't think that what I want matters much! I want to make you the happiest girl in the world, and The Daddy the happiest man there ever was. I want to help other people, other new mommies and other babies. I mean, sure, I still want to let myself have naps when I want, get manicures, and have a few fun nights out every now and then, but hey - that's not asking too much.
So this year, just as I was last year at this time, I am filled with wonder and excitement at what 2012 will bring. 2011 brought you - how could anything top that?
I love you, baby girl.