My Baby Girl is One

Joy Elise, captured by Kristen Pace Photography

Today, I am at a loss of words. And it’s not because anything dramatic or crazy is going on, but rather because my baby girl is turning one years old.

I have spent days trying to think of a appropriate blog post to write. I wanted to celebrate her on this little corner of the internet, but I didn’t know how. Should I write a public letter? Should I share my birth story? I have no idea, because even though this is happening and time moves without my say I still feel as though this isn’t quite real and she’s still only a few months old.

I can’t believe she’s at the stage where she’s cruising along furniture, and giving us sloppy kisses without even being asked and saying small words like ‘daddy’ and ‘hi’ and ‘no’. My favorite of hers is ‘hello’, although it sounds much more like ‘hey-woa.’ She says it to everyone, everything- and is especially persistent if she doesn’t get a response back.

‘Hey-woa. Hi. Hey-woa! Hi!’

Add an emphatic wave  from her mini outstretched hands and you have the picture.

Gracious, it feels like just a few short weeks ago that I would cradle her and she’d be content just to lay in my arms. Now she can hardly stay still- the only hugs we share are quick and brief, but just as sweet- if not sweeter.

Wasn’t just a few short months ago that we brought her home? I will always remember that day- warm, icky, gross. I was wishing so much that it would feel like fall when we brought her home, but in Charleston, SC fall doesn’t come until November. I was worried she would get a dramatic heat stroke in our non-AC car, but she was fine.

I remember pulling into the ‘yard’ of our Tiny House, desperately wanting to go inside and take a nap. I didn’t want to see anyone.

But on the porch of my in-law’s house stood Jeff’s grandparents- affectionately called ‘Grammy and Grandpa”, Joy’s great-grandparents. They didn’t say a thing to us, but watched from a distance as we unpacked our brand-new baby and headed towards our home.

There’s something sweet about generations connecting- the old with the new- so we invited Grandpa to come on out and hold her. The very thing I thought I didn’t want. But it’s one of those moments I cherish so, so much.

My mother was up that evening. Joy is her first (and so far only) grandchild, and it was fun hearing stories from my own babyhood and dreaming about what Joy would be like.

Oh, so much changed in a year. I didn’t know her a year ago! And right now, that seems unfathomable because she is so full of personality.

A year ago, she cried and I didn’t know why, she ate more then she was awake, and I wished and prayed over her and her future.

Today, she cries and although we don’t always know exactly why, we can work together to find some sort of solution to the seeming madness. She still eats like it’s her last meal, but has very specific preferences. Eggs she can only do once a week, other wise she very carefully picks them out of whatever I’ve tried to hide them in and throws them on the floor. In contrary, she’ll eat two bananas in a single sitting- more, if you really let her.

Joy Elise, Photo by Kristen Pace Photography
Photos by Kristen Pace Photography

She loves reading books now. Of course, she doesn’t really *read* but she sits on our laps and turns the pages and points at animals. She claps her hands for everything, ‘more, please’ is what she means. More reading, please. More food, please. More kisses, please.

I never thought I could love someone so fiercely, so unconditionally.

Besides all this mushy stuff, it’s been the hardest experience. She tries my patience every day, and some days brings out the worst in me. But in doing so she brings out the best. She grows me.

A year is hardly enough time to be as dependent and trusting as she is to me, but she hardly knows better. Seeing how much has changed in such a short period makes me yearn for the days past, and so, so excited for the years ahead.

I’m a lot more tired, a lot more worn out, but so excited to see what she grows up to be.

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  1. She’s one already?! A very happy birthday to Joy! Having just had my fourth, I know exactly how fast time flies and how I need to relish these moments. It isn’t always easy when you’re in the trenches, but I especially love the newborn stage and miss it when it’s gone. I thought I would never be un-pregnant, and Gabriel is already almost two months! How does that happen?? I feel like my kids try my patience every day and bring out the worst in me, too. *sigh* I used to be a nice person, before I had kids!

    1. Oh my goodness, it truly does fly! I can’t believe he’s two months- apparently I completely missed the memo he had even arrived! I am so happy for you, because although they are SO trying they are also so special. I’m trying to see these trying moments as growing moments – maybe I’ll leave motherhood a big more patient then I came into it. At least, I really hope so!

      Wishing you the best!

  2. That was so sweet. Happy Birthday Joy. She is looking cuter everyone we see her & her dad can teach her how to play that piano that he plays so well. You know, my children are 42, 38 & 34. When I look at them I see them like in 2 visions (1 of now & 1 at baby time). You will probably see Joy that way too. It’s the privilege of motherhood. By the way, when mine were born I always just wanted to go to bed when I got home because it is that special private space where you get to know your baby better. I was worried about y’all in the hurricane so I was really glad to see your post. Thanks so much. Hugs!

    1. Your encouragement is so uplifting! I can’t imagine her one day being 34 (let alone 18… or 1…) but I know one day it’ll happen and that’s crazy!

      Thanks so much for your thoughts! Fortunately Asheville didn’t get much of the storm, just lots of rain! Have a great Sunday. 🙂

    1. Oh my goodness, I can’t even think that far ahead! Seeing your boys playing today reminded me of coming up to the Gathering for the first time- they have gotten SO BIG. It’s crazy!