My sweet Selah,
You’ve taken me on quite a ride this year, little one. When I think about how I’ve watched your little personality come to life, how I’ve watched you grow and develop, I can’t help but shake my head and laugh.
When the doctor laid you on my chest just seconds after you were born, you felt like a stranger to me. I had wondered if when I saw you for the first time, I’d feel like I had always known you or if you would feel brand-new to me — and it was the latter.
You lifted your head just slightly, as much as those fragile neck muscles would allow, and you locked your eyes on mine, searching me. I remember wondering what you were thinking about in that moment—if you recognized me immediately and thought, Oh, this is my mommy!
I remember the intensity of your gaze, and knowing you as I do now, I can’t help but think you were actually daring me to take you on, asking if I was ready for what you had in store.
Oh Selah, I was so unprepared.
I was unprepared for your crying. I was unprepared for your clinginess. I was unprepared for the naptime battles and the bedtime shenanigans and the steep curve of learning you.
I was unprepared for how spunky and silly you’d be, how much one little person could crave independence while still needing me close by every minute of every day.
And I was so utterly unprepared for the fierceness that would come to characterize my love for you, the tender mess my heart would become as I learned to be your mom.
There aren’t enough words in the world to explain this love I have for you. I have no way to explain the weight I feel being your mom. The weight of raising you well, of making the best choices for you. The weight of being responsible for another human, one I care for so deeply it breaks me.
I can’t say that this was the hardest year of my life, but I can say that this year was a crucible. I think I’ve grown and changed more in the past year than I have in the rest of my life combined. You stretched my body, you tested my nerves, you pushed my limits, and you opened my heart. You healed deep insecurities and brought new ones to the surface. You made me a mom, and by doing so, you made me into a brand-new person, a woman who has never existed before.
Your first cry set off a chain of events I couldn’t stop and couldn’t slow down. As we reach your first birthday, I have that same feeling I get when I step off a wild ride: knees shaking, heart thumping, mind racing, feeling exhilarated and blown away and full of joy and pride all at once.
We’ve done so much in this first year together, my love. We spent hundreds of hours breastfeeding, hundreds of hours rocking in the glider, hundreds of hours playing and laughing and learning new things. We survived long nights, short naps, milk-supply drops, illnesses, teething, mistakes. You figured out how to be a human, how to express your needs and your desires, how to make things happen in your own world, how to be independent and adventurous. You learned to hold your head up, roll over, reach up, sign for more, play catch, collect treasures, climb the stairs, take steps, say words.
But Selah, even if you hadn’t accomplished a thing this year, my heart would still be bursting with love for you.
For all the things we’ve learned together, the best part about this year has been learning each other. I hope you’ve learned that I’ll come when you cry, that I’ll let you make mistakes, that I’ll let you explore but will always be watching and waiting, ready to scoop you up when you fall and plant kisses on your cheeks when you snuggle in close. I hope you’ve learned that I’m a shelter when you’re sad or scared, that I meet your needs when you’re hungry or sleepy, that I apologize when I lose my temper, and that I’ll do just about anything to hear your sweet giggles.
Above all, I hope you’ve learned that my love for you is unchanging — deeper than the oceans, stronger than the waves, brighter than the sun — and I plan to spend the rest of my life making sure you know this, making sure you believe this and feel this with every fiber of your being, and making sure you understand that this love I have for you is just a shadow of the love the Lord has for you.
You are both silly and serious, sassy and sweet, the little girl God knew I needed. You are an absolute treasure.
I love you forever and ever,
Want more pregnancy and postpartum reflections?
My book Expecting Wonder explores the spiritual transformation that happens through pregnancy and equips women with hope as they become mothers. You can preorder the book from your favorite retailer.
This post is part of my Love Letters series. You can read other love letters here:
A Love Letter to My Husband on an Ordinary Day of Marriage
What I’ve Learned from My Husband: An Anniversary Letter
A Love Letter to Selah on How You Got Your Name
A Love Letter to My Daughter: What I Hope You Don’t Inherit from Me