The end of a very long day.
We took you to a new day care last week.
You immediately got along well with the other children and the teachers in the room.
In fact, you love just about everyone, and often walk up and hug strangers.
At a festival this past weekend, you got so excited listening to the live music that you had to walk over and hug a few women.
Yesterday in church, you were passed from person to person, as they took turns holding you and getting hugged.
I believe your soul is still so young and new and pure, that it sees the pureness in the souls of others. The goodness in your soul is attracted to the goodness in other souls.
Your happy soul shines on your face.
You are as joyful and unconditionally loving as the God who created you.
Since we brought you home a little more than a year ago, so much has changed.
I still look at you and marvel at your presence in our lives. Perhaps I always will. Your existence is a miracle. As you’ve grown and eagerly explored and learned this past year, so have Mommy and Daddy. Here’s what Daddy has learned.
I would’ve thought “chew it up and swallow it” is instinctual. Turns out instinctual is “chew it up and spit it out.”
In fact, you sometimes chew something, take it out of your mouth and put it on the tray. New food you then drop directly onto the floor.
Food you had no interest in when it was on your tray is much more appetizing when it’s on the floor.
If you loved eating it today, you’ll almost certainly hate it tomorrow.
Oatmeal cookies for breakfast are better than nothing for breakfast.
The dog will eat anything you feed him by hand.
Under no circumstances should a popsicle have a napkin wrapped around it. This is a tragedy worthy of screaming and crying.
My Gag threshold has changed significantly
When mommy and daddy first brought you home, we took you to meet mommy’s family. You had been with us for only a day. Daddy had you in the guestroom trying to help you take a nap. But you didn’t sleep because you needed your diaper changed. At that point daddy had only changed you a few times. But you’re my daughter, so how difficult could it be?
So much poop and such a squirming baby. And daddy gagged and gagged. Blinded by tears flooding my eyes, I struggled on, committed to changing that diaper by myself because you are my little girl.
A year later, you still squirm, but Daddy can handle just about everything. Recently, getting ready to give you a bath, I took your diaper off to let everything “air out” as you stood next to the tub waiting for the water to fill.
When I picked you up, I saw that you were actually standing and pooping.
Daddy tried to hold you on the toilet but you were done. So Daddy cleaned you up with toilet paper. Daddy had to call mommy to come help throw away the soiled bath toy and get the soiled rug.
And through all of that not once did I gag!
(Full disclosure – recently mommy was giving you a bath when she called Daddy for help. You pooped in the tub during your bath. It was rough. Daddy gagged pretty hard that night. )
What goes on inside a little girl’s diaper is a mystery to her father.
My capacity to love has grown beyond anything I would have imagined possible.
There is nothing more important in life than growing our capacity to love and be loved.
Daddy and Mommy love each other. And when you came into our lives, our hearts swelled larger with love. We love you more than we’ve every loved anyone before. Your love for us is unconditional and it feeds the unconditional love we have for you.
Babies are fast
Because you wander around tottering and occasionally falling over I’m lulled into a false belief that you remain that slow when I’m not looking.
Paradoxically, when we take our eyes off you for any reason you miraculously become rock steady and fleet of foot.
The more important the reason for our distraction, the faster you move.
You’re a tiny person
You developed a personality quickly. You have a favorite spot where you often sit. You love to wear your shoes, inside or out. You play hard, you eat food by the tiny fistful and you sleep soundly.
You’re really easy going, and are seldom fussy. Although lately, you get whiny when you don’t get your way. Today you were really upset that Daddy wouldn’t let you play with the trash.
You have favorite foods, an insatiable curiosity, and you love looking at strangers and smiling happily.
“That made my day,” a woman said, after you smiled joyfully at her in the grocery store.
You have a tremendously magnetic personality that draws people to you.
I wonder if you still have that, when you’re reading this.
Nothing else matters
You are our priority.
Like planets orbiting the sun, our whole lives revolve around you.
Mommy and daddy used to see a lot of movies – We’ve gone to the movie theater twice in the past year. Daddy thought he was going to finish writing his novel, six months ago. Daddy hasn’t auditioned for plays because I don’t want to be away from you during rehearsals.
We’ve rearranged our whole lives for you, and you’re worth every second.
Your birth family is present
You are our daughter. You are a part of us. Our hearts and spirits are connected.
but like an amputee’s phantom limb, the specter of your birth family is present.
You’ll have questions as you get older. We’ll answer them. And just as we do today, we’ll walk alongside you as you explore the world.
You’re taking a swimming class every week.
And we’re swimming in the pool nearly every day.
You’re getting to be very good.
(You don’t wear this in class, but it’s helpful in the pool sometimes.)
On June 6, you turned 16 months-old.
Your cousin graduated from high school that day, too.
I often look at photos of you from the past. I have on my phone pictures of every stage of your life. From the week you were born through today. (The pictures are backed-up on the computer. I like keeping them on my phone so I can look at them.)
You look today like you did In some of your very first photos, when you were four months old.
It’s amazing how your personality was developing very early to who you are today.
Sometimes i see on your face different expressions, and I imagine who’ll become.
I see the person you are, and think of who you’ll be.
Will you remain curious and engaged as you grow , or will the occasional flashes of bashfulness continue until you become an introvert?
Will you always be as rough and tumble as you are now?
You often fall down, don’t cry, and instead get up and keep going.
You end up with bruises and scratches and we don’t even know how they got there. Your little legs are speckled with little bruises and you don’t seem to mind.
You’ll probably always be on the small end of the spectrum. At 16 months-old, you weigh only 18 pounds. You haven’t gained any weight in the past three months, since your last checkup at the doctor.
And yet, you eat a lot. A lot.
You can put away an entire banana in one sitting, and then keep eating. You have two breakfasts and two dinners every day. And when you get down from your highchair after a meal, you keep eating if we put the food in your mouth, baby bird style.
You’re not gaining weight, but you are growing taller. And longer. And you’re very strong. What you couldn’t reach yesterday, you reach today. And since you don’t seem to be afraid of getting hurt, you just pull and climb up onto everything you can.
As the days go by, you’re growing older and taller, just not heavier.
“That means banana,” Mommy said from the other room.
You had just used the dog stairs to climb into mommy and daddy’s bed.
You pointed at the cat.
You pointed at toys on the floor.
“You want your toys?”
I put you on the floor, facing your toys. You instantly turned the other way, picked up a book and handed it to me.
“Do you want to look at your book?” I asked as I held it open for you to see the bright colors and words.
“Dad-ee,” you said, emphatically tapping at the page.
“Did you hear that?” I called to Mommy. “What did she say?”
“Daddy,” Mommy replied.
“I know,” I said, as you took the book back. “She’s pointing at a picture of a banana.”