One Year

Dear Eva,

I wanted to write this to you yesterday, but unfortunately we were a day late getting home from our trip to Maine, so my very first birthday letter to you is belated. You don't know, of course, since you can't read and don't know what a birthday is yet, but my hope is that someday when you're older you'll understand how much I loved you when I wrote this to you, and how much I still do.

Today, the day after your birthday, hasn't been the best day for you--you're still tired from the time change, on top of which you're fussy from getting your shots. But you still squealed with glee when you splashed in the bath, and when we shook our heads at each other in the mirror afterwards, and when I combed your hair, and when I handed you to your mother. You have only six teeth right now, so your smile is perhaps a bit unfinished. But it is beautiful, like everything about you, and all the more so because you're so free with it. I hope you always will be. I wonder if you will.

I wonder a lot of things about you. I wonder what you'll look like when your hair grows out. I wonder what kinds of things you'll be interested in--will you like princesses like the other girls we know, or will you like swords like your brother? Or both, maybe? I wonder what you will talk about when you learn to talk. I wonder what will inspire you to take your first steps.

I sometimes wish I could see the future, to be able to know what our story will be. But none of us get to do that, and maybe it's better that we can't. I'll tell you this, though: before you came, I thought I knew a bit about parenting and babies and childhood, but at every turn you've surprised me, from your sunny disposition to your easy sleeping to the fact that you're a good eater. Getting to know you and getting to be a part of your story so far has been one of the best things in my life, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

I love you, baby girl. Happy birthday.

Soundtrack: "I Belong to You" by Lauren O'Connell. Used with permission.