A Letter to my Daughter on her First Birthday

Dear Bean,


Just a few seconds old!

In true second child fashion, this first birthday letter is late. Very late. You turned one a week, 11 days, 19, 21, 23 (okay this is just getting embarrassing) days ago. But I guess that means I just need to make this letter extra special – kind of like you.

One year ago, I thought you would never come out. It was looking like you were destined to live inside my womb until it was time to go to college, feet tucked oh so uncomfortably up inside my ribcage. But then in true female fashion, one good shopping trip was just enough to get you moving. And the rest was history.

Not that I intend to stereotype you. You don’t have to love shopping just because you’re a girl. In fact, mom and dad’s bank account will prefer the opposite. See, raising a girl is complex. I have to be aware of things like this, blanket statements like these. Dad and I have to make sure we tell you you’re pretty, but not too often because then you won’t value your intelligence. And we’ve got to be sure to instill self-confidence – lots of confidence. But, not too much that people think you are bossy. I must be mindful of my own body image, as to not spoil your body image, regardless of how much I detest the thickness of my thighs. We shouldn’t call you princess or queen or force too much pink into your environment. Yet, funny enough, most things manufactured for you only come in… pink.

There’s just a lot of pressure. Boy Girl, I hope I don’t screw it up.

How can it be that the first year has already come and gone? They say things go by faster with the second child, and they are right. It seems like just yesterday, I was panicked, peeing on pregnancy tests every hour because I “just felt pregnant.” I remember pulling one apart, ripping it down to just the strip of paper, holding it in the sunlight shining through the window, yelling at your dad “SEE! THERE IS A LINE THERE.” He thought I was nuts. But I was right. (Okay, he was too.) It has been a whirlwind ever since.

IMG_8149Watching you grow over the last year has been amazing. And even though you are the second baby and things are inherently different, that doesn’t mean that they were not as special. To be honest, our experiences with you were even more raw. The first-time parent fog had lifted. That’s the haze that comes with the exhaustion of questioning everything, worrying about anything, and absorbing almost nothing. With you, we actually experienced it. Sure, there were times you kept us on our toes. But more often than not, we knew what to expect next and we just let life happen. And there is something pretty amazing about seeing a little, tiny human blossom into a slightly less tiny human. Really seeing it. It is, quite literally, transformational.

You are one determined little girl. Every time you try to mimic your brother, the look in your eye screams, “anything you can do, I can do better!” Don’t ever forget that – you can do amazing things.

You are inquisitive. You point at everything and say “Dat, dat!” Your little brain, working so hard to figure it all out. You are so smart. Stay curious, stay hungry, ask questions, figure it out.

You are fearless. You went from rolling over to running in (what felt like) 3.5 seconds. You’ll climb to the top of the couch in search of the remote control. You’ve already had two black eyes. Stay fearless, and fight for what you believe in. No one else will do it for you.

IMG_6471You are beautiful. Your gorgeous blue eyes and gap-toothed grin have, literally, stopped strangers in their tracks. (What a beautiful baby!) But even more, the beauty of your personality shines in everything you do. Never, ever let anyone make you feel like you are not enough.

You are lovable. Since day one, you’ve wanted to be held and snuggled. I adore the way your little head fits so perfect in the dip of my shoulder. And how you so frequently find comfort there. Oh, how I wish you’d never outgrow that spot. Just remember, even if I can’t do so physically, I’ll always be there to carry you when you need me.

On his first birthday, I thanked your brother for making me a mother. Today, I thank you for giving me my encore performance. You were the piece of me I didn’t know was missing, all along. You make me want to be better and do better, not only as a mother but as a woman. I know that you are destined for great things, no matter which path you choose in life. But for now, I just ask that you walk slowly and hold my hand.

Love you for always,


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