The Other Side: A Final Note For the First Year

016Dear Miss C,

Hello, my girl. It’s been one heck of a year, eh? I will never forget the moment I awoke at 6:15 one year ago today and knew that you were coming. Just the day before I had been at Target doing some mundane shopping and thinking about how I still had to wait one more week to meet you. Just like your mom, though, you were a little early. That’s a good habit to get into.

I knew you were mine, but I still had to get to know-know you. There is no orientation weekend for babies and moms; you just have to dive in headfirst and hold your breathe. I was dumbstruck that nothing in my life could have prepared me for the mix of emotions I felt when I looked at you and attempted to give you what you needed. I often thought about how ludicrous it was that only a few days before, you were still baking inside me. And now, you were out. Just out. I was as new to being a mom as you were to being a human, and we both cried a lot and slept very little in those days.

OK, so maybe you slept. Sometimes.

OK, so maybe you slept. Sometimes.

Looking all happy with the world at 2MO.

Looking all happy with the world at 2MO.

But we learned. You taught me to practice a brand of patience I never dreamed existed. This was a special kind of patience that I couldn’t acquire while waiting at the DMV or even teaching ESL kindergarten. This patience wasn’t forced; it just existed within and without me at the same time. You broke my heart with your sweetness and delicateness. I had no desire but to love you and give you the best of the world. All of a sudden, those long, long weeks of not sleeping and just struggling to get through the day are a distant memory, even though they were less than a year ago. This is because you are magical and somehow found a way to contort time itself. Um, maybe not. But I’m your mom so to me you’ll always be magical.

"Highchairs are AWESOME!!!! ZOMG!"

“Highchairs are AWESOME!!!! ZOMG!”

You have been an easy baby. Don’t think I don’t appreciate it. You slept through the night when you were seven weeks old and weren’t collicky. You loved being held and curling up on our tummies while you slept. You’ve never much liked it when I put you in you playpen or your scooter when I took a shower, but day by day you’re learning that you can occupy and entertain yourself. The world is your oyster and as much as I cringe when you dart towards the dishwasher whenever you notice that it’s open, I am glad that you care. I’m reluctantly happy that you would rather tear pages out of books than watch TV. You are my special little mess and I relish the fits you throw because then I know that you’re feeling. I have made a little breathing feeler. If you ever have children yourself, you’ll understand why that’s such a big deal to me.

I have made a human, and that human is you. You were the one I waited for all along.

Vote early and vote often. Let your voice be heard.

Let your voice be heard. And go ahead and rip your socks off if you don’t want to wear them, too. Do what you gotta do. 

The other day, we were taking a bath and you looked straight at me and babbled a sentence-length series of syllables. Your sentence was full of meaning and intent. The words weren’t there, but you had basically taken off the training wheels of language. I stared back in your eyes and marveled that you had something to say. And not only that, but it was to me that your words were directed. Please always, always know that your words are valuable and strong. Take care of them and own them. When you use them, be kind and smart, both to others and yourself.

Knowing you has easily been the most incredible honor of my life. The word “amazing” springs to mind, but I hear that word too often and so it surely cannot describe the uniqueness of watching you interact with the world and knowing that you are mine in a way that no one else is. I adore you, my Sweetbabybuney. Thank you for being you and loving me in a way that no one else ever has or ever will. Thank you for existing and for making me be a better me. Know that Daddy and I love you more than we could ever possibly tell you in a letter or a poem. Our hearts keep growing with every breath you take. Keep inhaling and soak in this big world at your feet.

Happy birthday,




  1. Happy birthday to your little bunny!

    1. Thank you! We had a great day!

  2. Oh my goodness! Happy birthday Miss C! I feel like this just can’t be! I am so grateful to have gotten to follow along here for the first year!!! (And all that pregnancy stuff too!) also, Emily, I’d like to point out tht I just put makeup on for the first time in a week and then red your blog. Mascara FAIL! I hope everyone has a great baby’s first birthday!!! Xoxo!

    1. Awww! Good tears, good tears ;D This time has flown, hasn’t it? You’re up next. First birthdays are awesome, but have your tissues at the ready, like, all day.

      1. I’m so excited for it. But again, when Baby L turns one, I will still be pregnant, so I expect the real waterworks to start early. Like, tomorrow.

  3. Cannot believe she is one. It feels like just yesterday I started following your pregnancy blog. So so happy for you and your precious little girl. :) :)

    1. I know, right? And now we have a whole new crop of little girls! Time is insane. It keeps punking me.

  4. Happy birthday, little girl C!

    1. Thank you! She had a great day filled with toys that will be sure to drive us out of our minds!

  5. This made me tear up, Em. It’s so tender and sweet. Only words a mother can put together, words that come from the heart. Happy Birthday to your beautiful baby girl! Cee remains precious to all of us who follow along in her development. One year! How is that possible?
    Thanks for sharing this joyous occasion with us.
    Have a glorious family day! :)

    1. Thank you, Lisa! It was truly serendipitous that her first birthday fell on Easter. We have so, so much to be thankful for. Thank you for following along on all that she does! One day we’ll all meet each other in person and it will be like we knew each other all along. xoxo

  6. Emily, what a beautiful post. It’s really is amazing how fun a ride being a parent is. Happy birthday, C!

    1. It really is! I cannot wait until she starts talking!

  7. Happy birthday, pretty girl!! Hope your day is magical, and every year after.
    Emily, I have loved reading all your messages to C, and I can’t wait to see how she grows up. It’s wonderful and yes, magical, seeing how she is becoming more of a little person that can communicate and tell you what she wants. Amazing.

    1. Thanks, Kristin! The day was truly wonderful. It is true when people say that having kids enables you to relive the best parts of your own childhood. Opening presents and blowing out candles with C was so much fun! Bring on Year Two!

      1. Yes! Year two will be wonderful.

  8. Happy birthday, Cece!! It’s a pretty awesome ride, isn’t it?

    1. Hehe that’s putting it mildly ;D

  9. Every kid should have something like this written for them.

    1. Awww, thanks. I can’t wait for her to read it someday. I should give it to her when she’s a teenager and she hates me, shouldn’t I?

  10. Happy birthday, kiddo! You are magical and wonderful and have the best smile in all the land and with a mom like this, how can you not turn out fantabulous? And happy Easter, all!

    1. Happy Easter to you, Amy! She had a great birthday, filled with many a toy that makes sounds and will likely drive us insane ;D

  11. What a post! A post only a mother could write, and your little girl will cherish this one some day when she’s big enough to read on her own. Lucky girl, and lucky mom alike. Enjoy today, and congratulations to you for surviving and thriving through your first year! Happy birthday C!

    1. Thank you! The first year was for sure an incredible adventure. I cannot wait for her to start talking now! (Famous last words)

      1. The talking is the best; and will be blog fodder for years to come.

  12. Aww, the pics and your words totally made me miss the baby years (mine are 7 and 15 now…yeesh)! She seems like so much FUN!! :)

    1. She is for sure a lot of fun! She just discovered how exciting it is to flush the toilet repeatedly. Wahoo!

  13. It feels like Miss C was born yesterday! I can’t believe she’s a year old! Happy birthday to that sweet girl. I hope I can meet her (and you!) some day.
    This was a beautiful letter Em. I’m glad you shared it with us. I know I always tell you that you’re a good mom, but I think this letter proves that you’re a fantastic mom. Learning and going with the flow. If C could write a letter, I’m sure she would declare her love for you, her mom.

    1. Tell me about it! It really seems to me like she was born last week. It is really ridiculous how fast they grow and turn into little people. Thank you for watching her grow, Lily! You’re pretty much her cool Aunt Lily who attempts to keep her mom young(ish) ;D

  14. Isn’t it absolutely an incredible thing to know that you created and grew a whole flippin’ person?! Happy birthday to little C. This letter is beautiful – come back to it regularly as she starts practicing her independence the next year or two.

    1. I am sure I will. I occasionally reread some of the stuff I wrote about her when she was a newborn and I am gobsmacked by how different our lives were then. Kids are awesome (yours included).

  15. So precious!

    1. Totes adorbs.

  16. So inspiring. My girl is 5.5 weeks old and this post is a reminder of all that is to come! Thank you.

    1. OMG there is SO MUCH to come indeed! Congrats to you and write everything down because even though the first weeks go by at a slug’s pace, you will be celebrating her first birthday in the blink of an eye! xoxo

  17. Awwwwwwww, Emily, thanks for letting us in on your heartfelt mash note to your Sweetbabybuney on her first b-day!

    1. Thank you for reading! On a completely unrelated note, we are in the discussion phase of a possible summer vacation to NYC ;D Babygirl needs to see MOMA.

      1. Wow, that would be great, Emily! Email me at home if it happens and if you want any tips about events or sights you might like to catch during your visit. Of course, I’ll try to think about small-fry-friendly events. My pal, Coco, has a nephew that lives in Brooklyn who’s almost three, so I do have some indirect wee one access over here.

  18. What a beautiful letter, Emily. And Happy Birthday, C! Not only did you manage to pull in your parents, but you’ve managed to get an international troupe of strangers all soppy-eyed over you. ;) You’ve got one year down, and hopefully many, many more to go! :D

    1. Thank you! I will pass your good wishes on to her! She has so much in store! ;D

  19. Such a moving tribute from one of the most insightful mothers I’ve ever had the pleasure to “know.” Happy sweet birthday to dear little Miss C. I’m with her, socks-be-gone!

    1. Thank you so much for sticking around through all the pregnancy and then her first year! I was just looking at the post I put up when she was born and you commented there too. If I were a Subway, I think you would have earned yourself a free footlong by now.

      1. Ha, I’ll take it, and split it with you on my front porch alongside that iced tea. Gosh, time flies! Being pregnant was one of the most joyful experiences of my life, so the vicarious joy I experience from your blog floods me with such wonderful memories. Especially since we wound up with 4 boys and NO girls. Besides, baby expressions are the greatest, and Miss C tops ’em all!

  20. Happy, happy birthday!

  21. How wonderfully sweet, Emily! Only a mommy can write this. Little Wee Cee is lucky to have you as her mommy. Happy Birthday, little C!

    1. Thank you, Amy! I will pass along your message to her in the form of some leftover cake!

  22. The Dose of Reality · · Reply

    AW! Happy Birthday to your sweet girl! She’s adorable!!

    1. Thank you! It has been a wonderful year!

  23. Happy birthday little one….so many of my emotions in this post…loved it :)

    1. Thank you, Apple!

  24. What a beautiful letter! I must admit that it brought tears to my eyes. Happy birthday, little C.

    1. Awww, I hope they were good tears ;D Thank you for your sweet comment!

  25. That was probably one of the sweetest, most beautiful things I’ve ever read. Congratulations on having such a beautiful little girl.

    1. Thanks, Katie! She is indeed a great girl. I am very, very lucky to have her.

  26. She is so sweet. And the post made me all teary-eyed… lovely!

    Sorry for having been away, was really busy recently, but let me wish your gorgeous little one a happy birthday if I still may ;)

    1. No worries! Sometimes life gets a little hectic. Thank you for your sweet wishes and hope you had a great Easter, Pixie.

  27. Happy, happy, happy birthday to your little one! Time is flying by.

    1. No kidding! If mine is one, then yours is in college, right?

  28. So, does it get easier one year in! When little C races towards the open dishwasher is she racing towards the knives you are cleaning and if so, how are you not totally neurotic. Our kid kind of rolled over the other day and we just about had a heart attack thinking about SIDS. I can only imagine what it would be like is she were mobile as well.

  29. Beautiful final photo! xx

  30. I love this – thank you for sharing it. Totally gives words to my feelings for my 2 kiddos.

  31. […] I love this post that I wrote on my daughter’s first birthday. Reading it still makes me tear up a little. I seldom get all the words just right, but I think I […]

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