You’re the birthday girl!! Happy first birthday, my sweet budgie. I truly cannot believe that you are turning 1 today. But, honestly? I also can’t believe that you’ve only been out here in our lives for just a year–it feels like you’ve been my daughter forever. It took me some time to get used to the idea of being someone’s mother, but now I can’t imagine being anyone other than your Mama.
Your dad and I have spent a lot of time planning a party for your birthday, and I want you to have so much fun today. It makes me sad that you won’t remember this day, but I hope you look back on pictures from your very first birthday party and feel all the love and energy that went into making it special.
This first year of your life has been the best year of mine (and, okay, the most exhausting and frustrating and overwhelming and terrifying); watching you transform from a little puddle of baby into a walking, babbling, engaged, opinionated, and loving person has been more gratifying and awe-inspiring for me than I ever imagined it could be. You are such a smart little girl, and my heart is filled to the brim with love and pride for all that you are becoming.
I also have to say that I’m pretty proud of myself and your dad for all that we’ve put into being your parents. It has been hard, baby girl–the hardest thing we have ever done. But I want you to know, now and forever, that we take parenting you so seriously. Our decisions have been considered and researched and made entirely out of love and concern. We’ve made lots of mistakes, but we’re learning from them and we hope that you will, too. Even in the years to come when we embarrass you and annoy you and make you so mad, I promise you that all of our choices about your life and well-being will come from a place of love and care. We will always love you and want what is best for you. I promise.
Today you will have a chance to blow a candle out on your very first cupcake. Your own candle that will carry your very first birthday wish. Since you don’t understand all that just yet, I am going to make a wish for you. And even though it’s bad luck to say a wish out loud, I’m going to risk writing it here for you to have as your own when you are more grown up: I wish for you a life that is filled with all of the curiosity, sweetness, determination and wonder that you have shown in your first year; I want you to always strive to learn new things, to show kindness to others, to try and try again, and to take pleasure in simple things. In short, just keep being yourself, always.
I love you so, so much, my Natalie Iris. Happy Birthday!