A Letter to One-Year-Old Marin

Dear One-Year-Old Marin,

Who are you and what have you done with my baby? I feel like you became a toddler overnight, and that your babyhood left without saying goodbye. How can I ever put into words what this last year has been for you? For me? Our family? How do I say the love you have bestowed onto my heart forever?

To know you is to deeply love you. One year ago today, I got to know you in a way I never knew you before – earthside. You were born into water, and immediately placed onto my chest. Starstruck I just said again and again ‘you’re here! I can’t believe you’re here!’ as our eyes locked for the very first time. Moments like those would happen again and again, I’d just look at you, in awe of who you were, and wish I could fast forward while simultaneously hitting the pause button. I knew I’d miss those early days, but they were so hard for me. Learning you wasn’t easy, nursing was tremendously humbling, and trying to balance new motherhood with personal identity became an uphill battle for me.

At one month, you opened your hands for the first time and I discovered there was SO MUCH LINT in your palm. You pooped what felt like 10x a day (thought it wasn’t a far off guess), and you squirmed from gas pains. You seemed to go to bed not long enough for me to accomplish much while you slept or together while you were awake. We walked around Foss Park each day with our friends and I loved wearing you on my chest. I had just about mastered getting you to sleep in your Moby without panicking at some point that you wouldn’t fall asleep by the time you outgrew it.

For Christmas, we got a new carrier though, and some toys. Your favorite toy was, and has always been other people though. I still don’t think you’ve met a person you didn’t want to connect with and talk to yet! (But let’s be real, you do have your preferences.) You’ve made a bus-full of quiet individuals turn into a group of baby entertainers on just an average day. You’ve caused Floridians who hate the cold to fly to Boston to visit many more times than they’d like. You feel the need to touch people and yell with excitement when you see an old friend – it’s honestly scary how much you’re like me sometimes.

You’ve taught me to be gentler towards myself too. You’ve made me love and respect Daddy in a new way. With a new admiration for what it takes to come home from a long day of work (and much overtime) to then have the energy to take you to the park when he comes home and push you on the swing or help you down the slide as many times as you’d like. He reads you bedtime stories and to see you two together is to fall in love all over again with both of you simultaneously.

You’ve sat up and played silently….Oh, silence! What a blissful memory, ha!

You are no longer silent. You talk ALL DAY. You crawl all around, but you no longer cry at my feet to be held all the time. You are heavy, and if you decided to crawl this last year, I would not have complained. But you are a happy crawler and butt scooter. You happily go up and down steps all day at the park, and you openly explore our apartment without my lead.

This in theory is AMAZING, but you find stuff you shouldn’t – like cleaning supplies or the medicine cabinet. You unfold the laundry. Reorganize your stuffed animals from the rocking chair to the floor and love stacking blocks. You’ve just recently discovered the joy of putting things in and out of containers and your development skills are now full-on toddler-level.

So again I say, baby Marin – WHERE DID YOU GO!?

And why did I wish those early days to pass so quickly? I knew I’d miss them; I *really* knew I would. I’d miss pregnancy, and birth, and a newborn baby who just SLEEPS. Well, sort of – I apparently forgot you also woke up a lot too! I’d miss a baby who sat in her Podster and looked at me and I’d look back at waiting for the painful yawn cue to rear its ugly head and rush that baby to a nap. I’d miss learning you, the hard and easy parts, and figuring out our family dynamics with Daddy. I’d miss walking you around the park before you couldn’t wait to wiggle out and move towards the playground stairs.

But more than the missing and longing, is the hope and excitement for what’s to come next. Am I still crazy enough to want you younger and older simultaneously? Yes. And a part of me will probably want the best of both. But for now, I am going to love one-year-old Marin, hopefully better than I loved zero-year-old Marin. I am going to soak up these moments because I now know more than ever, that they’re *all* fleeting. The fourteen diapers a day, the nursing pacifier, and the thought that I may never sleep consistently again, they all stopped. And now you poop on your potty, and go to bed without me (or wanting me for that matter), and it’s all too much to bear that my baby isn’t a baby anymore.

You’re a beaming, bright, funny toddler who I’m going to watch discover and learn in new ways again and again this coming year. This is still only the beginning, it’s just not the beginning of the beginning anymore. It’s different, but it’s not worse. And I get a front-row seat to it all. Everyday, I have the honor and privilege of witnessing and accompanying your journeys. You are showing me more about a world I took for granted everyday, loving the people in it, and appreciating the smallest finds and treasures this life has to offer.

So happiest of birthdays to you my girl, my star, and sunshine. May you continue to grow into the wonderful little lady you’re becoming and shine Light wherever you go.

I love you with an undying, unstoppable, unquenchable love, forever and always,

Mom

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5 thoughts on “A Letter to One-Year-Old Marin

  1. Lauren says:

    Gorgeous!!! The lint in the hands part made me laugh out loud in my cube. For a while. Let’s just say we had a similar experience. Hugs to you both, and happy birthday Marin!

  2. Donna Lynn says:

    Beautiful Ashley. I know Marin will love reading this one day. She will always know how much she is loved by so many. Happy 1st Birthday sweet Marin. You make my heart so happy. I couldn’t love you more.

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