A Letter to Our First Born...

February 1, 2015

Dearest Kiara,
I am cherishing these last days with you, not because I won’t be with you any longer, but I know in ways you are likely to never remember: that you are our first, our favorite, our beloved only daughter.

Hopefully, you will feel that forever, just how special you are, how much love and laughter you have brought into our lives, so before the new baby joins us and completes our little family, I want you to know how precious these first years of motherhood have been with you.

You entered our world and have stayed so incredibly agreeable. Even though my expectations for how you would join us were unmet, you didn’t seem to mind being cut and pulled from my womb. You cried a little, the air a shock to your little lungs, your mother shivering on the table as your father held you, not knowing how to comfort either of his two women.

I looked for you, couldn’t wait to hold you, as they bathed you and struggled to take my blood pressure for what felt like forever when all I wanted was to feel you against my skin. And when they finally placed you in my arms, I couldn’t believe the love I felt immediately for this little girl. For my Kiara.

And in those early hours, when I didn’t wake you to feed you, when I slept and hoped I was doing it right, when, really, you needed to eat, and I wasn’t doing it right, you ate when I did bring you to the breast and you slept and responded to our shushes and swaddles.

And then I fed you, in a marathon of milk, when they told us you weren’t gaining weight, that I wasn’t doing it right, that it wasn’t about the milk production, it was just that I needed to wake you up and feed you every couple of hours. Even then you went along and you gained the weight and you and I, mother and daughter, fell into that unique space reserved for new mothers and their babies.

There was the exhaustion, the dawn feedings, the afternoon sessions, the evenings, when the day was nearly done and you figured out days and nights and started sleeping for longer stretches.

We traveled up to Oregon that summer to introduce you to my family, and to Bend, where I grew up. You traveled well and won the hearts of all of your cousins, your aunties and uncles, your grandparents.

You adjusted beautifully to daycare, where you made your first friends and we learned how to trust professionals who knew better than we did, who had done this so many times before.

And then, just as you were crawling, I tore my Achilles. And then the dog bit your ear forcing us to the decision we should have made long before: to re-home our dog and simplify our lives.

You turned one. You thrived. You started to walk and talk and you haven’t stopped since. You jump and hop and run. Your babbles have become words, phrases, and tall tales. I have loved hearing about what is going on in that head of yours.

You have been excited about the little brother about to enter the world. You gently tap my belly to say hello, apply little kisses, and imagine baby brother wants to dance and sing and play with you. You have already decided that your Super Sister t-shirt is your favorite and anxiously await Baby Gabe's arrival just like we do.

But in these last days that you are our precious only child, I will breathe in your energy and enthusiasm and hold on to my absolute and boundless love for you, my favorite little girl in the world.

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