How has a year passed?

Alice is turning one year old.

When I think about her birthday coming up, I ask myself how this happened. How is she one? How has that much time passed? Well let me tell you how.


We've clocked thousands of hours of feeding her. One of the most daunting things I remember feeling after she was born was that she needed to be fed everyday, several times a day for the rest of her life. And we were responsible for that. It felt so overwhelming for so many months, and on some days it still does.

We've put her to sleep and woken her up hundreds of times. After she was born, every time she fell asleep I was itching to get things done, do something I had wanted to do for a few days, or binge watch several episodes of The Office. I've calmed down a little since then, I feel much calmer when she sleeps and am much happier playing with her while she's awake.

We've been on countless walks in the sunshine, the rain and the snow. And now she wants to get out of the stroller and walk around on her own two feet.

We watched her legs and all four of her cheeks get chunky and slightly less chunky again. Tyler has made her laugh the hardest and realest too many times to count. We've snuggled and read books and knocked over blocks and sang songs.


I think the reason that we feel nostalgic for our babies in their baby stages is because it is the most rapid change most of us have experienced in a person. So many little phases have come and gone so quickly that sometimes we don't have time to mark them in our memory or write them down or take a photo to look at later. It feels similar to when you're out walking and suddenly a bike whizzes past you going the opposite direction. It happened so quickly that you turn your head to be sure of what it was.


Old people, like us, we stay the same for so long that it's easy not to see change and growth. But children change and grow so quickly that it feels jarring at times.

Sometimes I do wish she'd make that funny blah-blah-blah noise she made for a few weeks, again, just so I could hear it one more time. Or I wish she'd let me hold her till she falls asleep like she used to.


       


But then she does something like grab her stuffed dog and hug him and sway side to side and I think, "Nah, I don't want to go back, this is better." I'm guessing that's how the rest of her life will be. I know all you vet-moms just snort laughed thinking, "you'll want to go back when she's three or when she's 14!" And maybe you're right. But there's probably something at those ages that will still make me think, even if for a second, "this is better."

Every few days since Alice was born, in a quiet moment, I ask Tyler, "Do you think Alice likes her life?" He always glances at her for half a second, across the room or in the backseat or sitting in the grass eating dirt and leaves, and then he says, "Yeah, I think she does."

Happy Birthday to our darling Bean.