A tiny baby enters the world, enters a family, and alters it forever, filling the space that was awaiting them. Baby grows from teeny feedings of milk every couple of hours, exhausting her parents, from itty-bitty fingers and toes, from eyes that mostly stay closed, to smiles and coos. Her thighs and belly thicken into soft, rounded plump. She starts to reach out for those she loves, to remember, to prefer. She sits up and giggles, sprouts teeth, eats food and expresses tastes. She puts one knee in front of the other and moves at will. Then she puts one foot in front of the other and balances her way across the floor, and into your arms.
Parents, exhausted and euphoric, welcomed her with love one year ago. Twelve months of busyness, happiness – parenthood – slipped past. Now you’re gazing down at your 1-year old, asleep in her crib, and marveling at how much of that small mattress her sleeper-ed little body now takes up. Whenever did she get so long? Wherever did my time with my sweet infant fly away to?
Children turn-up the dial for life-pace.
Parents are more often brought to reflection, to measuring the passage of time by the lengthening of children’s bodies and the expansion of their vocabularies, to remember and reminisce because so much changes so quickly. Because so much happens in a day, in a month, in a year. Because life is full and blooming with significance.
So I will look down at my 1 year old, reflecting sentimentally on her fleetingly fast development, and I will remember to cherish today. When we’re listening, our children remind us of the precious gift that is today.
Happy First Birthday to my daughter. And thank you to her for coming to fill the space in our lives and hearts, for bringing us immeasurable joy and pervasive gratitude, for twirling us into a stupor over the passage of time and planting us right in front of appreciation for the present.