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Looking ahead

A letter to my sweet baby girl. Little lady, today is January 1. An entire year stretches before us, and I can’t help but stare down the road at the many, many things to come. I call them milestones, but I recognize them for what they are—the baby steps you take that lead you away...

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A letter to my sweet baby girl.
Little lady, today is January 1. An entire year stretches before us, and I can’t help but stare down the road at the many, many things to come. I call them milestones, but I recognize them for what they are—the baby steps you take that lead you away from me.
You will master rolling over—in both directions, you clever girl!—and then sitting up without needing my help. I’ll be there to scoop you up and cuddle you close when you topple over, but you’ll get steadier and steadier as the days pass.
You will become mobile well before I’m ready. Will you army crawl like your biggest brother or master the booty shuffle perfected by your sister? Maybe you’ll bear crawl like your big brother and surprise us all with your speed.
You will be standing before we know it, staring up at us in surprise and delight, plump little fingers holding you up under your very own power.
You’ll take your first wobbly steps, so brave and determined. You’ll stagger toward me, launching away from the couch or the safety of your daddy’s arms, and when you get to me, I’ll hold you tight and tell you how amazing you are even as I marvel at how much you’ve grown.
You’ll wiggle to get down, eager to explore the world under your own steam before careening back to me. You’ll spend more and more time away from me because the world is full of so many interesting things. You’ll get into it all, and I’ll survey the wreckage, reminding myself that this is how little ones learn best.
You will say your first words, and your sweet little voice will take my breath away. I’ll try to memorize that moment, imprint it on my heart so it will stay with me forever.
You will celebrate your first birthday, and on that morning, I will wake up and remember the day, 12 months earlier, I met you for the first time. I will become teary at how fast time has gone, at how many memories have already become hazy and soft around the edges. And then you will eat your very first slice of birthday cake, and I’ll snap photo after photo of your frosting-smeared face.
I will mark these milestones and all the others in the coming year—first teeth and finger foods and sippy cups. I will be proud and amazed and impressed by each of them, happy and sad and a little wistful, all at the same time. But tonight, on this New Year’s Day, I’m going to savor you just as you are, my 5-months-and-change armful of sweet baby girl.

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