Dearest Alexandra August,
Happy half-birthday, my girl! I can’t believe we’re already halfway to your one-year birthday. Today was a big one for you: first, we gave you ‘real’ food for the first time! You sure made some funny faces upon tasting that spinach puree and well, we could tell it wasn’t your favorite. At one point, as Daddy was walking away from your highchair & back up the stairs, you gave him this look of longing, like: ‘take me with you — this green goop is yucky!’ But, there were no tears and you kept trying out your new food with each spoonful given. Mother’s milk is still your preferred food and to my surprise, our breastfeeding is still going strong! Initially, I gave myself permission to stop by this milestone — after half a year of feeding you in this way every two hours, my new goal is to continue for a full year. However long we make it, I’m very proud to have gotten this far in providing for your nutritional needs in this special way.
Next, we took you to church. Mama and Dada are in the process of finding a church home and are visiting places of worship near our new home. Besides looking for a place to worship, learn & grow in Christ myself, I strongly desire for you grow up within a community of brothers & sisters in Christ. Even though we struggle to reconcile our somewhat liberal social views with select religious-right stances, we are guided to find a church home for reasons more important than politics: we know you will be blessed in life by the influence of Christian fellowship. Aside from our personal religious preferences (style of the preaching, type of songs, what particular Protestant-based denomination a church is, etc.), we find ourselves gravitating to whatever place we feel that’s best for YOU. Mama prays for you everyday and hopes that one day you will reach the age of understanding and desire to follow Jesus!
So, after your interesting baby food brunch, a visit to the church nursery, and being good for us during a little lunch out, you are currently napping peacefully. You take one nap a day, usually about two (sometimes 3!) hours long. You sleep through the night and been doing so since you were about 6 weeks old. ~Mama is soooooo incredibly thankful for that!!! I wasn’t handling sleep deprivation well and feel so lucky that you began sleeping for longer stretches at such a young stage. Nowadays, you go to bed at 8:30 p.m. and wake on your own each morning at 7:30.
Physically, you’ve mastered rolling over and are now yearning to crawl…we’ll even catch you in full-on plank position, trying to figure out how to move those little chubby knees up under your belly. You can sort-of sit up…you definitely can sit upright in my lap but unassisted, you usually topple over after a minute. I recognize your rapid growth when I examine how big your little hands are getting or when I realize you’re ready for size 3 diapers. We’re so proud of how you’re thriving but I’m crying right now just thinking about how fast you are changing. Dada loves to watch your eyes wander inquisitively around a room. Mama loves when our eyes meet and you immediately respond with a sly smile. In this action, you remind me to snap out of any kind of cranky or anxious mood I might be in…to smile and choose positivity in each and every moment.
In fact, your influence on my life has been nothing short of monumental. It has even altered my concept of time. The saying about motherhood is so true: ‘The days are long but the years are short.’ As a stay-at-home-mom, it’s like I have all of the time but none of the time (if that makes any sense). I’m fortunate to get to experience baby swim school, music class, and more with you but on the other hand, I now grapple with what feels like zero personal time. I’ve given up even part-time professional pursuits, put my charitable committees on the back burner, my goodness…I even struggle to fit in a shower for the day. However, despite sometimes wondering where a shred of my old life is, I thank God literally every day for my new life as your mother. (You know you were an answer to three years of fervent prayer for a child, right?) When I feel overwhelmed, I remember what I hear time & again from random people who see us out & about: “it goes by so fast — in the blink of an eye, she’ll be 18.”
Yes, I hate that I sometimes pine for the next step –maybe I’ll be changing a diaper and wish for the day you’re potty trained or I’ll be carrying you up the stairs for the 20th time and hope for when you can climb up them yourself– so I’m training my mind to focus on the ‘now.’ Admittedly, it’s been quite an exercise in strength & patience, but since having you I’ve never appreciated the present moment more. I witness in awe how my journey here on Earth will forevermore be navigated by your gravitational pull. You truly are the light of my life.
I love you,