Today is my baby’s birthday.
My baby’s. Birthday.
I’m writing this in a cafe and there’s an 18-month-old chatting with her daddy and I want my Ali. I want to hold her to me. But if she were here, she’d want to be crawling everywhere and exploring. My girl is curious, active and brave. She explores things fearlessly, checking in from time to time to make sure mommy is still there, or to get a quick hug before she toddles off in a new direction.
I love her energy, and it is exhausting.
The energy of my love for her is exhilarating and exhausting, all at once.
I am spent. I need to take more care these days to fill myself up, restore myself, so there’s enough of me left to give. My physical strength has quadrupled in the last year. My stamina is trying to catch up.
She is lovely. “Mama,” she says, and I swoon. This morning I made her scrambled eggs with kale and feta and she shoved them in her mouth with so much gusto, getting them all over herself, rubbing a little egg in her hair for good measure. Tonight she’ll have her first birthday cake, a sugar-free apple cake that her daddy made for her. We’ll sing to her, again — this morning, standing in the kitchen, we sang to her, and then we sang again, and we were overcome with memories. A year ago, we were in the hospital…
A year ago, I birthed a human. Jordan and I made a human being, and I pushed her out into the world, and now she is standing and talking and we are falling ever more deeply in love. I need to repeat these facts — “I gave birth” — because twelve months later they are still profound. I may never take it for granted that I did this – that we did this – that my body did this.
I love you, Alison. Happy birthday, little girl.
Read my book, Feeling My Way, about integrating motherhood into my identity.