At 15:59 a year ago today you came into this world and were placed in my arms. Arms that didn’t quite know what they were good at until they held you. Oh this year. This year that you will have no memory of. This space between 0 and 1 that belongs more to your father and me than it does you. This year that saw you go from an angry little bundle of reflexes and squishy poop to a near toddler who kisses her mother’s tummy to make her laugh and pouts when her father tells her no.
This is the year I discovered all the clichés are true. That your life does change. That your priorities shift. That you’ll love stronger than you ever thought physically possible.
We had a little gathering planned to mark your first birthday. Down at the pub that probably helped provide the libations that resulted in your conception. We invited old friends and new “mummy” friends to have a BBQ in the beer garden. I imagined watching you sitting on a tabletop in your little gingham dress with matching shoes, as we sung you happy birthday, me fighting back tears while you looked at each of our faces and smiled back at us. Then delighting in seeing you devour a piece of homemade birthday cake, covering your face and hair in icing.
Instead you appear to have caught the chicken pox and so the party amongst friends is cancelled. I had the chicken pox on my birthday too, when I turned 5. It wasn’t great. But my mom made the best of it and despite the fact that you won’t remember this, I’m going to try to make the best of it too. We’re not even entirely sure it is Chicken pox, but it is going around, you have some spots and miraculously you are sleeping better. How I wish this new sleeping pattern is just you finally reaching that oh so coveted milestone of sleeping through the night. But from the time you had your first round of vaccinations I know, when you’re sick, you sleep.
So instead we will have pancakes for breakfast, and I will attempt to make you a carrot cake, we will open presents and sing to you, and yes, at some point I will probably cry. In fact here’s a little warning for you - I will be that mom. That mom that cries whenever you sing on stage with your classmates, or receive an award for perfect attendance, or grow another year older. I can't help it. Enjoy my gushing displays of love and keep kleenex in your pocket and we should be fine.
I even cried a little putting you to bed on the night before you turned one. And I’m not entirely sure why. I think part of the reason is it can be hard watching you grow up, wanting to slow time down. But for the most part I am so excited to see what you'll do next that I don't have time to mourn the past. But I think it is also that I wish I could give you more. I know it seems silly to make a big deal about someone turning one when they won’t even remember the party, but you are so amazing Eloise. You have more personality in your little pinky than most people I know and you’re only 12 months old. You deserve so much, you deserve to be celebrated, you deserve elephants and acrobats. I’d give you the world if I could kid.
Nearly every night for the entire first year of your life I have held you in my arms. I have held you when your hot tears have drenched my cheek, held you when your face erupted in laughter, held you when your breath became slow and warm against my neck. And I will continue to hold you in my arms, carry your weight, carry your heart against my heart, your dreams nestled safely just below mine until your feet reach the ground and you can turn and walk away from me.
Happy Birthday my little Eloise.
I love you. Plus que jamais. Je t’aime