Almost 1

Dear Ariel,

In two day’s time, you will be graduating from infanthood to toddlerhood. Pardon me as I borrow from the mother of all cliches: how time flies! Yesterday, I tried to hug you while lounging on the couch, but it was impossible as you kicked and squirmed your way out of my grip. It was not too long ago when you were not able to roll, much less stand and walk, and you would spend long afternoons cuddled in my arms. Those were the days when your father and I would range from cooing over your every smile and laughter, to passing you back and forth like a football while we complained about our aching arms and backs when you couldn’t sleep at two in the morning (fun times!). I’m happy to announce that even though you still have the occasional case of insomnia, you have settled into a two-naps-and-10.30pm-bedtime routine, which is more than what we can ask for. No, actually, we also ask that you sleep though the night without any feeds, but hey, baby steps, baby steps.

Even though one year doesn’t sound very long, in those months, we’ve watched you flourish so much. Your ever growing curiosity about the world (the walk from the parking lot to the grocery store would have taken us an hour if we didn’t carry you), your increasing ability to exercise your demands choices (why don’t you like avocado anymore?!), your smattering of new words (the latest one being DAY-DI! Close enough. Your father said he’ll take whatever he can get) were all milestones that shaped your character and personality, making you so unique and precious to us. You were an early walker, taking your first step at 9 months and then running at 11, always eager to explore the next blade of grass or overturn a stone. But even as you squeal and race off, you never fail to cast a backward glance at us, to make sure we are within view, that we are behind you.

Just the other day, we were in the kitchen where I was trying to feed you while you were trying your hardest to escape. After 20 minutes of tug-of-war, I released you from your highchair and you took off, but not before turning around, giving me a gentle wave, and then trooping to the living room. In that moment, I thought about how this was the start of the many goodbyes you will wave to me. Outside the classroom on your first day of school. At the airport when you embark on your first trip with your friends. At the front door of our house the day you decide to move out. And the thought made me a little weepy (on the inside) because I know that in twenty years’ time (hopefully not sooner!), my baby girl will be all grown up, and you will inevitably take off to where life takes you. But even as you run to seek and embrace your future, my hope is that you will always remember that standing behind you are your father and I, always looking on, always ready to open our arms whenever you need to run back to us.

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Having a go at your walker at 9 months.

As you turn one year old, our prayer is that you will always be happy and healthy, and may Jesus pour forth His abundant grace and favor into your life.

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. -Psalm 16:5 (NLT)

Love,
Mama