July 31, 2011

A Letter to Millie, on Her First Birthday


One year ago, I met you.

A tiny hand with long, slender fingers grasped at mine. I'm sure the doctor announced something as he held you up, but you and I had already locked eyes and began our own conversation.

It seems like yesterday, really. It was a couple weeks before Christmas. I sat in the skating rink while most of my family circled the ice. I looked out at Sky, then back down at my stomach, imagining what it would look like in the months ahead. I went through the entire baby name book, starting with girl names at the front and working my way through to the boy section. "Amelia," I said out loud, testing it on my mother. She smiled, said she liked it. I said it again, pondering.  My breath shimmered a little in the icy air. "I could call her Millie." I put a small heart next to the name to remember it was a favorite, and turned the page.

Even though the memories are long lost for you, I still keep them; the way your tiny heels felt as they danced in my belly. The nights I felt the mattress move from the hiccups of a baby I hadn't yet held. The month when the pregnancy journal stopped asking about morning sickness, and started asking how often I felt contractions. The time when I walked into the room that would be your nursery, and starred at the little swing that sat on the floor. I looked at it and cried, so worried that I wouldn't be good enough for someone so perfect as you. I knew, already, that you were.

At the hottest time of the year, the very peak of summertime, you entered this world. Except for the sunshine and the colorful hot air balloons flying past the windows of my hospital room, I wouldn't have known. I was so focused on the tiny, pink baby girl that the nurses would bring in on a little, rolling cart with a bassinet on top. "She's hungry," they'd say. "She needs her mama." And somehow, mama was me. I had given you a name, but you gave me a new one, and with it, a new heart.

I have taken more pictures of you than even I knew I would. There are quite literally thousands of photographs of your sweet face, your round cheeks, and your astounding blue eyes. I will not remember this particular day, or what we did together, or what face you made, but I will have a photo of it. Something that may seem inconsequential to anyone else is a bit of rich history between you and I. I don't dare forget it.

This is just the beginning. You'll grow up more quickly than even I can imagine, both breaking my heart and making me proud at the same time. Any time now, you'll say your first words, take your first steps, and leave most traces of infancy far behind as you run faster towards adulthood. Ah, but Millie, no matter what great things you accomplish, and no matter where your beautiful life takes you, I will always remember this beginning. I will always remember the befores.

You were like the destiny I never knew I was destined for, but recognized immediately as my own. And I promise to be with you every step of the way as you get closer to your own purpose in life. Maybe you'll be a mother like me. Maybe you'll have a world-changing career, or maybe your life will be a quiet spark on this big earth. Both are noble, and I know you are capable of everything good.

But one purpose, your first one, was to be my daughter. For that, I am so grateful.

Happy first birthday, Amelia. Mama loves you.

9 kind comments from you:

Katie said...

What a truly beautiful letter and what a gift for Amelia to be able to read it one day. She will cherish it.

Enjoy this day and give Millie lots of Happy Birthday hugs from all of us! I can't wait to see pictures of the day and her cakes!

The New "Normal" said...

Beautifully written. Happy Birthday to your sweet little girl!

Laura @ My Thoughts-Uninterrupted said...

This is the sweetest letter. I'm in tears, really. Happy Birthday to Millie! She is one lucky girl to have such a loving momma!

Deanna said...

Truly an elegant portrayal of new motherhood. Well said. The first year of my daughter's life included surgeries, hospital stays and oh so much drama. I envy you and Millie your beautiful year of pure mother/daughter love without such distractions as a nasal cannula, countless medications and therapies. And even though our motherhood journies are far different, we both are so blessed to carry that title "mom"- your letter to Millie beautifully depicted that.

Happy birthday, Millie!

beka said...

soooooo precious.
<3
she's going to love reading this someday, let me tell you!

Skinnie Piggie said...

You are so good with your words! She will love reading this when she is older and can fully understand.

Carmen said...

That is a gorgeous letter to your daughter. Just think years from now you can show this to her and she can read it herself :)

charla beth said...

this letter is incredible, erika--everything about it. your love for millie just pours out onto the page.

what an amazing mama you are.

p.s. that song you picked for the video is perfect. and that first picture of you and millie laying down, both smiling at the camera? words can't even describe. <3

Alana said...

This is so beautiful! It's obvious that you're a wonderful mother.

Happy birthday Millie! :)

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