Last year on the morning of your birthday I wrote you a letter while you lay sleeping beside me. You were so much fun when you were awake, but I loved it when you slept. I often would lay down next to you and breathe you in, watching your eyelids flutter as you dreamed your sweet baby dreams. The morning of your first birthday, I whispered in your ear while you slept. I told you how much I loved you, and how lucky I felt to be your mom.
I love you even more today, and I still feel so lucky to be your mommy. I just wish I could whisper it right into your ear.
November 11th is a day I’ve been dreading for a while. I love birthdays so much, but the idea of yours arriving without you here has been really hard for me to think about. Sometimes I let my mind drift to all the things we could have done today. Lately, everywhere I look I see two year old girls holding their mommies’ hands. I try to imagine your little hand in mine as we walked (ran) down the path to a great adventure.
When I was a kid I used to think I’d feel so old and mature by the time I was a mom. That I’d have it all figured out. But the secret that no one tells you is that grown ups don’t really have it figured out, and that we still feel like kids in a lot of ways. When I found out I was pregnant with you, I was elated and totally freaked out. I was still a baby, and now I was going to have one! But then you came, and even though I still felt tiny and immature in so many ways, you made me feel so important. You trusted me and you needed me and I never doubted myself. I trusted you and needed you, too. I still do. I need you so much, baby.
It’s impossible to think about more November 11ths passing without you growing older next to me. It’s incomprehensible to think that I will never breathe you in again. The opportunities you were robbed of constantly smack me in the stomach and leave me doubled over. It is so unfair that you are missing out. It is so unfair that you aren’t here.
As your sister grows inside me, I wish so badly we could have a do-over. Because of the terrible gestation you had to endure, your little sister has benefited. She is healthy and strong, and it kills me that you couldn’t have that opportunity. I wish things were different. So, so different.
On your first birthday I told you you were my dream come true, and that is still the case. You are the best little kid a parent could ask for.
If you were sleeping next to me right now, I would whisper one other thing in your ear, something I whispered to you every night: “You are all I ever need.” It’s something I would say to remind myself that despite life’s curve balls, I was the luckiest person because I had you. And, even though I don’t have you in my arms anymore, I have you in my heart. It’s not how I imagined our lives, but I still know how lucky I am to have you there.
Happy birthday Madeline. I will celebrate you every day for the rest of my life.