Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Year Of Claire

I have too many photos, too many memories, favorite moments, giggles, worries, tears and late nights that I haven't captured on the blog this year. To be honest, it was just all too overwhelming.

Whether you understand our unique situation or have been in an even more anxiety-ridden spot, there's no preparation for becoming a parents - especially a mother. And there's an even smaller amount to do so when you spend half of your pregnancy too sick to function and the other half praying that your baby survives another week.

We were lucky, considering our circumstances; Claire was a true, tiny miracle. But we're even luckier to have gotten a baby that parents-to-be can only dream of having. From her innate sweetness and charm, to her natural beauty, to her giggles and curiosity, I truly could not have dreamt of a more perfect child.

And now she's one. It's New Year's Eve and while everyone else is out welcoming in a new year, making resolutions, wish lists and attending sparkling parties filled with champagne, awkward kisses and dreams, I'm going to cuddle up to my baby and celebrate her life and the moments that I can't wait to share with her.

This past fall, I wrote her a letter, seen first in Her Umbrella's premiere issue (pg. 24-25). And every word will continue to ring true for the rest of her life. I'm happy that she'll be able to have these words live here, while also have a book of tangible pieces I've been working on since she was 4 months old. She'll open her first letter when she's 16 and continue to open another with each milestone of her adult life. And if there comes a day when I'm not there with her, she'll still have the voice of her mom locked up in these little chatty-notes.

Happy Birthday to my baby girl. Willow, your puppy dog, gave you your very first belly laugh. Daddy taught you how to wake us up with raspberries. Mommy taught you so say "Hi." You changed the hearts of our friends when it comes to a love of babies. You traveled alongside Mickey Mouse on a pirate-filled adventure, sipping so many different soups, breaking your first tooth and spreading your wings outside of your home country at just 8 months old - and you did it with a consciousness of the special moments that were happening around you.

You love chicken noodle soup, Hershey chocolate kisses and, when in the mood, a swig of apple cider or lemonade. You greet every cuddly toy with a kiss and wave with delight to those that pass by in stores. You are friendly, yet shy when strangers come too close. You get excited when Daddy walks in the door but need your mommy when it's bedtime. Sofia, your cousin, you've loved her since you met her - it's obvious in your need for giving her hugs and kisses.

You love shopping in already-filled carts at the grocery store, and of course, Target too. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is your jam. You could watch it all day if I let you. Although, you're quite fond of musical performances and dance right along with them. Then, at 11 months old, that "bounce bounce" dancing you do, well, you added singing to the entire routine. Grandmommy can't get enough hugs and kisses, she never wants to say goodbye.

Wubby is your best mate. Car seats aren't something you're fond of - I don't blame you - neither are strollers. Bath time may be your favorite part of the day. When you were just a wee one, saying "Good Morning," made you giggle. You started saying "kisses" in December. You have your own Instagram following and a resume of companies that have used your photos - you also have a few of your own hashtags, thanks to your cool mom for journaling your adventures and wardrobe online.

You don't love the sun but you get a good kick out of the wind. Sparkling lights are interesting to you, as well have fans, gears and toys that spin. Yellow is your favorite color. And you're my favorite person. Grandpop gets sad when he doesn't get a daily photo of you in his inbox. Because you make everyone's day better.

You stole everyone's hearts this year and you changed my life forever. Let's celebrate baby Claire!

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