2013.

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Dear Bee,

What a year, what a year.

It’s been quite the 12 months for you, my darling.

With so many new beginnings, it’s been magnificently momentous, month after month.

You have traveled all around the world and back again this year.  It’s a big place, Earth – you’ve been given such a wonderful preview of what’s to come throughout your time here.  And, even though I’m sure there will be many moments when I’m going to fight against it, I want you to see and experience as much of it as you possibly can….

But you’ve already touched so many corners in your little life so far!  So many for such a wee person, it’s hard to believe sometimes. Vancouver to Hawaii to Scotland and England, and all the way to glamorous Rochester, New York, to boot!  You’re a pro on an airplane and quite content in a car.  For the most part.  You are, after all, still little, and expected to have the occasional meltdown from time to time.

It’s funny, I used to be that person on the plane or the train or whatever the transportation happened to be, that worried about sitting near “that baby”: the one that cried or kicked or chatted endlessly to the point of “get me OUT of here!”  Now, I am the Mama that holds “that baby,” shushing her when she cries, distracting her so she doesn’t kick, and chattering back as she chats at me because, really, isn’t it just the most glorious sound in the whole wide world?

And oh, how you CHAT!  You have hit every milestone at just the right moment, sometimes a bit before, but 2013 was most definitely the year that brought a new level of symphonic chatter to our happy little home.  No one who knows me is surprised by this, not especially me – I feel I was bound from my own birth to be bestowed of a baby who boasted the gift of speech.

It’s the most natural thing, talking with you.  Even back when you had no idea what I was saying, you engaged right from the start.  Our conversations with each other, as we huddled together in our blissful cocoon, made no sense… but all the sense in the world.

Your first word, “hi!”, came so early even the doctor was impressed, then baffled when I told him that you also say, “bye”, and seem to know when to use it properly in context.  Perhaps I was getting a little ahead of myself, perhaps at 8 months old that wasn’t possible… but it sure felt like it was, when you would look at your Dad and whisper, “bye bye,” as he snuck out of your room before bed, leaving us alone in the sacred, soft stillness to snuggle and nurse and be in love.

And now, you have so many words.  SO MANY.  And sentences!  And jokes!  And songs!  Your first song, the first one you sang along to (which only happened recently), where we can actually hear the words coming from your mouth, is “Bye Bye Baby” by the Bay City Rollers.  Chalk it up to my watching Love Actually all season, I suppose.  Hearing you sing, “bye bye baby bye baby...”  Can my heart melt any more?

Here is just a sample of what you say:

  • Bee (but your real name… you also do say ‘bee’, though!)! Mommy! Daddy! Papa! Nanny! Granddad! Grannie! Baby!
  • Elmo!  Ernie!  Big Bird!  Santa!
  • Up!  Down!
  • Hello!  Hi!  Bye!
  • All done!  More!   Please!  Thank you!  Good girl!
  • Yellow!  Green!  Blue!
  • Let’s go!  Home!  Beep!
  • Open!  Close!  Up!  Down!
  • Apple!  Banana!  Kiwi!  Blueberry!  Broccoli!  Cheese!  Milk!  Water!  Cookie!  Pasta!  Chicken!
  • Bath time!  Bed time!  Nap time!
  • Book!  Ball!  Toy!
  • Nose!  Ear!  Foot!  Hair!  [belly]Button!
  • and for reasons no one can explain: MONEY!

Everything with an exclamation mark because, why not?!  Saying things is FUN!

But before the words, I learned quickly how to read your squeaks and screeches, your coos and cries, of which there were many (particularly the cries, my colicky dear).  And you, in turn, seemed to figure out what I was going to do next.  Your eyes trailed me knowingly, your protests starting just before the battle – whether it was diaper changing or stroller strapping or sock administering… sometimes I felt you were one step ahead of me, always at the ready to roll or plank or yank that damn sock right off your teeny foot.

This development, this expansion of your mind and body continues from minute to minute – it picked up momentum as you shook off the colic around month 5.  After that, it was like watching a tree growing at rapid speed: the trunk getting taller, the bark hardening, the branches sprouting one by one by one.  Then the leaves, bursting and blossoming at a breakneck pace until it seemed like there wasn’t room for any more… yet, they continue to appear.  Continue to multiply.  Every second of every minute of every day, you are changing.  Growing.  Learning.  And to watch it all unfold so beautifully, to be a small part of the Creation of You is – and I’ve said it before – such an honour, Bee.  I am so lucky….

Your laughter.  Your smiles.  Your giggles and inflections and burbles let us know you’re totally in on the joke.  The way you bounce up and down and dance and screech and run and throw and colour and clunk on the piano, you make us feel like we’re part of your clique.  We’re in your close circle of friends… the ones that matter the most….

***********

I’m sitting here, at 11:30pm on December 31st, trying to write out and materialize everything that you’ve done over the last 365 days, Bee.  I’m feeling the pressure of a deadline that does not exist, but also, does.  Very much, so.  I had hoped to keep track of everything throughout the year, to keep a running tally of your adventures and document them in one, grand post come New Years Eve.

I wanted to let the world know how proud I am of you, and your Daddy and your family, too.

Because… yes.  This year was amazing.  Incredible.  The best, to say the least.

But it was also the hardest.  And the scariest.  And the most challenging ever in my entire life, and I have had some tough ones, let me tell you (another time).

Also, nearly the saddest.  We lost our Granny and our lovely Aunt Grace.  Yet, before the losses came the triumphant birth of your wonderfully adorable cousin….

Always remembering our beloved C.

2013 was your first, full year.  Your first of many.  And shit, girl.  Just ask me, and I will give you a full, rolling recap of every single tiny little minute thing you did.  From the day you took your first bite of solid food (February 8, 2013), to when you first dipped your toes in sand (July 1, 2013), to when you took your first, actual steps on your own (October 13, 2013).

You’re going to have all the years, and all the experiences to tell when you’re a Mama.  I hope that when that day comes, when you decide to look back and reflect on your child’s first year of life, that you can look back on this post and realize that… we do it for love, don’t we.

Everything we do, we do for love.

P.S. We’ve been there.

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