Dear Meredith,

You’ve gone from being “Merdiff” to Yue-yue to Yueie to Noonie and Deet-deet. I have no idea where your sister comes up with these nicknames…but they fit. Somehow, the radiance of your smile, lighting up the family so easily, is captured in your sister screeching “Nooooonieeeeee” as she runs into your room in the morning. I suspect you two know more about these things than I do.

I’m a big fan of siblings – your father has five of them and I have four – but I had no idea how much FUN you would bring to our role as parents (or, really, how much work!). But then, I’m not the sort of person who would have a clue…babies aren’t really something I had every planned on, and the thought of babies still sends a little shiver down my spine (though I’m much more amenable to them, having held my own).

You’re still contained by my arms, and I’m still your preferred comfort in times of pain. You’re not walking…yet. It won’t be long though – you’re starting to let go and stand there, looking up at me with that smile full of teeth.

It’s going fast, my little blonde baby, but not too fast…if you grew slower, I fear my patience wouldn’t take it. I’m trying to savor it, cherish it, capture it. I’m trying to remember the weight of your head nestled on my shoulder as it’s happening now, so that someday, when you run ahead of me, trusting me to keep up, I can recall it.

A year ago, I was holding you for the first time, amazed again at how much God loves me. I gazed down at you, and the pain of delivery, the discomfort of pregnancy, the inconveniences that are an inevitable part of motherhood – it was all as nothing. All that mattered was the small fingers wrapped around me, the bundled life God entrusted to me.

You are so very different from your sister, and yet…and yet you are so very similar. I watch the two of you and it’s possible to let go of so much of the small petty parts of who I am. I listen to you squeal in delight or shriek because of an infraction, and I wonder how wide I can smile in the coming years, watching you; I wonder how big the pool of tears will be, how deep my heart will grow.

It’s been a wonderful year, my little one. I’ve looked back over the year in pictures, and I’ve been reminded of how much I love your father. I have one picture where he’s on the couch, holding you, with Babby snuggled up, and he’s gazing down. The camera captured his look perfectly – it’s the look he gives you daily, on returning from work or seeing you first thing in the morning or, really, at any point when you call out to him.

I love you, my sweet baby, even though you’re not really a baby anymore.

With love,
Your mother