Five months ago this giggling and drooling baby was a swell in my belly, an extension of my own body. Now I look into her eyes and there is a whole separate person, this tiny soul staring back at me. It's obvious, yet still surreal. I've done this before and knew exactly what to expect, but witnessing a child's first year of life is proving every bit as miraculous the second time around.
Soon she will sit, then eat, crawl and walk... I realize it's all coming, but my brain can't make the leap. I think forward to the summer garden and picture my perfect little peach in my arms, just as she is now. Of course the reality is that she'll be more independent, mobile, and getting into mischief. She will be completely different with every passing month. It's the cliche of parenthood that it goes too fast, but the love I feel for each new change leaves me both with full heart, and heartache.
Possibly because she is likely our last baby, or simply because I have the experience to know that it all ends before there is time for adequate appreciation, I am hopelessly grasping at every smile as though it could vanish. Tomorrow she might wake up transformed, older and different, and while history tells me that I will love every stage more than the last, I want more time with this little drooling mouth.
It's an irrational thought, and I do look forward to watching her grow, to seeing the little girl that will be waiting for me when the leaves drop next fall. I write this journal and take these pictures so that I can remember each crease and roll, and when they melt away, this will have to be enough. But right now, I get to hold this glorious baby, smell the top of her fuzzy head, feed her in the quiet black of night. I love her like crazy, and I'm so very grateful.