It’s so hard to think that she used to be made up of the smallest units. Minutes, hours, days.
Like, when people would ask how old she was and we knew to the hour. “Three days” didn’t seem right; no, she was 72 hours old. Wait, no, 73 hours.
What was the time of birth? we’d be asked. 11:05, we’d answer, because in those days those five minutes were somehow a significant portion of the time she’d spent existing on this earth.
Then she was weeks, and she stayed weeks because “four months” didn’t quite convey the nights, the feedings, the changes, the baths, the leaps, quite as much as “seventeen weeks” did. And even though some simple mental arithmetic was required on the part of the person asking how old she was, we still answered in weeks because splitting her life into months didn’t seem right, not when she changed so much from week to week.
And now all those changes fit into a single unit. One year.
One year, from her arrival, her first trip home, those first nights sleeping on her tired, yet wakeful, parents’ chests, her mum and dad too scared to fall asleep with her perched on them, one cheek smooshed against them. One year, from those early days and nights through to the first grandparental visits, a Halloween costume, Christmas dresses, Christening robes and the beloved tweed jacket with the heart-shaped elbow patches. A year from gurgles and sobs to accidental Mamas and deliberate Mamas and then Dadas and Nanas and now big Mwah!s when she blows kisses to us.
Blowing kisses: something we tried to teach her for months, and which she finally did for the first time on her three hundred and sixty-fifth evening, just before going to bed. One year, from arrival to blowing kisses.
One year, to grow to love her more and more, because as she learns more about the world we learn more about her: She loves birds and big loud trucks (so highway service station parking lots are her favourite place). Mummy’s sneezes make her cry. Pretending to cough makes her laugh. When all other babies are crying because they don’t want to get in the water she’s splashing and giggling and won’t want to get out. If she likes you, she’ll put a finger in your mouth. She has two dances, a bouncy one for vigorous tunes, a swaying one for softer music. All in one year.
She fell asleep in my arms tonight as I was putting her down. I saw the baby I fell in love with, who used to fall asleep in my arms every day, and I cried as I put her in the crib, partly because she’s not the baby she was a year ago, but mostly because I know I’m only going to love her more and more as one year turns to two, turns to three, turns to eleven, turns to eighteen, and the thought of that overwhelmed me.