fiona turns one
we spend so much time counting weeks and months on the way to a year. i have always been one to analyze the passage of time, to look back wistfully at important periods, to make everything sentimental. so of course i've been nostalgic and emotional with this upcoming milestone: fiona is one. year. old!
this year has been one of the best, hardest, and most meaningful of my life. people say the first year flies, but that wasn't the case for the first six months. it was slow and beautiful and, honestly, easier than we expected. fiona loved sleep from the beginning, breastfeeding came naturally, and we all settled into our routine as a family. on my maternity leave, fiona and i walked all over chicago. to the lake, to the park, to our favorite lunch spots. she was easy going and comfortable, and it made me comfortable. i lost myself in her and in motherhood, and although there have been hundreds of anxious moments and countless hours of self doubt, i've been more confident being fiona's mother than i ever thought i would be.
then the second half of the year began, and with it came new challenges and even bigger changes. the last half of fiona's first year happened in the blink of an eye. she started moving right before we left chicago, appropriately. maybe she was showing us she was ready for what was next. once we got to cleveland, she inch-wormed and scooted, then crawled and stood. now, she's right at the brink of standing alone and maybe soon after that she'll walk, and it feels so symbolic that it is happening now, as we look forward into her second year. two weeks in to her second experience with daycare, she's becoming even more independent, even as she hates to say goodbye to us. we are going through yet another new phase together and i know she is teaching me as much as i am teaching her.
my heart is somewhere between breaking and exploding as i look back on her earliest days as a sleepy, six-pound angel, all yawns and stretches and sighs. but i love how she keeps getting better. she keeps showing more of herself, with her breathy laughs and slow smiles. she's never been one to snuggle for more than a moment, but she recently mastered the art of hugging. with her tiny arms tight around my neck, i squeeze her back and breathe her in and am overwhelmed by such a tiny and perfect gesture. she takes everything in, observing from afar before deciding whether to dive in. she seems to fear missing anything, and i get that. every time we are apart i am torn in two, embracing my independence while wishing i could keep her with me every moment. actively reminding myself to let her be, and let myself be.
she has my eyes and her dad's chin, but she is one of a kind. just a few days shy of one year, she said what i would call her first "real" word, and it was [so so appropriately] "whoa!" whoa indeed, baby girl. here's to one year.