To My Little Girl On the Occasion of Her First Birthday

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the first photo!

Today is the anniversary of when I went into labor with you. Last year I stared up at the moon and asked you to make your appearance. As I walked inside, my water broke. On the day you were born I sat on stairs outside of the hospital with a friend who had come to visit; I had left you with my mom inside and for the first time since I had discovered I was pregnant, I was alone. Valparaiso smoldered around us – the fire that had started the day prior was the largest in the city’s history and I was a new mother, heavy with the realization that I would never really be alone again.

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Dear daughter, whose name literally means light, have illuminated every facet of my life. In birthing you I was made a woman I didn’t know I was capable of being and in becoming your mother I have found a new voice. You, my smart, funny girl, have stolen my heart completely – blown my life wide open, spilling the contents 5,000 miles in your wake.

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You ground me in the present and have made my sensitive heart grow to love in ways I never knew were possible. You, Lucia Amada, my love and light, with your deliberate personality and sly smile, have brought with you both the levity of pure joy and the weight of responsibility. How can I ever thank you?

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I stare down at you, lingering here in these days between babyhood and toddler-dom, watching your independence grow a little more with each new step you take away from me. At night I watch you, your milk-sweetened lips curled into a smile, and think about how we’ve grown together.

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You love to run outside, squeal happily at the sight of dogs and steal stranger’s attention wherever we go. You still prefer to sleep by my side (despite my protests, I really don’t mind) and have yet to master many words, instead babbling in a language only you seem to understand. I hope you grow to be compassionate, brave and independent and that I can show you how beautiful the world can be.

Love,

Mama

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