Child, you are ONE today! One! Admittedly I am writing this the night before, because the truth of the sad matter is that I am working on your actual birthday. My heart is completely broken at this fact. You are sleeping soundly at your Yaya's, where I cherished putting you to sleep. I sobbed a long while at your crib while I thought about what I was doing at that moment 365 days ago.
I sobbed as I thought about your birth at 6:33 am on August 25, 2007 and how I wouldn't be with you at 6:33 am on August 25, 2008. I'm sobbing even as I type this. Because when I think back to that first day with you a year ago, how I so cherished those first moments with you, how we waited for 3 PM visiting hour so that you could meet your brother, how you and I spent that first night alone in the hospital with no idea of what was to come, well it's tear-inducing.
What joy you've brought me in this year. Oh I have grumbled about how hard it is. But all of it is erased with a single beam of your incredible smile. You are a happy, independent and strong-willed child, but it's your incredible ability to bring people inside your joy that I most treasure.
I wish I could be a different kind of mother for you and your brother. I wish I didn't need to work. But I want you and Nate to know that I enjoy my job immensely. The city is an expensive place to live, and we could certainly use the extra income, but the real reason I work is because it fulfills me. I think that's important to say, for you as a future woman to know. When Mommy is home everyday she's not the best Mommy she can be. She's just not. I don't know why this is. I wish I could be more like Yaya was for Tante and I -- selfless, forever putting the kids first -- but I can't.
I think I have a pretty good situation -- an almost part-time, full-time job with the flexibility to be there for you when I need to, with an extra day off than most working moms. On my days off I am immersed in all things Nate and Loogoo, relishing your burgeoning relationship and occasional rivalry. But I feel guilty every day, feel like I'm causing you future harm by not being there for you 24-7, sending you away, albeit to a home full of people who are in love with you. I don't know that I'll ever get over this guilt, but it's a necessary job hazard I guess.
You might want to do the opposite of me when the time comes. That's kind of how it goes. You'll want to be anything, anyone but me. I know it's coming, I'm bracing myself because I know that it's natural and part of the journey to your becoming a woman. I look forward to (and also dread somewhat) you challenging me and trying to take paths I didn't. But I can't even think about you being that big right now because it just triggers the flow of tears.
But baby girl, you are ONE. ONE! You graduated Newborn and Infancy and now you're leaving the last stages of babydom behind as you thrust left after right in an attempt to reach Toddlerhood. You writhe as I hold you, try to smother you with kisses. You want to be off running after your brother. But our special time is when you're nursing, which amazingly you still are. Sometimes I don't get to see you for a couple of days while you're at Yaya's, a situation I'm desperately trying to change, but you still come back to me. Thank God my milk supply isn't affected and that you're not confused by these changes. I was so eager to wean your brother at this stage, but you don't need me in the same way he did, he still does, so I savour our quiet moments together and would be happy to nurse you until your next birthday.
I love you Lucine. I can't tell you enough. I really do. It surprises me, because I never thought anyone could compare to the love I have for your bro. But I celebrate your feisty nature, your determined spirit, your easy-going contentedness. My only hope for you is that the world does not quash all that is good about you. And that you can find some way to understand why I made the choices I did and still find it in your heart to love me.
Happy Birthday my sweet princess.