Twelve months

June 13, 2015

Dear Eva,

One year ago, I met you for the first time. You were so tiny, laying on my chest — this strong, beautiful, perfect little person. Over the last 12 months, we watched as all the parts of you unfolded like a flower: your features, your body, your personality, your voice. I know this is only the beginning, but I also know that I will look back at this day in years to come amazed at how much you were already yourself.

You are the epitome of a one year old: pointing at everything, starting to wave hello and goodbye, smiling with eight little teeth, babbling for minutes at a time, right on the verge of walking, able to answer questions like where’s the lion? and which one is the dog?. You also happen to be exactly the same size I was at 12 months: 27 pounds, 32 inches, in some percentile that doesn’t even have a number.

You had many adventures this month, including your first trip to the zoo. Granny and I held you up so you could see all the animals, and you pointed and squealed — especially when you saw the elephants, even though they were so far away.

We also took you on your third camping trip, this time with two of your favorite people (and ours too). Our beloved camp baby from last summer returned, and your highlights included crawling around to gather sticks and rocks, napping outside, and playing on the playground.

And did I mention how much you love your Auntie Krystal? You think she’s pretty much the best.

The grand finale of your first year was your best adventure yet: our week-long trip to Tahoe with the Rices. Seven days of exploring new places, swinging at parks, splashing in the water, and figuring out ways to be your cousin’s partner in crime.

On your birthday, we got onto the guest list for a residents-only park and had the most perfect day there, sunbathing and standing in the lake and playing in the wading pool.

We came home and had your first cake, a funfetti cake that Aunt Lindsay decorated with sprinkles and your name and the white bear candle holder that granny bought for you nearly a year ago. You cried when we sang Happy Birthday, too overwhelmed by the commotion, by being the center of attention. But I think the cake made up for it.

Everyone brought you such sweet presents — books and toys and new clothes — but you were particularly smitten with one toy in particular: a little stuffed dog that I’ve been waiting to give you for months. As soon as you saw him peeking out of a bag on the table, you had to have him. We named him Uno, and he’s the first toy you’ve really seemed attached to. I’m sure it’s my own childhood affection for my own stuffed dog (his name is Brandon and you can meet him someday), but it brought such joy to my heart to watch you carrying him around all night.

When you’re older, I hope you look back at your birthday and think, wow, I was so loved. Because you are, profoundly, by everyone around you. You are constantly charming them all, strangers and friends alike — and then when you’re done being our little people person, you crawl over and curl your body into mine and press your cheek against my chest and you’re my baby girl for a few more minutes. The independent moments and the astonishing moments and the mundane moments and the tender moments alike, I tuck them all away in my heart, thankful for the way each one is a part of who you are, of who you will be.

I love you with my whole heart. Happy first birthday, Eva Joy.

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