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Dear Jillian, on your first birthday

Hello, my sweetheart. On this day one year ago, at exactly 8:02 am, you came shouting into this world. But, you are much older than that. You see, you became a dream of mine around age 17. I began to dream of a little girl with fiery red hair and striking blue eyes. Your name came first, inspired by the character Nicole Kidman (also a redhead with blue eyes) played in Practical Magic. She was a fierce Jillian. Loving, loyal, carefree, andoptimistic. I imagined having a daughter like that. My own Jilly-Bean. In 2006 I was 18 years old, freshly out of high school, and on my first big-girl vacation without my parents. By happenstance, I found a keychain with your name on it. Impulsively, I purchased it. I didn't know you would become a reality. At that moment you were a far off wish. A glimmering bit of stardust on the horizon of my life. Yet, here you are.

I have never felt such love as I did the moment I first held you. I felt like the moment you were born, so was I. Then came the questions. What does she weigh? How long is she? Will she latch? Is she cold? Is she hot? Why is she crying? Is she hungry? What on earth did she eat to make her poop like that?! Why is she always spitting up? Can she eat that? Is she ticklish? Is this bath water too warm? On and on and on an endless stream of questions day and night. I'll be the first to admit I didn't get it all right.

But here we are, one year later. You've changed from my tiny little peanut of a newborn into someone who looks more like a toddler every day. You are walking, eating big people food, squealing in delight, and learning baby sign language. Your favorite color is bright green, you love apple juice, and your favorite animal is a giraffe. You kiss everything and everyone. You are so affectionate.

You have taught me so much. You see everything with a level of excitement because it's all new to you. You have returned a shine to the every day because I now see it through your eyes.

Watching you grow, inside my body and out, has been magical. I could not have imagined the happiness you would bring me, and I can not recall if I was ever this happy before in my life.

On your first birthday, it is my wish that you always see life as you do now. When you look at the world you see the potential and the possibilities that await you. I hope you always remember how precious life is and you live every moment in love, just as you do now. But for me, I wish to freeze you in this moment. I wish you to stay small enough to curl into my side with your head resting over my heart and your chubby fingers wrapped around my hand as I sing "You are my sunshine" until you are peacefully sleeping. I wish you to always want 2 am snuggles (because I will always be ready to give them). I wish you to slow down, at least for a little while longer.

Happy first birthday, my love.

Thank you Heidi for being my guest blogger for this post and also for allowing me to capture all the feisty happiness that is Jilly-bean!!

Backdrop: Ink and Elm

Tutu Dress: Tutu Couture Luv

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