“Mom, when’s she gonna be bigger?” Allie asked, looking at Nora.
“What do you mean? She is big! And getting bigger every day!” I said, already defensive with Nora’s birthday only a few days away.
“No, she’s not,” Allie insisted.
On that day, I didn’t say it, but all I could think of was at that moment a year ago, Nora wasn’t even born yet. And now, here she is, with seven (!!) teeth, crawling all over the house and able to stand for a few seconds by herself. In one short year, she went from a baby who slept the majority of the day to crashing her walker into whatever gets in her way. She says mama, dada, and bye-bye. She knows she’s not supposed to get into the dog’s dish, yet she smiles and crawls faster toward the bowl, hoping to get there before I catch her.
From my perspective, Nora is big. And it breaks my mama heart a little bit, knowing that today is her first birthday.
But from Allie’s four-year-old perspective, she’s tiny. Nora still can’t do all the things Allie can do. Despite Allie’s wish for Nora to be “bigger,” I vividly remember the day this winter when Nora crawled for the first time. She went straight for Allie’s stuff, and Allie wasn’t impressed with Nora’s newfound skill. (And she’s been getting into their toys ever since.)
I enjoy watching my kids get bigger and learning new things—like writing, reading, and riding a bike. But I think I’ll always miss them when they were babies.
From the moment you arrived in the front seat of our pickup, you’ve kept us on our toes. (You’ve also kept me sleep-deprived, but that’s not what this is about.) You have the best smile that lights up your whole face. I love your chubby cheeks, which can only be described as doughy, and I’ve kissed them countless times. I hope never to forget the soft, buttery feel of your skin and how tiny your toes and fingers are. (Okay, I’ll stop before spiraling too much, and your dad gets concerned about me eating you.)
I love how excited you get when your dad gets home, crawling to the door to meet him. And how even though you spend the majority of your time with me, you spend most of the day saying, “Dada.” (If you would like to start calling for Dad at night, go right ahead.)
I love how you bounce on your knees, waving your arms around, screeching for me to pick you up. I never want to forget the way you turn your head and giggle when I catch you eating toilet paper in the bathroom (again).
You’re our only baby to take a pacifier. I love watching you stroke the Wubba-Nubba on your face, as you hum with contentment. At night, on the monitor, I sometimes see you reaching out and searching in the crib to find it in the dark. Then you rub the owl’s ears between your fingers, plugging the pacifier back into your mouth. Then slowly, you fall back asleep with your hand clutched around its body.
Your fluffy hair, which surprisingly seems to have a hint of auburn in the light, and your gray eyes (or are they hazel?), are a reminder of how different and unique God has made each of my children. Also, you have the beginnings of a fabulous mullet.
And even though you’re much bigger than you were a year ago, your head still fits just right in the crook of my neck, resting on my shoulder. I can’t help but wonder if you still recognize the beat of my heart.
This past year has gone by in a flash, yet so much has changed it sometimes feels longer. You’ve changed. I’ve changed.
And I can’t imagine our family without you.
Happy First Birthday, Nora Kate.