Rilla's First Year

My dearest Rilla,

Where do I even begin to find the words to express what this past year – your first year of life – has meant to me? The task feels impossible and so I keep putting off the writing of it. But right there, there is an example of a beautiful lesson you have taught me this past year. It is better to have done something imperfectly than to only have it exist however perfect in one’s head. So here it goes, my imperfect attempt with which to thank you for this past year and to share all that I hope for you in the next.

I remember writing in the days leading up to your birth that I felt as though I was standing on the edge of a cliff just waiting for someone to run up behind me and push me off. And in many ways that analogy has held true. Much of this past year has felt as though I was falling. You’re arrival into my life seemed to bring everything I thought I knew into question. And it has been so painfully transformative and humbling.

I wasn’t prepared for how you would turn everything about me on its head. How you would make me scrutinize and reevaluate my values, my dreams, my definition of success. That you would be the motivation I needed to learn how to take better care of myself, to manage my time wisely, to write, to be outside, to give, and to quickly forgive. You’ve made me late to EVERYTHING. You’ve exhausted me beyond what I knew possible. You’ve distracted me and taken over a terrifying amount of my brain. You’ve taught me to ask for help and to identify my limitations. You’ve taught me to say no. You’ve taught me mindfulness. You’ve taught me how to listen and observe.

And together? Together we’ve learned more than I can ever list. We’ve learned about intimacy, flexibility, trust, routine, the stillness of the early morning and late night, that stink bugs aren’t poisonous when ingested, that sleep truly does fix everything.

You’re pregnancy and birth broke me open. This past year of sharing life with you has stitched me back together with the addition of a few more cracks. I am more broken than I ever have been in my entire life and ironically it is in that brokenness that I am finding a richer and deeper life than I ever thought possible.

All these words feel futile and scattered Rilla. I’m barely scratching the surface here. There is so much I want to express but my words fail me.

You know how in the fall the colors of gold and red cascade down the mountains? How in the spring the greens, whites, and purples climb up the mountains? That is what you have done to my life this past year. You were the life and death I didn’t even know I needed.

And this next year – your second year of life – what are my hopes and dreams for you? They’re fairly simple. My little moon, I hope you feel safe, seen, and heard. I hope we show you that we always have time for you. I hope that you feel empowered to explore your world with both courage and curiosity. I hope all three of us open ourselves to the change this year will hold while remaining grounded in what we hold most dear.

My darling Rilla thank you.

Blessings & love,