You have been home, in our arms, for one whole year now. It feels like a major accomplishment. You and I have had some emotionally intense moments this past year--some beautifully messy and some hard and ugly, but we walked those moments together. Side by side. In a family. Building trust. Finding healing. Building moments.
I will admit I breathed a bit of a sigh of relief when we hit the one year mark. We are no longer in a time where all things will be new to you. You have experienced all of it at least once. You've had candy plucked into a trick or treat bucket, you've unwrapped your first Christmas gift, you blew out a birthday candle, and you feasted on your first Thanksgiving turkey. You swam under the summer sun, felt the breeze of a brisk bike ride, and learned to love the playground swings. I treasure those moments up in my heart. They weren't your "real" firsts....but they were your firsts with us. The funny thing is that while I treasure it all up, I'm also feeling even more eager for year number two and while I'm nostalgic, I'm not really sad to see the first year draw to a close as I may have otherwise been in the past.
There is a struggle for me at the times of these milestones. I can so easily be swayed to look back, to overlook the moments I did have and long for the moments I never got to have. We are in the season of birthday celebrations in our home and as always, there is much talk about the arrival of each child. How big my belly was, how we knew you were ready to arrive, what time the arrival occurred, and so on. It is very easy for my heart to be dismayed as I realize I can't tell you any of those stories. I don't know what time you were born or what the day had been like prior to your arrival or if you cried immediately or not. I don't know if you slept like a champ or loved your first taste of solid food. It is so, so easy to drift into this area of the gloom of the unknown. What I can't and won't ever be able to answer for you. What can't be replaced.
But rather than sitting there in the past I can't get back for either of us, what I do have are the moments we have now. We made it through the first broken, disjointed, challenging, hilarious, messy year. And rather than being sweetly sad to see baby's first year draw to a close, I rejoice and shout from the mountain tops--ONE YEAR! She's been ours for ONE YEAR! What does that mean? We have history. We have a past. There are stories and memories to share. I can tell you the "remember last year at Christmas" story and talk about what costume you wore to Halloween. We have a past. We have a history. Moments heaped up on moments just adding to the depth of our relationship.
So yes, I bid the first year a fond farewell and get excited about the next. There will be more moments. And it is all adding up so that our memories with you will be greater than those without you.
Hannah, nothing about what you experienced this last year was easy for you. I am in awe of your strength, your grace, your passion, and bravery. You are a strong, resilient girl. Our family is so much richer because you are in it. We love you fiercely and we can't wait to add more moments to our history with you.