One year ago I was in a hospital bed, hooked up to at least seven different machines, naive as I could possibly get, playing Candy Crush and wishing we could get this show on the road. Today we will celebrate one year of you and one year of us.
This show I was anxiously waiting for the curtain to rise on is still going. If we're lucky, it will be the longest running show in history. There is no intermission. No one passed us a playbill. I can't even see where the stage ends and the seats begin. Sometimes I feel like I'm the director. Other times the stagehand. I have played and understudied every role. Sometimes I am there reviewing the show, taking notes for my article, preparing to go heavy on the criticism. Sometimes I'm the audience. I laugh, I cry. I feel frustrated. I feel like I'm flying. I'm connected. I fall in love with the characters. I can't put my finger on the plot. I feel like this was the part I was born to play. I get lost and confused and wish the lights would just come back on. I am so deep in it. I am so intricately tied and dedicated to every aspect of this production that it doesn't exist without me. I don't exist without it.
Are we metaphored out yet? No? Oh good. I can go all day.
photo by tara whitney.
These letters began as my lifeline. They were my line to the outside world and the abstract future you. But they were also my lifeline back. My connection backwards into who I was before I was a Mama. Into the Elise that existed before and was sure to resurface (right? please?!) when the dust settled and the spit-up had cleared and the days and the nights were light and dark again respectively.
I wrote to know you. I wrote to know me. I wrote to figure out what was normal. I wrote to accept what was not. Fifty-two weeks and twenty some letters later we're still here. Chugging along. The show goes on. The curtain doesn't rise and fall but, thank God, the sun does. I don't need the letters to know me anymore. I am firmly rooted in me. In you. In here.
Again, I thank God.
Thursday, June 20, 2013 is the day I met you. Friday, June 20, 2014 is the day you turn one. But we are not just celebrating those two days, my sweet girl. We are celebrating all the moments in between. We're celebrating the first smile. The first laugh. The first time you went right to sleep and Mama and Dad did a victory dance in the living room. The first time you rolled over. The first time you pulled to stand. The first time you waved bye-bye. The first time you clapped when Dad came home from work. The first time you chatted with that funny bald baby in the mirror. The first time you said "Mama!" and my heart exploded.
We are celebrating the second, third, fourth and six-hundreth time you did all that great stuff too.
We are celebrating the millions of heartbeats and breaths that took us slowly and carefully from day one to day three-sixty-five. We are celebrating the five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes between you being pulled from my belly and you reaching up for me as you grin wildly after naptime. We are celebrating the tears and the bumps and the mistakes and the pain. We are celebrating tissues and bandaids and do-overs and forgiveness. We are celebrating the magic that is love and what you have brought to our family of three.
We are celebrating that at times this past year felt normal. That at times this past year was downright boring. We are celebrating that this has been the most challenging year of my life but for some reason I might never quite grasp, it has also been the most inspiring one I could have imagined.
What I know today is that you're my girl. You are my special, gorgeous, lively, engaging, hilarious little girl. I love you, Ellerie Eve. It's an absolute honor to be your Mama and watch you grow. I am so excited to be present at this show. I am on the edge of my seat. I am running the lights. I am revamping the script. I am improv-ing my lines. I am fussing over the costumes. I am humming with adrenaline. I am waiting in the wings with flowers. I am marveling at you, the blossoming star, who will outshine us all.
Spoiler alert: I heard the next scene may include some dialogue.
yours forever, Mama