Dear Mackenzie,

It’s hard to believe I am writing your first birthday letter. I don’t think I have ever felt a year go by as quickly as this one. As a 2020 baby, your first year of life was drastically different than most. I remember in March of 2020 when the world locked down how I thought everything would be back to normal by the time you came into the world. But then I remember spending so many days worrying that I would have to give birth to you alone, that we would have no visitors, no help, nobody to greet you. Your birth was so much different than your sister. Your daddy was thankfully allowed to be with me, but the hospital was such a different place. It was so quiet. No visitors lining the halls with balloons and gifts. Masks on everyone around us. But then you came, and for two nights it was just us. The no visitors policy wasn’t such a bad thing. We had you all to ourselves and we loved every minute. We video chatted friends and family to show you off. And then we went home to start our new life as a family of four.

This has been, without a doubt, the best year of my life. It is conflicting for me to say that, because for so many it has been the worst of times. There were certainly days I didn’t think I would make it, but you are – and I say this without any reservations – the best baby I could have ever had. You are so different than your sister and I think it’s because you are pandemic baby, and if the Lord blessed me with Charlotte 2.0 in a lockdown I probably would have gone a little nuts. You are so calm and so happy 99% of the time. I cannot believe I have had the privilege of being home with you this past year. I love you in a way I didn’t think possible. I love watching you and your sister. From the early days when she would hold you on her chest and pretend to feed you, to the times now when she carries you around the living room so you can play together, every moment is a gift. I love how much you love to eat. I love how you scoot your chubby butt around the floor. I love how you wake up and give me the biggest grin when you see me come into the room. Could you sleep a little better? Perhaps. Waking up at night isn’t really necessary any more, but I love how for just a few minutes you need to put your hands on my face or my chest to go back to sleep. The fact that you are my last baby and that I will never do this again is probably why I don’t complain so much about it. I also know Charlotte was a hell of a lot worse so I can totally manage this.

I love the way you dance and how much you love dogs. The way you point to everything and anything and say “dat” over and over. How you actually behave during Charlotte’s never ending zoom schooling. I am probably a bit biased because I am your mother but I think you are one of the most beautiful babies in the world.

There have been days where I didn’t know if I could manage all of this. I imagined your first year a lot different than it has been, but you were the calm in the storm. You came to us at this time for a reason. When I hold you I feel at peace. Some of my favorite times are when me, you and Charlotte are hugging each other and you can’t stop looking at both of us and laughing. I am so blessed to have had this time with the both of you together.

I can’t believe the baby times are over and behind us. I already miss your infant smell and those baby stretches, but those have been replaced with your little voice trying out new sounds and words. The sleeping on my chest has been replaced with pulling yourself onto my lap to hug me. The nursing has been replaced with …. well, still nursing. You’re the same as your sister in that regard. I doubt I’ll be getting you to stop any time soon. As sad as I am to have your first year behind us, I know things will get better and better. I love you and your sister more than anything in this world. You complete us my Kenzie girl. Happy birthday, baby.

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