You are ONE! I just can't believe it, because this...
...seems like just yesterday.
All babies change and grow so much during their first year of life, and you are changing and growing faster than I can keep up. You were a very early walker - starting at 9 or 10 months old. I loved watching your face when you were beginning to walk, because you were just so tickled with yourself. "Look at me go!" you seemed to say.
You are such a good girl. You're a great sleeper (a very important quality in a baby) and a wonderful eater! You LOVE food. I think you get that from me. You have such a sunny personality, and a big smile for everyone you see.
My favorite part of the last year, other than all the snuggles you and I have enjoyed, has been watching your mom and dad become parents. You really lucked out, kiddo, because they are amazing. I always knew they would be. They love you so much, and they are doing such a great job. I'll tell you what, though. it's been kind of weird watching my baby sister, who I played dolls with growing up, have a real baby of her very own. I'm sure she felt the same way about me with your cousins. I hope someday they'll give you a sister so that you'll know exactly what I mean. Sisters are cool.
Meanwhile, though, you have your cousins. You and Claire have a really special relationship. She and I came up to visit once without the others, and you two really bonded. Maybe it's because you look alike, or maybe it's because she saved you from going down the stairs in your walker, but you two have a special connection that is so cool to witness.
Claire's 5 years older than you, just like I'm 5 years older than your mommy.
When I think about how much the world has changed in the 37 years I've been in it, and then I try to imagine what the future will be like for you and your cousins when you're my age, I get a little dizzy. Some things will never change though - your family will always love you, and we'll always be in your corner to support you and guide you and help you become the amazing person that you were born to be. Even if we end up with flying cars, a colony on Mars, and Google enabled contact lenses in the next 35 years or so, many fundamental things will remain constant - love, family, kindness, connection, compassion - those are the things that really matter and always will.
I have this checklist that I fill out for my kids on their birthdays, and your mom emailed me to say she filled it out for you. I'm going to do it, too, and we'll see how many answers I get right. Maybe she'll post her answers in a comment.
Your favorite toy for snuggling is: Biscuit Jr., the stuffed cat I bought you after you fell in love with Biscuit Sr., who belongs to Claire
Your favorite food is: all of them, but your mom told me that you're a really big fan of the Gerber Wagon Wheels - which are these giant, dry cereal wheels
Your favorite book is: hopefully the one I recorded for you! Ha ha!
Your favorite activity is: walking!
Your favorite place to go is: work with Mom and Dad
Your best friend is: Julie, your babysitter, and your cousin Elise
Something new that you're doing: walking!
Something you've mastered: wrapping people around your little finger
Something people say about you: "She's so pretty!"
Something I am proud of you for: you're fearless and strong
Happy first birthday, sweet girl! Auntie Amy and Uncle BJ, and all of your cousins love you SO much! See you at your party on Sunday.