I take a long time over icing the cupcakes, smoothing pink frosting over each brown heart-shaped top. I place them carefully into my white tupperware cake box, making the shape of a “1”, carefully pick up each brown crumb, each stray star sprinkle. I take more cupcake photos than I need to, a few more of the Piglet and Minnie balloons on her empty chair, the string of pink and purple paper loops the boys helped me make this afternoon.
It all seems so inadequate to celebrate her - this precious-more-than-words-can-say little person, with her squinchy-eyed smile, who has completely captured my heart - and yet I know she is only 1 after all, and she won’t even know what is going on tomorrow, or why all the fuss over her…
It’s really for me.
Taking all this time, icing the cupcakes, taking photos of every little thing? It’s for me, to help me process that my little girl is already a whole year old - 12 months of days, that all went by so fast I feel like I barely drew a breath and she’s already practicing walking. I feel if I can stretch these last moments before she’s officially one year old, make them last as long as possible, I might be able to grasp how fast the time has gone by… I just can’t believe it. It feels like only this morning I was cuddling this tiny bundle with tightly closed eyes, tufts of dark hair, skinny little chicken legs, “sticky-outy” ears.
Photo credit: Will Broughton
I have tried to stay in the moments this year, cuddle her close. Drink in her scent. Put other things aside, be with her as often as I could. But the reality is, I have two other children who need me, a household to run, and - 75% of her first year we have not been living in our own house! (Let’s see… last Sept-Dec we were in NZ, Jan-Feb in the US, March in Thailand, April-May here at home, June in Turkey, July on a visa run, August at home, September on a visa run… yep, I think that’s about 3 months at home out of 12…)
If I take a deep breath, and hold it, will she go back to lying on her back and gurgling up at me while I change her diaper? Can I catch her first smile all over again? But I love the smile she has now - part of me doesn’t want to go backwards.
I guess the only thing to do now is go to bed, and wake up tomorrow ready to savor every precious moment with my sweet, sweet girl. Because these particular moments will never come again!