Back when I was trying to get pregnant, time seemed to move in slow motion. I was stuck in limbo, waiting for that little pink line to reveal itself so life could move forward once more.
Then, finally, I got my wish.
During those first weeks of pregnancy, I was so terrified of losing her I hardly dared breathe. But she held on, grew on, and before I knew it, the ultrasound technician was exclaiming, "it's a girl!"
Then I blinked and I was in the cold, cold operating room, numb from the neck down. I was calm. So calm. But then I heard her first angry howl and the tears broke free, rushing recklessly down my cheeks.
I blinked again and we were snuggled up together in my hospital room, her perfect little face scrunching up, her mouth gaping open like a hungry baby bird. I stroked her red cheek, heart cracking into a thousand little pieces as I fell hopelessly in love with this tiny stranger.
I closed my eyes for a moment and suddenly we were home. Alone. She was curled up in the crook of my elbow and together we dreamed, living as one being, united against the outside world.
I drifted off and when I awoke, I was chatting on the phone with a good friend as she stared up at the animals on her play gym...and rolled over. Over the moon with excitement, I screamed for Brian and we stared, waiting anxiously for her to do it again...
Then I blinked, and it was time to head back to work. I held her close, drinking in the sweet scent of her hair as the silent sobs wrenched themselves from the depths of my soul.
I put a cool washcloth against my fevered brow, and when I removed it, she was sitting up on her own, playing with a daisy from the garden.
My eyes crinkled with joyous laughter and when the giggles faded, she was creeping across the floor like a soldier in the bush, headed for the nearest treasure trove of illegal playthings.
I dove for her scrambling feet and by the time my belly hit the ground she was pulling herself up on the couch, laughing uproariously as she reached for Kermit's toes.
I rubbed my eyes, sure I was seeing things, and when I took my hands away, she was reaching for me, the word "mama" falling from her lips.
Again the tears started, and I dashed them away as I bent to pick her up. Once she was safely ensconced in my arms, I glanced up at the calendar.
It read April 3, 2010.
Somehow, an entire year has raced by. Somehow, my seven pound peanut has grown into a twenty two pound toddler. She's now a little girl with a ferocious temper, an infectious smile and the ability to steal my heart all over again with a single glance.
Incredibly, my beautiful baby is one.
Excuse me while I go wipe the tears away again.