It was this day one year ago that you made your debut into this world, a soft and screaming ball of pink. The weather has turned crisp again and in this one year you have learned to walk, talk, laugh and play.
What a year it has been.
I love watching your fearless exploration and study of the world. I love watching you pull books off of shelves, play games with strangers and chase birds in the park. I love getting to know you better each day, discovering your fierce independence and your favorite color (it’s yellow, isn’t it?). I love watching you grow in every way.
I enjoy all of these adventures with you but my real goals in this whole escapade, in bringing you into the world are to learn how to love you, to learn how to love your father better, and to grow as an individual and to grow together as a family. That is all that I hope to gain for myself.
For you, my hope is that you will be happy.
Zoe, the world is filled with noise and confusion. Every day people work themselves into a lather trying to be the smartest, prettiest, richest, or what have you. Know this: if you are average, I will love you. If you are unusual, I will love you. Rich, poor, smart or stupid, I really don’t care. You are of extraordinary worth by mere virtue of being born into this world and you will never have to earn any love or affection from me. Remember this and the world again becomes clear.
People have been treating you differently for being cute from about the time you were three months old. This has nothing to do with you, sweetheart. You are not worth any more or any less than the homeliest child on the planet. Again and again you will meet people in your life who will treat you differently– better or worse– for how you look, how you speak, or how you act. This is not a reflection on you, but rather a reflection on them. These people cannot see you. That’s okay. I can. Your father can. And you will find others.
Your father and I will teach you everything we’ve learned about how to be happy. We’ll teach you responsibility and we’ll teach you how to care about other people. And after that, Zoe, live your life and live it on your terms. I look forward to watching from the sidelines.
You’ve made it through your first year, monkey. You’ve survived breastfeeding, and the bumps and bruises of learning to crawl on a hardwood floor. You’ve survived eating food off the ground and chewing on rocks. You’ve survived diaper rash and ear infections and my poor cooking skills.
And you know, I have complete faith that you are going to make it through the rest of life just fine.
Happy first birthday, monkey.