You are nine months old now. You have officially lived outside of my body, just as long as you were inside of it.
There’s something about this nine month mark. I felt it with your sister too. There’s an independence that comes with it, an attachment that is less to me, and more to the world around you. You are here and you are part of it all, and this is something you have begun to grasp.
I already can’t quite remember a time when you weren’t part of my life. I mean, of course I can remember all those 33 years before you arrived, but what I mean is that I can’t imagine not knowing you. I can’t imagine not being your mama, not being a guide for your sweet little soul.
And Juliette? You are sweet. So incredibly sweet. You are a happy little thing. You laugh all the time, even when you’re uncomfortable. You just laugh. You are watchful and you are quick to smile. I’ve seen you look around a room, just waiting to catch someone’s eye so that the moment you do, you can give them one of your quiet little smiles.
Life has been complicated at home lately, your dad and I trying hard to figure out our careers and finances and the future. Things seem uncertain much of the time and sometimes the stress of it all makes me feel like I can’t breathe. But then I look at you and your sister and I find myself able to take another breath.
We could be anywhere, on an airplane, in our living room, in the car in the morning on the way to take Vera to school, and the two of you are looking at each other. Vera is making some weird face, with an even weirder noise to go along with it, and your eyes are on hers, riveted by whatever she is doing, a small smile edging across your lips. And I realize that no matter how sticky or stressful life may be, as long as it’s not that way for you or Vera, then everything will be okay.
That’s what parents do, I suppose. They shield us from the worries of the world, for as long as they can. And that’s why we, as adults, often bemoan how hard it is to be a grown-up. And it is hard. Oh, how I wish I could go back to being a kid, or even a teenager, when my biggest worries were what to wear to school, what boy to like, and which quiz not to study for. I mean, of course it all felt bigger than that at the time, but looking back? Those seem like simple things.
Life is big, my sweet girl. It’s bigger and longer and messier and more wonderful than you or I even really know. But here’s the thing. It’s also what you want it to be. Life is the story you tell yourself it is. It’s the dream you choose to believe is real. It’s the path you thought you shouldn’t take, but then did. It’s the heart, so full of love you’re blinded by it.
And everything that is to come.