I didn't know a year could pass so quickly. In many ways, it seems like only a few days ago that I was lumbering around, ankles spilling over the tops of my socks and chewing Tums, yet here you are twelve-months-old, standing up in your high chair yelling for more blackberries.
You have changed my life, Susannah. Your presence has brought me joy and brought me to my knees. I have learned this year how incredibly hard it is to be a good mom to three little girls, but I've also learned how indescribably wonderful it is to roll around on the living room floor with a pile of three laughing daughters.
You have made it so easy for us to fall in love. Since you were a few days old, you have always made it very clear that you love to be loved. When you'd cry while your diaper was changed as a newborn, the minute I picked you up, you would calm. And now, when you get up from a nap and Daddy brings you to me, I hear him tell you that you'll see me soon and you laugh and moan "Mama" and throw your head back in ecstatic delight as you catch a glimpse of my face. Who wouldn't fall in love with a baby whose eyes close in happiness at the sight of you and grins a wide gap-toothed smile when she hears your voice?
I'm not the only one who finds you wholly irresistable. Where other babies scream at the sight of a bearded man, you have such a soft spot for your Opa that you flirted with a goateed stranger during dinner in Russ's, stretching your hand out to him. When Daddy comes to get you from your crib, you inhale sharply with delight and kick your fat little thighs with happiness. Oma gets a loud "Hiiiiii," drawn out with joy and the news that your sisters are downstairs is met with low eager chuckles.
Like the valedictorian of babies, you have it all: big blue eyes, rolling meaty thighs, a snorting laugh when nuzzled in the neck folds, and the ability to entertain yourself with office supplies. But though your bald head and rounded back-side say innocence, I know better. That baby face belies a very strong stubborn streak. At a few weeks old, struggling with congestion, you were my only baby to object so strongly to having your nose suctioned that nursing couldn't comfort you. You're my only baby to have to wear the five-point harness in the high chair because saying "NO" twelve times in a row as you stuggle repeatedly to your feet with handfuls of lasagna elicits nothing but a knowing grin. When I tell you to take a tiny toy out of your mouth, you are my first baby to turn your back to me and try to shovel it back in.
You're also my first baby to try to scribble on paper, write on a chalkboard, kick a ball, try on shoes, and push a car before their first birthday. You are my first baby to spend her whole twelfth month of life saying "What that?" and pointing at the tiniest of objects for an explanation. You are the first baby I can't get shoes on, who curls her feet into fleshy balls. You are my first babbler, letting loose streams of nonsense as you use half a banana as a phone. You are my first baby to give herself a nickname, shouting "NANA!" angrily when you see something you want. You are the first baby whose babysitter has called in a panic saying you've been screaming for a half hour because she subjected you to a diaper change. You're the first baby who continued to scream so loudly every time there was a diaper change that you've earned your own electric toothbrush to occupy you while we do it.
You are so full of charm, Susannah. You have made our lives so much brighter and fuller since you blew in with your man-sized appetite and oversized thighs.
I didn't know you twelve months ago, but now I pity anyone who doesn't. I am so glad that God knew you and gave me the most delightful opportunity to be the mother of such an outrageously loveable baby.
Sukie, I'm so glad you're mine.