The Whole World Stops and Stares For Awhile

If this past year set the pace, then I’m ready for a heartbreak.

Yesterday, at 1:58am, my little lady love turned a year old.

What's a "birthday"?

A year ago, I was staring at this tiny new person sleeping nestled against the warmth of my chest, trying out her name, growing familiar to the letters that spelled out her place in our family, as the three of us became four, separating to surround her, molding her into our hearts.

A year ago, I marveled at how perfect her skin was, how dark her eyes were, how much hair she had, how she was the exact image of Newly Born Bug six years before, how easily we slipped into our stride, the role of New Mother worn smooth.

A year ago, I wondered how someone so sudden could slide into our lives in three short pushes, clutching in her pink fist a significant piece of my heart, completely unaware of her magnetism as I struggled with the impossibility of absorbing her, of never, ever, ever letting her go.

A year ago, I thought I might maybe probably unlikely but slightly possibly get used to this feeling.

Today, I wonder how I ever even considered that.

Today, I watch her fall asleep in her crib, perched on her knees like a baby frog, as her long lashes slow their blink, my fingertips hovering over the sweet spot on the bridge of her nose, and sleep is irresistible.

Pretty sure this is how I get out.

Today, I look at my one-year-old and beg her to slow down, to sit down, to stay, in my lap, against my shoulder, in my arms, on my chest, my baby girl, my little Bean, my sweet belle who loves and chooses me over all the others.

Today, I am in awe of her laugh, her toothy grin growing ever brighter, her beauty as it steals my breath, her sense of humor, her curiosity, her mobility, her affection, her small hands, her chubby knees, her wispy hair, her open-mouthed kisses, the shape her lips make when she is on the verge of tears, the feel of her arm as she squeezes my neck, the sound of my name, my identity, on her tongue.

Today, nothing really has changed, except my Bean has grown from a fragile, sleeping, needy newborn to a mobile, agile, adventurous baby girl.

Today, I’m still hopelessly in love and growing more so. I’m still possessed by a need to be near her, constantly. I’m still watching, shell-shocked and jaw dropped, as she morphs before my very eyes, much more quickly than I am ready for. I am still completely and irrevocably stunned by her.

It’s been a year, and I’m still navigating the magic of motherhood, trying not to stumble through the looking glass.

Only today, I’ve got a billion more photographs.

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Filed under Parenting

22 responses to “The Whole World Stops and Stares For Awhile

  1. Jess, you did it again. You’re a prose poet.

    This is beautiful: “Today, I watch her fall asleep in her crib, perched on her knees like a baby frog, as her long lashes slow their blink, my fingertips hovering over the sweet spot on the bridge of her nose, and sleep is irresistible.”

    As was the rest of it. Including those photos!

    And happy “birth” day to you, too. 🙂

  2. She’s just as lovely as this blog post.

  3. Aw Beanie!!!! I love seeing these pics I’ve never seen before! She looks SO MUCH like you when you were little, Jess. Her pointy little elvish ears are the cutest. OMG. Happy girl, I want to eat that face. Gahhhh! *Dies.

  4. jina

    I love this Beanie Bug……

  5. Dad

    Happy Birthday, Bean! Pops loves you!!!

  6. Ridiciculously good looking – you are right! Beautiful post.

  7. Beautiful! Makes me want to pick up my sleeping girl and snuggle her. Happy day to your family!

    • Thanks! Who cares about enforcing proper sleep habits and other such nonsense. Right? Right??

      I’m sure our babies will be perfectly able to fall asleep on their own when they’re sixteen and want nothing to do with their mothers. Snuggle away.

  8. Man – time sure flies, doesn’t it?!
    Such cute photos!

  9. Oh oh oh.


    I felt that magic. Three pushes and I held my baby girl. I swear it like I was holding myself. She looked like every picture ever taken of me as a newborn.

    It was out-of-body. Surreal.

    Your love for your daughter is absolutely tangible…no longer an abstract emotion. You bring it to life with every single carefully-chosen word.

    I can tell you worked through every sentence until it was right.

    So this post? Is just perfect. Like she is.

    Like your love is.

    Happy happy days to her, to you, and to your beautiful family.

  10. Your ode to your daughter is achingly beautiful! The photographs are fantastic too. Happy Birthday to your little “Bean.” (That makes me smile, because “Little Bean” is what my dad still calls me to this day.)

  11. Great post. Very beautifully written. I can’t believe my own kids were ever that small.

    • I wish they stayed miniature. But my almost-7-year-old is only about a foot and a year or so away from having me beat. Doesn’t help that I’m a smidge and he’s breaking the growth charts.

      Thanks, Paul.

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