Dear Faith: And You Are One

201302 Dear Faith 6 Months 1

Dear Faith,

You are one.

Mama is over a month late in writing to you but I have a perfectly legit reason for not getting to you on time. After all, things have been going on full steam since you graduated from being a baby to a toddler.

We were hit with a mental leap right when we celebrated your first birthday, which explains why Miss Sullen Royal Crankypants made an appearance at the party and in the weeks after. Once you were done figuring out your first unassisted steps, spewing words from your growing vocabulary, and going about business with the flair and awkward grace of a newly minted toddler, you were back to your charming ol’ self…until you sprouted your seventh tooth. Oh, the whiny tears that have been spilt over the slightest things…you must have had it pretty rough in the past month. Amidst all this, you have been quite the active toddler too, and I am beyond exhausted, being pulled up on my feet all too often at your insistence to ‘go go go’. You are beginning to exert your will, and you are all too eager to be more like us, and less like a baby. You snatch fragile ceramic mugs out of our hands and try to drink from them. You would shriek if we stop you from doing that. You have decided that you no longer want to pick food up with your hands and you spend most of mealtimes wrestling the spoon from us, poking around your bowl, flinging bits and pieces of food everywhere as you try to spoon-feed yourself, and end up smelling like butter and cheese if you happened to be having Papa’s homemade lasagne for lunch. You would cry theatrically, if we stop you, too. It’s a little exasperating for us at times, as we try to keep you safe and clean and (*gasp* if I may use the phrase) under control, so we talk sternly to you on occasions when we think that things have gone too far…but we know that you are just learning, that you don’t know how to express and control your emotions, that you are a person too. Yes, little, and yet, still a person. But…I digressed. Now you know why I haven’t been able to write to you; there is just a lot going on…not that I am complaining.

There is so much of you to take in, to drink up, to enjoy and to love, Faith. Just over a year ago, you were a bloodied, mucus-y, wrinkly, wailing lizard that was pulled out and plonked onto my belly. I couldn’t believe that you have finally arrived. It was all very surreal to push you out and feel like I have known you for the longest time, even though we had just met. I cried the instant I saw you. I remember drawing up my legs and propping you up on my thighs as I studied you on our first night together at the hospital. Papa was fast asleep from all that labour-drama in the day, and the nurse had brought you to me for our two-hourly latching sessions. But instead of latching you right away, I wanted to take my time with you. The maternity suite was so quiet that I could hear you breath as you stirred in peaceful slumber. You sighed as you adjusted yourself on my thighs, and right there and then, I fell in love with you. Right there and then, I knew that I would love you for the rest of my life.

The rush from birthing you quickly gave way to the shock that comes with parenthood. The first months were tough. You decided that you didn’t like to sleep for months and months on end, and of course, God decided that you should be born to a mother who LOVES her sleep…it was a little hard for me to stare at you with erm, hearts shooting out of my eyes when I was up for the umpteenth time to put you back to bed but yes, whilst I still love my beauty sleep, I have grown to love you more everyday. Strange how this works, because I have never sacrificed my sleep for anyone or anything. I know this sounds completely juvenile, but just ask your grandmother and she will tell you that I was capable of sleeping through earthquakes and that I would slaughter anyone who tried to stop me. Well, I guess, God made my heart a little bigger, just for you.

You have grown so, so much, from that tiny tyke to this joyful, loving, funny, chatty being whom I am so very proud to be Mama to. You wouldn’t remember any of this and you would only know of your first year from the embarrassing pictures and videos that I will eventually blackmail you with; the first crooked smile you flashed in your sleep, the epic hourly wakings you threw at us during our first family vacation in Perth, that painfully slow-mo rollover you managed during our Christmas holiday in Penang, the silliest green, gummy grin when you had the first taste of avocado, your almost-year-long hatred for car seats, your first word (Pa) that has now exploded to a rather impressive vocabulary (Ma, Gong, gee {give}, thea {thank you}, bear, boo {peekaboo}, bye bye, dog, woah-woah {referring to dog too}, go, comb {come}, wear {where}, amongst others), the Mission-Impossible-esque climbs onto higher grounds when we lure you with the promise of good food, the crazy contortionist stances when you nurse, your insistence at Mama taking you for walks when you pull on my fingers till they hurt, your first unassisted steps as Papa and I watched in awe, the blood that pooled in your mouth when you took nasty falls from the hurried walking, your weird obsession with fridges and all the bottles in there, the delightful shrieks of laughter when I throw you up in the air or hold you upside down, the look of unadulterated happiness when you see blueberries being served for dessert after your meals, the disturbingly psychotic expression of yours when you pound and claw your way through to Mama’s milk bar, and yes, the epic legs-kicking-arms-wildly-thrashing-fat-tears-streaming-down-your-face tantrums…oh, these are moments that make you YOU.  And because you wouldn’t remember any of this, and I will, just know that these moments make you Mama’s baby, even when you are all of 53 years old.

You are a lot more than just milestones and memories leading up to the grand old age of one, Faith, for you have taught me things that I could never have learnt in school. You taught Mama patience, endurance and strength. You reminded me to be contented, and to be thankful for the tiniest blessings. You have me in fervent, humble prayer, every day and night. And most of all, you taught me to have faith and to love unconditionally. These were and still are painful, painful lessons, for they showed me how small, self-centred and microscopic I was before becoming a mother, but you make me want to be a better person. Faith, Mama promises you to try her darndest to be just that, and more.

Stop.

I have written too much, haven’t I? By the time you understand this letter, you would probably think that I talk too much too. I’m not sure where you will be, how our relationship will turn out, and whether you love me as much as I hope you do. But know this, my precious daughter, that Mama loves you more than you will ever comprehend. That love may be a little stifling at times, a little heated and prickly, and God forbid, a little unwanted when we have our less-than-chummy moments as mother and daughter, but you will always be my baby girl. Yes, the dimpled, cheery one who loves having Mama hold her hand as she walks around, brandishing a blade of dead leaf, like there is nowhere else she would rather be.

Thank you for letting me have the privilege of being your Mama, darling.

Love always,

Mama

201310 Dear Faith And You Are One

2 thoughts on “Dear Faith: And You Are One

  1. lilianatimofte64l

    Dear Rachel,this dialogue between mother and daughter is so intimate and beautiful, that it is difficult to comment on this type of post. But you said something in your first post in this blog, when speaking about the reason why you write this blog: “…by sharing snippets of our lives, I can help make happy memories for others too.” It is not only your fantastic food that inspire me in your blog, but also posts like this, snippets of your life, that are truly inspiring us, mothers of daughters (and not only), to appreciate and mark all the happy moments in our children´s life for not falling into oblivion. I cannot do this anymore, I am a 49 year-old grandmother to a one year and a half little angel, but I have been extremely close to my daughter and I am so sorry I did not mark in writing all my beautiful experience of seeing her growing up in a now beautiful mother. I will try to convince her, though, to write down all these little things, these snippets that can easily be forgotten… Thank you for all your inspiring posts!

    Reply
  2. Susan

    Your note to Faith was so sweet and I’m sure you’re doing a great job as her mummy because no one else will do a better job than you. Happy Belated Birthday dear Faith🙂

    Reply

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