This is now the fourth time I have sat down to write a post about Little Bear's birthday. I'm not sure why it's proving so tricky, but I think that I don't really know how I feel about it, so it's difficult to write about.
I have shed more tears about LB's birthday than about any other single thing in her first year (with the possible exception of the great breastfeeding cry of 2015) and I don't really know why that is. Maybe I just have a lot of feelings.
In some ways I'm sad that she's turning one. It took me ages to identify this particular feeling because it's utterly bonkers. For the most part I hated the newborn days and I wouldn't return to them for anything. They were stressful and guilt ridden and tiring and did I mention guilt ridden?! But LB will never be that little again. She gets more independent every day and while that is definitely a good thing, it's kind of heartbreaking too. I want her to grow up but I also want her to be little forever. I want her to need me forever. I want it so much that I'm scared I'm going to turn into that crazy mum from The Goldbergs and be insisting she holds my hand while I drop her off at her first uni lecture while she dies of embarrassment and hopes I get run over by a car.
The overwhelming feeling I have at the end of Little Bear's first year of life though, is pride. I'm proud of Papa Bear, who has taken parenthood in his stride in a way that I did not. He is such a natural father and nothing seems to get him down. He has handled every crisis and every overblown drama that I have created this past year with truly remarkable calm. Watching him play with Little Bear and seeing her face light up when she sees him is one of my favourite things in the world.
I'm proud of myself too. Motherhood hasn't come as naturally to me as I had hoped. It's been hard. I've cried a lot. But when it really comes down to it, I've done my absolute best. My daughter looks at me and she smiles. Now she can crawl, she often chooses to come shuffling over to me for a cuddle. She loves me - and what could be a better sign of success than that?
Most of all though, I'm proud of LB. When I was little, I can remember being mildly embarrassed by the way my parents would beam with pride at really small achievements. The way they would boast to their friends that I had done some totally average thing. I could never understand how they could get so worked up about such mundane shit. But now I do just the same with LB. Every tiny thing she does has me bursting with admiration. I tell my friends when she learns to stick her tongue out, or makes a new noise. I even once boasted to Papa Bear about a particularly large poo LB did. I'm out of control.
So Little Bear, now you are one. You are funny and naughty and clever. You are giggly and cheeky and you are, without question, the most absolutely beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. You have made my life an absolute whirlwind and you have given me something that I had no idea I was missing. Happy birthday my mighty girl. Every day with you is an adventure and I look forward to all the adventures to come.