Before you, there was me. And there was dad, but he wasn't 'dad' yet, just Mike, and I was just Brooke. I was a daughter, a wife, a friend. A stylist. A Fantasy football champ (twice over). A regular at all the best taco stands around town.
I loved my life, but there were parts of it that I couldn't square myself with, always wishing for more, for better, for different. More money to shop and decorate with. More time to work and more time to rest. More friends to socialize with. It always seemed to boil down to needing "more" to get me everything I wanted. The life, the success, the things.
On April 7, 2015, your dad lost his job and it felt like our life, our success, our things hung in the balance. We felt low and lost, completely unsure of what to do or what was going to happen.
What happened was, I took a pregnancy test about an hour after the bottom fell out.
It was you.
You were how we knew everything would be okay.
All of the stuff, the things, the "more"....it all melted down into one stone-cold conviction that nothing would stand in our way of giving you the best we could give. If that meant making big, life-changing decisions, what of it? Nothing was the same anyway!
From the minute I saw the + sign on the pee stick, I felt something shift inside me, like the waves of my life had parted and in the middle of those churning waters was the most peaceful certainty that I would give everything to you - my body, my blood, my soul. In a way, I felt like my life became like the story of The Giving Tree. (We haven't read it yet, darling, but you will love it!). No matter what, I will provide you nourishment, protection, comfort and love.
Even when I'm sick.
Even when I'm exhausted.
Even when I'm down and out, scared and unsure, you will never know it because I will shade you from the rain.
And one day when you're grown and you start carving out your own life, I will always be here, with our initials carved together on my heart, for you to come back to.
You won't remember these first 365 days we spent together. When you were born, your first bath, first smile, first laugh. Fortunately for us -- and maybe unfortunately for you -- we've been documenting as much as we can with our phones and cameras so that we don't have to solely rely on mental pictures of fleeting moments. Some of the best moments we couldn't catch. We weren't quick enough, or maybe the moment was too precious to risk interrupting, even if it meant recording it for all time. And some photos won't stand out, but there will be a memory there. Maybe it's of you. Maybe it's of me with you, learning something new about you, or about motherhood.
You will see the photos one day. You will read the emails we've been sending to your email account. One day. You will hear the story of April 7th and December 16th one day...and then probably more times than you care to. We will tell you all about the big moments. One day, when you're ready.
Today, I want to tell you about the small things.
I love that your breath smells a little like tomato soup.
I love hearing you breathe...and ever-so-lightly snore.
I love when you poke out your upper lip in fierce concentration.
I love how you used to enter a room with one arm flexed out to the side.
I love the high pitched cry you made during only the first two weeks of your life.
I love that your newborn startle reflex made you do a fist pump in the air.
I love that when you wake up in the mornings you say "mama" until I come get you.
I love how much you love The Three Little Pigs, and that we always read it on Wednesdays.
I love how still and contemplative you get right before you fall asleep.
I love how big you smile at me when I lean down and kiss you in the stroller while we walk.
I love that same big smile when I open the door to get you out of the car.
I love how you chirp at us trying to get our attention.
I love that you love the sound of crunchy things.
I love how much you love to go out-and-about, meeting people and seeing new things.
I love that you will stop crying on a dime if I start the hairdryer or the vacuum cleaner.
I love that your eyes light up when you see sparkly or shiny things.
I love singing nursery rhymes to you while you lay against my knees.
I love how you turn the pages of your books we read at nap time.
I love seeing you play with the monkey and "spinny cat" in your jungle play mat.
I love how fascinated you get when you see other children.
I love that guacamole and steak were two of your first favorite foods.
I love the little grunts, gurgles, coos you made when you were brand new.
I love how we sing and dance to the beginning of Sunny Side Up some mornings.
I love that I'm already sad about how much I'm going to miss these things when you grow out of them.
Becoming your mom made me realize that back before you, I did have the money, the time, the stuff. I could buy expensive shoes when I wasn't buying diapers and formula every week. I could sleep in on any given day or take a nap if I needed. I could eat dinner out at 9 PM on a Tuesday and nothing really changed.
I realize why I felt like it wasn't enough: because it wasn't. It all amounted to nothing at the end of the day because that stuff is not what life's about. Life is about you, my love. You are life. You make everything else meaningless and somehow more meaningful because we can now pursue and enjoy them together. One day we'll go shop for expensive shoes. Together. One day we'll be so tired we'll put on a movie and fall asleep on the couch. Together. One day we'll decide on our own Christmas traditions, the songs we love to sing in the car, and the special breakfast we eat on Saturday mornings. Together.
From the + sign on the pee stick, it's been you and me.
I love you, Lolo. Happy birthday!