11-Months & Happiness.

You are almost 11-months old, something I can’t fathom saying out-loud, so I guess I’ll write about it here so when next Monday rolls around, I will be mentally prepared. That, and I’m attending a mindfulness conference all weekend—further giving me faith that I’ll be OK. (I did tell you in my first letter that despite these heartfelt letters, 90% of what comes out of my mouth in reality is marinated in a heavy dose of sarcasm, right? Okay, good). Back to it.

Words can’t adequately describe how much joy you bring into my life. Watching you grow minute-to-minute, day-to-day, month-to-month has been the best gift life has ever given me. You make be laugh, sometimes hysterically, with your very big personality for such a tiny little peanut. Just like we had guessed, my active “lil Ninja” in the womb turned into my active wild almost-11-month baby girl—nothing seems off-limits, and I hope you always embrace that notion. You are eager to explore and learn, and oh-the-things you’ve already taught me. Family that knew me as a baby laugh every-time I mention how active you are, usually responding with: “karma” or more commonly, “she’s YOUR daughter” and always followed by funny stories of my active young-baby days. Secretly, these stories and knowing we were alike as little people makes me over-the-moon proud // terrified as heck.

Albeit active and wild, you have the sweetest, funniest, happiest personality. The best part of my day is seeing you first thing in the morning, always already standing at your crib waving a toy or examining the binkies you’re double-fisting in each hand, smiling ear-to-ear with excitement knowing TODAY IS A BRAND NEW DAY and you are about to get started tackling it. You literally laugh and smile all day: oh-the-possibilities, oh-the-joy in everyday things. You give me so much to believe in, so much to be proud of, and so much to live for.

I think you changed me more than I ever thought possible—or maybe you made me stop long enough to catch my breath, actually see life’s bigger picture, and giving me the best reason to stay true to my heart. In many ways, I’ll be your mentor in the things you need to learn about life—but in reality, you may be a bigger mentor to me.

Whenever you make me laugh and you have no idea what you did to get such a response, you start cracking up– and there we are both laughing over sometime little. Nothing makes me smile more. When Kaiah starts playing fetch, you get SO excited, you run to me and fold into my arms with sheer amazement just to watch her from my lap. You have mastered “nice pets” to all the animals in the house, you even “nice pet” the animals in your nightly bedtime book. Talk about a complete (proud mama) heartmelt [love, love, LOVE]. You can find a mirror toy in a haystack of toys, OK so you may also be my vain child. You routinely drop all your toys and binkies out of the crib and laugh when I come in to pick then up, clearly you’re already smarter than me too (how do you even know I can see you?) You crawl faster than I can probably run, and I usually turn to your dad and jokingly suggest that you’re going to be his athlete. You do love books (and the outdoors), so I am usually reassured that it won’t be organized sports ALL-THE-TIME (although I’m betting my soccer-mom skills will be pretty good much to your father’s dismay: “really Julie, soccer?”).

Priorities may have shifted 180 degrees and I can no longer say many things about myself that I was once so sure of (because let’s be honest, not working inhumane, unsustainable crazy-long weeks, now being able to go to bed after practicing yoga, thus, less-stressed & more content, indulging in a glass of wine on a random Tuesday without worrying that I’d be needing to tackle the jam-packed ‘to do’ list I have on my plate the next day with a headache, and not caring what I look like 99.6% of the time ROCKS MY WORLD).

I always used to tell your dad how truly beautiful I felt when I was pregnant (overtired, big belly, constant heartburn, hormone-induced acne and all)—but I think that reiterates that maybe it IS happiness that makes you feel beautiful. Today, I am not doing ANY of the things I used to slave over (OK, so I’m a Bohemian-Tomboy, so maybe ‘slave’ is a complete over-exaggeration, but you get my drift) to feel/look beautiful on the outside—and yet, I’ve never felt so content and happy in my own skin. Maybe I previously over-prioritized those vanity things too much and they stole a part of my self-contentment when I was consumed by them, who knows. I was always under the impression that I’d be this baggy-eyed sleep deprived, constant state of ‘sick with worry,’ and just the ‘blah’ stereotypical run-down-mother-look I’d inherit simply by becoming a mom—luckily, that misguided-probably-media-steered notion couldn’t be further from the reality [and exhale a big sigh of relief… I’m STILL human, womanly, AND wait for it…. even kept (actually ENHANCED) the ability to feel beautiful, Amen fellow “mommy” sistahs].

Just by entering my life 11-months ago (technically speaking, 21 months ago), you’ve given me clarity in what I want out of life, what I expect from myself, people in my life, and career, which I’m currently content taking a step back from while I enjoy everyday that is you. You entered my world and just like that, everything in my life changed. The day before you came, I was walking across the stage to get my Ph.D. with the mindset that I’d be home for 3-months and back at it like the well-oiled work machine I’ve been for as long as I can remember. Wow, did things change….

And I’m so grateful.

So thanks for helping me get back on the saddle on my road to happiness and sanity: I no longer feel the need to stay around toxic personalities no matter who they are or spend time doing things that do not serve my happiness-cause (who has the time?); I re-befriended some of the most important people in my life (what was so important that caused me to drift from such amazing people in the first place?); I started saying what I felt without care if people hate/love me for it—it’s being true to me that matters; I acknowledged things I know to be true even though they hurt; I took time to stop running from the things that scared me—and instead, embraced them fully to better understand the situation(s); I prioritized my heart, health, and ‘me’ in my own life (sounds crazy, but formerly, this was impossible for do for me). At the end of the day, I’m a better mother to you for taking care of me—and taking care of you is my number one priority. You now come first, but so do I for the first time ever, and wow, does it feel good.

Didn’t realize you had such powers, did ya? 😉

So, my little everly-smiley-wild child, you may be growing older, stronger, and smarter—but in the process, I’m growing wiser.

I love you (quite literally) to-the-moon-and-back.

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