This is an open letter that I wrote for my daughter just before her second birthday.
To my sweet Stella,
I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since the day you came into our lives. Now, I can’t imagine our world without you.
It’s no secret that you and me had a rough start. Please, though, don’t ever mistake that for me not loving you. My love for you was strong and unconditional from the moment I found out you were in my tummy. Nothing can change that, ever.
Looking back, you and me never really had a chance at a “smooth” beginning. Your poor tummy fought infant reflux and made feeding extremely uncomfortable for you. Those early days were full of crying and fussiness. I felt terrible that I couldn’t comfort you. Then, I began to battle extreme postpartum anxiety and the combination of it all just made things more difficult in the beginning for us. I truly believe that our bond today is stronger for it, though.
I wrote openly about my struggles in those early days here.
What I’ve learned (and am still learning), is that you and your sister are completely different people. It is so beautiful to watch you each blossom into your own personalities. However, with those differences, your Dad and I have also had to learn how to parent differently. It took some time to really understand you but we got there, and our days are now full of amazing moments where we are understanding each other more and more.
I love how much you are trying to talk! You’re working so hard and putting in lots of effort to learn. I love when you say something and I understand it. You get so happy!
You outgrew the reflux, you are strong, healthy and always climbing or jumping on something. Our days are filled with joy and laughter because of you. You also fill them with lots of screaming and running around, but that’s just because you are so full of energy and I wouldn’t change that for a second.
Your smile and that energy are infectious and it makes you so special. You’re intense, unique and smart and I pray that you grow up to love all those things about yourself.
I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be your mom. You teach me so much, and we just get closer and closer every day.
I’m also incredibly grateful for the time I’ve been able to spend with you these first couple of years. I’ve been able to stay home with you and I can’t tell you how many times I find myself just sitting and watching you. You’re so curious and it seems like you’re forever trying to figure something out or put something together.
You are absolutely perfect in my eyes. I love watching your face scrunch up when you’re focused on something, or that little scream you do when you get excited about accomplishing a new task. I love watching you give your sister all the hugs or when you help clean up a mess. You are kind, baby girl, and I encourage you to continue to be kind to others.
You’re incredible and I’m amazed every single day at how motivated and determined you are when you want to do something. You are very physical and I’ve seen you accomplish things that some four and five year olds still struggle with.
Stella, you are full of passion and love. You play tough and like to joke with everyone but you have a huge heart. I’ve seen the love you have for me, Daddy and your sister and it’s undeniable. Lately, you’ve been giving us huge hugs, while you pat us on the back at the same time. You say, “Awwwwww!” and all of us love it and we love you.
You were exactly what our family was missing.
My beautiful daughter, here is what I wish for you to know:
- To not care what other people think of you because as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters.
- You can always talk to me, no matter how crazy whatever it is may seem to you. I will always be here to listen. The world is a rough place and I want you to know that you always have me and your Dad to come to. I wish I could protect you from all the hurt you will eventually go through but I know I can’t. What I can do is promise you that I’ll do everything possible to give you the tools you need to face the world, and to prepare you for your future.
- Don’t fight your curls. They are beautiful and they make you so special.
- Always look after your sister, as she will for you. Friends will come and go but you will always have each other.
- Take care of yourself and your body. All that stuff they say is actually true. It took me a long time to truly learn this but it’s amazing how much is affected by what we eat and drink, including our mental health. Protect yourself and learn about your body and what it needs.
- That the love I have for you is unconditional and it always will be. There will be many times in life that you might be afraid of letting me and your Dad down, or of making us upset. I want you to know that we love you no matter what, and we always will. There is nothing you could ever do or say that will change that. We love you and we will always be here to help guide you.
There is a fire inside you that burns so bright and I promise, as your Mommy, to make sure that never goes out.
I love you, my wild child, and I always will.