Lindsay Madison Flayhart Stoller came into the world exactly at 8:20 a.m. weighing exactly 7 pounds. That is the last time anything in my life was exact.
These days, I’m always at least 20 minutes late, a fact that annoys my otherwise punctual husband to no end. I used to thoroughly clean my home weekly, now I can only manage a couple of quick swipes with a Clorox wipe. I can’t articulate an intelligent argument about our country’s healthcare system, however I could write a dissertation on diapers. I have left the house wearing my shirt inside-out, I don’t remember the last time I had a pedicure or manicure, and my husband has lovingly begun to refer to me as Chewbacka.
Welcome to motherhood.
Mentally, I was prepared for a year of chaos, sleep-deprivation, lack of time, and new responsibilities. What I wasn’t prepared for was just how happy all that chaos would make me feel, even on the days I need five cups of coffee to get through the morning, when the button on my pre-maternity pants pops off in a meeting, or when I drive to the train station biting back tears because I just left my baby in someone else’s arms.
Having a child has fundamentally changed who I am—not just my appearance or my lifestyle, but how I relate to the world. I feel things much more deeply. I get “it” -it being everything from a mushy commercial to why my mother becomes frantic if I don’t return her phone call within 24 hours. My number one priority in life is unquestionably my child. It’s like after my daughter was born I began to see the world in color, where previously I saw it only in black and white. (I’m pretty sure I lifted that line somewhere, so don’t quote me.)
So, even with all the chaos, this has hands down been the best year of my life. I just can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I became a mom. The time has gone by so fast—it seems like just yesterday she was kicking me from the inside, demanding more chocolate. (Ok, that was all me.)
I am excited for the next year when Lindsay will say her first real words, take her first steps–yet I can’t help but miss my little baby. The itty-bitty that slept on my chest to hear my heartbeat and who looked up at me as though I was the center of the universe.
If I could make one wish on Lindsay’s first birthday, it would be for a “do over” of the entire year, to slow time until I was ready for the next stage. But, since I know that wish can’t come true, I will wish for Lindsay all of the things that can— and I hope will—come true.
I wish for you to always know how smart, funny, beautiful and special you are.
I wish for you to always feel how much your father and I love you.
I wish for you that I never do anything “uncool” that embarrasses you in front of your friends, but when I do that you will laugh with me. And for God’s sake, please tell me if I’m wearing “mom jeans.”
I wish for you to be Daddy’s little girl, but never a spoiled princess.
I wish for you to always want my time and attention, my hugs and kisses.
I wish for you to always go through life happy and healthy.
I wish for you a better world. I promise to do my best to prepare and protect you from it.
I wish that you will love your Jewish heritage, culture and religion, and that you will give back to the community when you are older.
I wish that you will understand why your father can’t be home a lot of evenings or weekends, because a Rabbi’s schedule isn’t 9-to-5.
I wish for you to have the strength, courage and confidence to dance to the beat of your own drummer.
I wish for you to never be a mean girl, or one of their targets.
I wish for you to never measure your self-worth by your appearance, male-attention, or by a number on the scale.
I wish for you to have your Daddy’s intelligence, sense of humor and his legs (they look great in a skirt), and Mommy’s street-smarts.
I wish that you won’t hate that your birthday is on Valentine’s Day—believe me, I tried convincing the doctor to wait a day.
I wish that even when you hate me, you still love me. And will understand that you will always be my little Bunny, and no matter where you want to runaway to, I will find you and love you.
Happy First Birthday Lindsay. I love you.