Dear Sofie

Dear Sofie,BbehC1OCIAAXaN3

Every day I want to tell you how much I love you, but it seems that there are too many ways to tell you and not enough hours in the day. But I’ll try to tell you as best I can.

I love the way you cross your legs when you’re cuddling or sitting in my lap. You are a little lady, and you seem more like a little girl than a little baby. (But don’t rush it, you’re still my little baby.) I love the way you talk to me so seriously, as though you never had something more important to say. I could listen to you for hours and I will. Whatever you have to say, my ears are listening and so is my heart. I love how your whole face lights up and your face dimples when you see me, especially after waking up from a nap. You are gorgeous, and your smile is infectious. I love the way you flap your arms when you get excited. You look a little like a windmill, but you’re my windmill, and I love you.

I love the faces that you make, with your raised eyebrows and your pouty looks, your big smiles. I love how you bury your face in my shoulder when you’re happy or when you’re tired, or when you just want to cuddle.

I love the way you look at the world. You are so interested in everything and you watch the world quietly, taking in every piece of it. You are such a talkative little girl, full of joy and baby squeals, yet you are calm and full of peace when you are with me.

I love to think about your future and who you will be. Even two months from now when you’re sitting up on your own, or four months when you are learning to crawl. I’m excited to see that little baby girl, excited to see her excitement for the world grow.

You bring me so much joy, and I know you bring your daddy joy too. We love you more than we could ever say. You are our little love and I am overwhelmed with joy that I get to be your mama.

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Milestones.

The other day I picked up my baby girl and noticed that she was a little bigger than the day before. Not fatter or chubbier, just bigger, and a little heavier to carry. Some days I look at her and I see a change in her face. It’s not a big change that I can see, or even something I can put my finger on, but it’s there and it’s different. She’s growing up, little by little, right before my eyes.

She doesn’t have the same newborn look that she had when we buckled her into her car seat for the first time to go home from the hospital. She doesn’t struggle to hold her head up. In fact, she’s becoming an expert at that and at strengthening her abs by trying to sit up by herself. She loves practicing standing as she pushes her feet into my lap. Her eyes get big and wide, and she flaps her arms up and down as she revels in what she’s doing. She grunts and babbles as if to say, “Look at me, mommy! I’m doing it!”

She’s reaching all sorts of milestones lately. Her first walk in a stroller — she slept for the whole walk. Her first train ride to visit my aunt and uncle in Oregon. Her first story time — she sat through four stories without fussing. Her first tear-free bath, and now we’re on to bathing with smiles. The first time she had a bath, you couldn’t convince me that she would enjoy them one day. Now it’s hard to believe she ever didn’t.

She’s long passed her first smile and is now a professional smiler, flashing all sorts of cute baby smiles to mom and dad and grandma. Maybe she’s learned that her smile makes us give her a big smile too. And I almost cried when she looked at me in the mirror and smiled when she recognized that it was me. She’s “talking” every waking hour (she gets that from both her mom and her dad). She’s outgrowing her three months clothes and size one diapers, though she’s not even two months old!

I’m happy that she’s growing. She’s happy and healthy, and growing like a weed — a very beautiful weed at that. But if it slowed down just a little bit, I wouldn’t protest.

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A letter to Sofia.

I didn’t know I could fall in love so fast, but baby girl, you stole my heart the moment I felt you free from inside me. The moment I saw you, that was the end. It was the end of ever thinking I could live without you.IMG_1209

And even before that I loved you. I loved you when the pregnancy test was positive. I loved you when I heard your heartbeat for the first time. (I laughed because I was so full of joy.) I loved you when I felt you kick. I loved you when my body hurt so bad that I could hardly move. I loved you when I felt fat because you were growing so big inside me. I loved you when I felt pain in my side and in my back from carrying you. I loved you with every contraction. With every bit of agony, I loved you. I loved you when I couldn’t see the end of the pain. And when it finally did end, it was so easy to forget. All I knew was how much I loved you.

I loved you then, and I love you even more now. My love for you grows with every day I know you. My love for you is more than you can fathom.

You’ve only been here for four days, but from the moment you were conceived, you were with me. Your heart beat with my blood, your bones grew with the strength I gave you. Now it’s your turn to face the world, but don’t think you’ll ever be alone. Your heart still beats with the blood I gave you and your bones will grow with the love of your daddy and I.

You will never walk alone. We’ll be here to hold you. We’ll be here to comfort you, support you, and cheer you on.

Baby girl, I wish I could tell you how much I love you, but with all the words in every language I could never find the right ones to tell you how big this love is. I hope you catch glimpses when I kiss you. I hope you can see it when I hold you close to me, when I look at you, and hope you can feel it when I tell you that I love you.

I hope you always know you’re beautiful. When you were born I couldn’t stop saying how pretty you were. “She’s so pretty,” I said to the nurse. “She’s so pretty,” I said to my mom. “She’s so pretty,” I said to your daddy. Everyone in the room knew you were beautiful, but I couldn’t stop saying it out loud. “You are beautiful,” I said to your sweet dimpled face.

I hope your heart is never broken. I hope you never get older. I hope you don’t grow too big to fit in my arms when I carry you. But a day will come when life is not easy for you. A day will come when I forget that you used to be so small. But sweet girl, you’ll always be my baby. You’ll always be my girl. You are the blood of my blood, the bones of my bones, the flesh of my flesh. You are the heart of my heart. And sweet baby girl, I will always love you.

Little one.

There’s a little one inside of me who is dying to get out. Her heart beats faster than mine, perhaps for the anticipation of the coming days when she will get to see the world. She won’t see the brokenness like I do. Not for many years anyway.

She’ll see the smile of her mommy who loves her and she’ll feel her daddy’s strong hands and know his love for her. She’ll know that her dad will always be there for her. She will meet her grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles, and she’ll feel loved and adored. And as she grows, she’ll learn to smile, to laugh, to be full of joy.

She’s practicing her future-goal-making kicks, and stretching her limbs to the edge of her small home. She’s growing her eyebrows and the lids that cover her beautiful eyes. God only knows if she’ll have chocolate eyes like her daddy or green eyes like her mom, and only time will tell. She’s learning how to hear her daddy sing and her heartbeat is growing stronger. Soon he’ll be able to hear the heart that is growing inside his little girl.

I dream that this little one will love to see the world as much as her mom and dad, and that she’ll find other things to be passionate about — maybe she’ll love soccer like her Uncle Seth, photography like Uncle Nathan, or music like her Aunt Lucy. Or maybe she won’t love any of those things. She’ll learn to love whatever God puts in her heart and she’ll be passionate about it in her own way.

There are two heart beats inside of me. Two brains. Two souls. There’s a little one that’s growing inside of me, and I can’t wait to meet her.

Sofia Anariba, coming August 31, 2013.