Happy Birthday Eliza

Dear E,

If the first year of birthing and caring for and loving your sister turned me inside out, at times causing me to clutch at her too tightly and at others bringing me to despair that I wasn't clutching at her correctly or that I couldn't clutch her even more, birthing and caring for and loving you has brought me some peace. Sure our house is messier (even with a cleaning service) and I shower even less often than before (if that's possible) but I care less about the stuff that doesn't matter. Even better, it's a bit clearer to me what does matter.

First time motherhood made me want, desperately, to be an expert, to know all the answers. Second-time around, I want to learn how to really see, to let go, to go easy.

I'm not going to lie, this past year has been a difficult one for me and for us as a family. Our cross country move, with a change in our home and every part of our day-to-day lives, unfortunately coincided with your entrance into our family. We had to greet and get to know you in the midst of packing and goodbyes, cross country flights and sleepless nights, raw emotions and big changes, a new home full of boxes and a new life with no real friends. I sometimes catch myself wishing the year could have been different, easier, smoother. But it can't because it happened already, though I still fight that impotent yearning to make everything perfect for you and Z both.

(Perfect is the enemy of good. Perfect is the enemy of good. Perfect is the enemy of good.....)

We learned important lessons ("An FGO! Another F*&#ing Growth Opportunity!" as my father would say) and we've grown through this rough year. Most of all, we've healed (I hope).

When I was pregnant with you, I just flat out didn't believe I could love you as much as I loved your sister. It didn't seem physically possible to contain two such intense loves within the same heart. My mom kept telling me my heart would magically grow, and since I am a second child, I tried extra hard to believe her. I took the leap of faith. I hoped my leap would pan out.

It still boggles my mind, every now and then, that there somehow IS room for both of you in my heart and my memory bank. Even though my attention is more splintered and my time is more limited, the intensity of my love for each of you is miraculously undiluted. I gaze upon you with the same fierce adoration that I have for Z.

(Now I understand, Mom. You were right, as always.)

I can't imagine our family without you now. We wouldn't be the same without your mischievous growl, your sunny smile, your intense physicality, your delighted cackle, your steely determination. You have shown me just how different two babies can be; somehow the differences between you and Z make me see, understand and love her, and you, even more. You have given me perspective and wisdom and flat out joy that I just couldn't have gotten any other way.

It is a privilege to be your mother and I look forward to many more Eliza-inspired FGOs in the years to come.

Happy Birthday Eliza.


your Clueless But Hopeful Mama


Hillary said...

Happy birthday, Eliza!

Also, the phrase FGO is totally going into my daily lexicon.

Fran said...

Eliza shares her birthday with my oldest!! He's turning 10 today... Happy Birthday to her :)

Mommy Daisy said...

Wow! I can't believe she's already a year old! Happy Birthday, Eliza!

Sarah said...

I can't believe it's been a year! I can still vividly recall reading Eliza's birth story- "This Is Not A Cautionary Tale," I believe it was called?- and shivering with terror/amazement. What an auspicious beginning, young lady! Happy birthday! We're glad you FINALLY popped out to join us all!

Good Enough Mom said...

This made my day, made my day, made my day!!! Fabulous! Happy Birthday, little E-L-I-Z-A!

d e v a n said...

Happy, happy birthday!

Marie Green said...

Oh, I loved the video! LOVED IT. So perfect.

I can't believe she's a year old already. What a year it has been for your family.

Happy Birthday, Eliza!

Amy said...

Happy Birthday, Eliza!

Your words, as always, are beautiful and speak to me so much of the last year with my own little one.

Michelle said...

Happy birthday, Eliza. You have an incredible momma who is an inspiration!

Kathi McCracken Dente said...

Fabulous as always! And walking! She could teach T a trick or 2. I love how the girls play together. So cute! Happy Birthday E!

GratefulTwinMom said...

Beautiful post, J. She's so lucky to have such a thoughtful, insightful, and definitely not clueless mama. Happy Birthday, E.

Whimsy said...

Happy happy birthday week to a fabulous girl genius. And happy happy baby's birthday week to an equally fabulous CBHM. This post was just spot on - and helped me to see, actually got me **hoping for** a second one to know and understand these truths you speak about the 2nd time around.

Also: I'm with Hillary, totally taking that FGO to town!

B said...

Beautiful post and video! Happy Birthday, Eliza and happy anniversary of becoming a mommy of two, Mama!

Two Braids said...

Happy Birthday Eliza! The video and letter made my heart melt. Makes me want to have another little squish monster for my daughter to play with and love and get in trouble with! So sweet.

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