Approaching the First Mile

I am trying to be so business-like about a first birthday that is supposedly occurring this Saturday for someone in our household. I have been sanitizing and putting babyish things in storage, squirreling away clothes that do not fit, and shelving all of the First Year Instructional books like I am some kind of nurse orderly, dutiful and unsentimental. But the truth is that my heart is so heavy. My baby is inching swiftly away from babyhood and I am devastated. I did not think I would be like this, that the pangs of Let Them Be Little would debilitate me as they have. I met another mother this morning who told me she cried when her son turned one and it didn't make me feel any better. I wanted to grab her arm and ask her AND THEN WHAT? What did you do after you were done crying?

I am embracing all the nuances that surface in a day with my daughter, how last week she was pleased to be contained to her little baby bath tub and this week she's mounting the side of the big tub, like, I think I'm getting a little pruney, yeah...time's up. She's still a little peanut, but she is increasingly so big in my eyes, spunky and strong, with a set of lungs that could wake the deaf dead. But I feel protective over the waning baby in my arms. I want her to have her own friends and adventures and suntans and sleepovers, but I ache to think about the betrayals and break-ups and bug bites not so far down the road for her. The ones that I will see coming and the ones that I too will be completely blindsided from anticipating, and for which I will not have a modicum of insight on how to deal with, because I've never done this before.

But she's still my infant for a little while longer. Oh please. Even when she's one hundred years-old, she'll still be my Baby Girl.