my dear sylvie,
today you are 8 months old. 2/3 of a year. 243 days. in past months your birthday crept up on me. each time i couldn't believe how old you were. this month feels different. you seem 8 months old. i can think back on how much time has passed and easily believe it. the simultaneous slow and fast movement of our days together can be tangibly measured in how well you sit up and speak, how close you are to crawling. what really gets my goat is not that 8 months have passed us by. no. rather, it is that in 4 short months we will celebrate a year together. THAT, sweet girl, is difficult to believe.
you have mastered so much this month. baths in the big tub. saying "mama" with clear intent. petting the dog. feeding yourself. i look at pictures of you and all trace of my scrawny, purple newborn is gone. your brown eyes have been replaced by blue. your once slight cheeks are now full and round. your hair has lightened from black to pale brown. your skin, which once resembled your father's, is now pale and blue-tinged like mine. you are no longer helpless and immobile. however, there is one newborn trait you have yet to lose: your huge gummy smile. you still have no teeth, despite actively teething for over 4 months now. i hope some relief comes to you soon. your increasing fussiness as of late leads me to believe that those pearly whites are not far from poking through.
month 8 saw spring come tip-toeing around our door, only to be chased away again and again. now i think it is safe to say that the sun's warmth is here to stay. you love sitting outside with bare feet and arms. you love to swing and roll around in the grass. i watch you watch the leaves rustle or a squirrel dart by and i know you are truly pondering all that is around you. i can almost see the gears spinning in your head. i see real thought and introspection come through in your eyes. i see grace in you. it is magic.
YOU, dear girl, are quite the flirt. you will make eyes at any man in any given situation. the golfing buddies at the table next to ours, your grandfathers, pimply teenage boys. it does not matter. you bat your long, dark lashes, put your finger in your drooly mouth, and smile. i think we are in for some trouble in about 13 years. i don't even want to think about it. i know one day you will love someone and that one day you will cry when that love is gone. these days, though challenging in their own way, are the simplest you will ever have. i treasure that simplicity.
as i write this your father is putting you to sleep for the night. tonight you are restless. you are crying. it never gets easier to hear. never. lately you want your own space when you cry. you thrash and arch in my arms until i put you down. it's as if you need space to sort through your emotions. you are still so little, too little to feel more than one overwhelming feeling at a time. yet, as your crying turns calm in your crib, i marvel at how BIG you are. you soothe yourself. a twinge of pain crosses my heart as i realize tonight my arms are not needed.
i try often to fathom how much i love you. i tell you, "i love you THIS much" and stretch my arms out as far as they will reach. that doesn't even begin to cover it. it is an unquantifiable thing, this love. it stretches to the ends of the universe and back again. nothing exists that can measure it. no words exist to adequately describe it. you'll just have to trust in me when i tell you it is REAL and it is HUGE and it will NEVER diminish or cease.
in 8 short months you have become everything to your father and me. you have forced us to reevaluate ourselves and to change what always needed changing. we love each other more because of our love for you. everything has turned upside down in the most incredible way. each day we strive to be better for you. you force us to look outside of ourselves, and we thank you for that.
i suppose what i am trying to say with all of these words is that i love you. wholly. unfalteringly. with a forever love. you are the reason for every misstep and mistake that has brought me to today. you are the final piece to life's big puzzle. i love you.
with all the love in my heart,