Inevitably tardy letter to Neve on her first birthday

Neve at her first birthday party

Dear Neve:

In this age of blogs, when we share every (warts and all) experience as it happens, I sometimes wonder about how we will feel about all this openness years from now.

For eventually, despite my good intentions, you and Lily might be annoyed – perhaps justifiably – about your childhood being parsed and recorded and analyzed in this blog.

And when you finally read something like the post I wrote about not being at all sure about whether or not your dad and I should have a second child, as well as the panicky pre-partum blues essay I wrote while pregnant with you, you might feel stricken with worry about whether I feel I made the right choice.

But you shouldn’t for even a second, baby girl; I fell head over heels for you during your first 24 hours of life, when you firmly insisted that we both sleep right through what was supposed to be your 3 a.m. feeding. “A thousand blessings on your little head, Neve,” I said at the time, as you snoozed the night away. It sounds stupid, I know, but from the start, you seemed like an old soul baby who, for example, knew we could both use the extra rest after a crazy, eleven minute delivery (check out that story here); and this past year has only reconfirmed this idea, frankly.

For it often seems like it simply doesn’t occur to you to throw a fit. Generally, you accept the circumstances you’re in; you play with what you have in front of you; and you smile and laugh easily. Yes, you often suffer separation anxiety when I leave for work – which is hard on us both – but really, this underlines the fact that we have a healthy attachment to each other, and you recover quickly. And while Lily, as a baby, often wigged out when I put her in the stroller – which is why she sat on my shoulders as I walked her to daycare every day for months and months – you make peace with that and just about any other situation (longish car trip, running errands, restaurants) in which you find yourself.

Now I know this may be partly because, as the second child, you don’t really have a choice. Because you’re not, and never will be, the sole center of our family’s world, you just hang on and find enjoyment when and where you can. Plus, you have a highly entertaining big sister to watch. But regardless of why you’re the way you are, your low-key “roll-with-it-ness” makes me and others around you feel calm and at peace – an unexpected gift, to be sure. Continue reading