On the eve of Thanksgiving, I am overcome with gratitude today for the last year we’ve have the privilege to share with this sweet baby girl. A year ago this morning at 8:21, our bubbly little Emerson Gray was born. Some days I can hardly believe she’s here and other days I can hardly believe we ever managed to exist without her. Last night, as they helped me prep for today’s photo shoot, her big brothers declared in all of their teenaged wisdom that she was the greatest gift they’d ever received. To be fair, that about sums it up perfectly. She spent the evening squealing and chasing them around as fast as she could in her warp speed of a crawl and when she snuggled up with mommy to get ready for bed, I had a hard time lying her down in her crib. This morning, with the sun just peaking out, with my coffee mug steaming, with my eyes watering up with tears, I am every mother’s cliché. Oh the ways this tiniest of little humans has changed our hearts forever.
Emerson and I always make a point of running our errands during the day when it’s a little less busy. We’ve now made it one full year without daycare (with ample assistance from her Nana and her Aunt Megan on shoot days), so it’s always easiest for me to juggle the shopping and the banking and all of those things during the day. Now, it has just become the thing that we do. We get our shopping cart and we stroll through the aisles passing out smiles and blowing kisses. If I had a nickel for every little old man or sweet old lady who stopped us to marvel over her giggle or hold her hand for a moment in the bread aisle, I’d be a millionaire. One thing I’ve realized is that this tiny human is pretty special in her ability to connect with people. Mind you, absolutely all babies are glorious and joy inducing, but this magical little girl just radiates happiness. She gleefully claps for strangers, she enthusiastically waves goodbye to our mailman and she happily throws herself into the arms of the people she loves.
While her favorite human is absolutely her daddy, she delights in being her mommy’s sidekick. She follows me back and forth across the house numerous times a day and often sits on my lap shaking her tiny wooden maracas while I cull images and write blog posts. She has been present for dozens of photo shoots and is already quite the little assistant stylist, usually stealing props and trying to sample the goods while we’re shooting recipes. Her big brothers are the absolute light of her life, and they’ve made promises to spoil her every day of her life. (I’m pretty sure that’s not a threat.) Her big sisters are already her best friends, helping pick out her outfits and cuddling with her to read books. As long as it involves having fun, she’s the chillest little baby and game for just about anything, which I’m pretty sure is a trait she got from both of her parents.
At twelve months old, Emerson is not yet quite walking, but climbs and crawls with wild abandon. She blows kisses, gives high five, claps merrily, goes crazy over playing peek-a-boo, gives sweet little open-mouthed kisses, loves music and shaking her tiny booty to the beat, shrieks regularly with laughter, sleeps an easy and glorious 11 to 12 hours a night, and loves food. She will eat just about anything we put in front of her (usually some combination of veggies, beans or eggs) although bananas and avocado are both easy contenders for her favorite. She loves petting her doggie, playing with blocks, taking baths, story time and recently has decided she’s not the biggest fan of car rides or sitting properly in a shopping cart. Occasionally she’ll still tolerate Mommy’s penchant for putting bows in her hair.
At twelve months old, she is in so many ways the keeper of our dreams. When we look at her, in this big crazy world we’re living in, we feel hope for the world and for the next generation. We’re already working hard to raise her to be kind, loving and accepting. We talk regularly about the values we want to instill in her and the things we will fight every day to steel her against, namely hate, intolerance and bigotry. This week, we sponsored a family of nine for Thanksgiving dinner along with a couple of friends, and even though the snow was falling in sheets, I made sure to bring her along with me to deliver the food we had bought and prepared. I want her to always be a part of this new tradition of ours and I want her to grow up witnessing and delighting in acts of kindness. Every day my heart is full of gratitude for this incredible baby human in our midst and I am more committed than ever to spread love every day like confetti. Happy 1st birthday, sweet Baby E! You are so very very loved.
If you’d like to catch up on Baby E’s first year and other baby things check out these posts:
- Our baby shower
- Emerson’s birth story
- Our favorite newborn baby essentials
- Emerson’s nursery tour
- Our newborn photos
- How I never planned to have a baby
- And a whole lot more
[All photos by our dear friend/family photographer Alice G. Patterson. | Good genes from Daddy + Mommy.]