Today Annabelle turns 23 months old. Amazing. I feel like every time I get a handle on how big she’s getting it is time to get used to another number, another stage.
So far I have found every stage more fun than the last. Just as you get used to things they change…new challenges but also new wonderfulness.
I remember the first time Annabelle rolled over. She was four months old and we were in the middle of a Baby and Me Yoga Class. I was standing with my hands in prayer while Annabelle lay on my mat in front of me. I remember watching in amazement when, seemingly out of nowhere, she used all of her strength to flip herself over, landing on her tummy and looking around in surprise, her little arms still pinned underneath her. I remember gasping out loud and feeling that my heart might literally burst from the amount of love and pride I felt in that moment for her little accomplishment. I looked around to see if anyone else has witnessed the amazing feat that had just occurred. No one did.
Later on as I was telling Mike about what she had done and how proud I had been of her, we tried to imagine how we will feel when she does something really incredible…like when she can, say, write her own name…or if she scores a goal in her little soccer game…or if she learns to do a cartwheel…or if she gets a good grade on a test and can’t wait to run home and tell us about it…or when she graduates high school…or…if she gets married. Gulp. I tear up just writing that.
With every new stage there is something sad to say goodbye to, but something amazing to discover. I can still cry thinking about the moment I realized Annabelle would no longer fall asleep in my arms. I remember having a complete melt down. I’m talking the full on “ugly cry” as Oprah calls it. I felt as though I had missed it. Like maybe I hadn’t held her enough. Maybe I hadn’t appreciated enough every little one of the cozy naps she took in my arms. Maybe I hadn’t stared at her sweetly sleeping face enough. Which, of course, was ridiculous. I had cherished every little minute of it. It was just heartbreaking to know it was time to say goodbye to those moments, full on heart-ripping-out-of-my-chest, heartbreaking.
But, you know what Annabelle can do now that she couldn’t do then? She can run as fast as her little legs will carry her and throw herself into my arms squealing “MOMMY!”
I feel as though Mike and I have been really good about living in the moment with her and appreciating every stage…of course there were the occasional, I can’t wait until she smiles, until she laughs, until she says mommy…but for the most part really living in the moment. And yet, I still can’t believe she is 23 months old today.
When she was born I decided I would take a photo of her each month with a little sign that said the date and how many months she was. Before she was even a month old I had printed out all the signs for her first year and tucked them away in her little binder, so they would be easy to grab each month.
It’s become our routine. Each month on the 18th we take a monthly photo. My original idea was to do these photos until she turned one, but then she got to one and I didn’t want to stop. After all, I rationalized, until children turn two parents always give their child’s age in months…so I’ll probably stop then. When she’s two. Maybe.
I just had this image of Annabelle as a teenager rolling her eyes at me while I snap a photo of her holding a sign that reads “I am 181 Months Today! August 18, 2025.”
P.S. Mike LOVED his little Father’s Day gift. The best part was that Annabelle “helped” him open it, and as soon as she saw it she screamed “A Painting!”, as if she was just as surprised by it as he was….adorable.