The First Year

April 17 was a day in which my life was radically changed. It wasn’t changed for the better. It wasn’t changed for the worse. I wasn’t completed because I wasn’t incomplete beforehand, just as I wasn’t incomplete before I married my spouse. I am a complete person and life keeps finding ways of making me more and more completed. It’s as though I started as a jigsaw puzzle with all white pieces; I found how they connected. My experiences colored them to make me the person who I am today. There’s always room for more color, more design, and there’s always the option of coloring over old experiences with new ones, but the puzzle is already a solid piece.

April 17 is the day that my daughter was born and I became a legal mother. I had filled the role of ‘mother’ before, but this time, the script was gone and I stepped into a life thread, not a part. Her first birthday is quickly approaching. She grew so quickly from a tiny creature who slept for hours on end on my chest to this personality who walks and thinks and loves books and elephants and trees.

April 17 will always be her day, to her. But to me, it will always be mine. It’s a day I’ll never forget. No matter any children that follow her, it is the day my life changed in a way that I will never be able to alter: her design impacted me in permanent marker and cannot be washed away. For years, I will be supporting crazy themes and slumber parties and searching after coveted gifts to surprise her. I hope beyond hope that those coveted gifts aren’t only items but are also experiences. I hope she feels that experiences are more gripping than objects. I will make her cakes and special dinners until one day it will be time to celebrate and she won’t be with me. She will chose to be away. She will chose friends to be with over me. One day, I hope she is able to chose her love and make choices with them over me. But no matter how sharp the sting, it will always be softened by knowing that April 17 is not only her beginning, but mine, too. And I still will celebrate, even without her.

April 17 is the day of my biggest change and the beginning of the greatest changing journey I will be a part of, for as she must change, so must I. While her future will hold parties for her, this first year is a celebration for me. I survived the biggest change yet to come to my life. I did not do it alone. The thankfulness I feel towards that fact overwhelms me, and I want to celebrate the people who did it with me. My daughter is the catalyst of the change in my life, but it is still my change. The significance of the day to me doesn’t take away the significance of the day to her: they feed off of and empower each other. It’s something worth celebrating, for both of us.

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