Today is September 1st. To many people this date signifies a lot of things: the unofficial start of Fall; football; Pumpkin Spice; boot weather. This year, September 1st means that in a little more than 2 weeks, my first born baby girl will be a baby no longer. The first birthday looms just around the corner.
It’s a bittersweet time; the symbolic ending of the baby days and an entrance into the adventures of childhood. Now the phrase “my baby” will feel a bit less comfortable on my lips; replaced with the more expansive “my little girl” or “my daughter.”
To celebrate this momentous occasion, Nola and I are embarking on what I hope will be the first of many Mommy & Me trips – a quick weekend getaway to Dallas to see one of my very dearest friends. I can’t lie and say that I haven’t been anxious about this trip. I’ve wrestled many nights back and forth between whether I should go or not: is she too young? Will she sleep? Will she scream during the entire 2 hour flight? Those questions in addition to all the other logistical concerns of traveling with a small child have kept me up many nights. In the end though, we are embarking on this journey, for some important reasons that she may not realize now, but I hope in time and through other similar experiences, she will grow to appreciate and embrace. Nola, on this trip, I want you to know:
The people in your life matter
I’ve known Auntie Chitra for over 10 years – longer than I’ve known daddy. This is a woman with whom Mommy has shared many laughs, a few tears, and so many experiences of growing, up, and ours is a friendship that has sustained many ups and downs and distances through the years. Auntie Chitra stayed the night when I moved into my first apartment, because I had never been on my own before, and though I was ready for that step, I was scared to be by myself in a new place. She ate Velveeta shells & cheese with me on the floor of that first apartment, because I didn’t have any furniture yet. We played mini golf, spent Saturdays shopping or at the pool, danced till our feet hurt, took silly pictures in bathroom mirrors, sang along to popular songs, agonized and over-analyzed conversations with boys, and took a blink and you’ll miss it road trip to see a concert in another state. She was there at the beginning when I met Daddy, and she stood next to me when we said our “I Do’s” many years later. She celebrated with me at my baby shower and she loved you before you were born
There is so much more to the World than your home
You were born in the Midwest. Your dad and I grew up in the Midwest. Most of your family is here. And I know – it can be so easy to think that the world resides in your neighborhood, your circle of friends, your school, your job, your community. Baby girl, this is only a small part of the great big world that holds countless opportunities for you. Auntie was born in India, raised in Africa and pursued her education in the US. In life you will encounter people from different backgrounds, different countries, different experiences. Embrace that – get to know people for who they are, and let their experiences enrich your life and teach you. The ability to travel and see the world and have different experiences is a gift. I hope you learn to love the journey and that someday you’ll look back on our travels together with gratitude
You can do things that scare you
This one is just as much for Mommy as it is for you. It’s scary to come out of your comfort zone. There are a million “what if’s” that go through your head when you’re about to do something for the first time. But there are many things in life that will be scary – you can do them. You are brave, and tough and you will come out stronger for facing the things that scare you.
I want to see the every day through your eyes
I can’t wait to watch you wave at the passengers in the security line, press your tiny hands and face against the giant airport window, or bounce up and down on my lap in the flight (though if you could sleep for just a little bit, that would be great too.) There are many amazing things in the world, and I can’t wait to see you experience them for the first time.
And now, we are off to enjoy some good-for-the-soul friend time, and some priceless mommy/daughter bonding. Before I know it, Noly will begin to loosen the tethers of baby hood and begin to spread her tiny wings into toddler hood, then childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. It will happen long before I’m ready, but I’m thankful for today, for this moment, for this weekend to be together and share in the magic newness of this experience, the first of many. And if you don’t already, be sure to follow me on Instagram for more of our adventure!