Cate 15 Months

{I started writing this a few days after your fifteen month day and it kept getting pushed to my drafts folder.And here I am over a month late finally publishing this post.}

Dear Cate,

Rarely do I make these letters public for everyone to read because I find myself writing deeply, purposefully and truly to you when you hit these milestones in life.  But, today I wanted to share with the world you and why I love you unconditionally.    
Fifteen months ago you completed our family.  Most people would classify you as a toddler, but I don’t. You are still my baby girl.   Maybe because I know in the depths of my heart you are my last I am trying to hang on to the baby in you just a little bit longer. Or maybe because you are so small and your features are so delicate although your hair and temperament tell a different story. 

Fifteen months later I am on a roller coaster with you either exasperated by your screaming for “ju” or so clearly amazed by your ability to follow simple directions “go get your shoes” or “throw that in the garbage”  that I am speechless.   At some point every day I catch myself staring in awe of how busy you are just doing.  Busy defines you. You never stop moving and always want to be in the middle of everything. The center of attention at all times. 

You are spunky and loud and emotional.  You love completely and hug and kiss with sound and all and your absolute favorite place to be is in your daddy’s or my arms.  You want to be in the mix and close.  You love to read books on your daddy’s lap and there is not a day that you don’t beg me to pick you up and usually I oblige.  You love to be snuggled and you snuggle back.  You let us rock you willing- resting your head on our shoulders and usually dozing to sleep the minute we rock.    

You hang on to toys and do not relent when your brother wants them.  And when he reaches, you scream.  You really let us know.  But, then you usually give it to him reminding your daddy and me just how innocent and sweet you can be.  You love your brother… man do you love him. Usually going up to his feet and saying “ticka ticka” trying to get him to laugh. Most days, he politely tells you he is not interested and to go away please. But those days when he does want to play your day is made.  

You are aggressive and stubborn. You laugh when we tell you no, you smile at us when you get what you want and shake your head yes and no with such emotion it is hard not to laugh.  Sometimes, you remind us you are still so young when we ask “Cate, do you want to jump off a cliff?” and you shake your head with emotion yes and we know that you are still so small and still needing us. 

Your entire life you have done things on your own time. We keep willing you to meet milestones when you are “supposed to” and yet you don’t. At one year no one was worried that you weren’t walking but we were told that if you weren’t by 15 months that was another story and an issue. And in your true form, you walked at 14.5 months. On your own time.   

I look at your daddy when you are being you and I tell him he is your daughter.  But, really Cate, fifteen months later, you are mine. You are me in every way, shape and form and the truth is that maybe that is why I love you fiercely yet you drive me crazy.  You are me.  I am not sure that is a good thing. Heck, it scares the hell out of me if I am being honest.  Meeting my match some would say.  I worry you got the worst of me. The bad things…the stubborn temperament, the need to be busy and the pure emotional way you respond to everything.   

You wore your first dress this month complete with tights. And your brother kept asking how you put them on and why you were wearing them.  And I was lost in my own thoughts seeing leotards and ballet flats, homecoming dresses and wedding dresses. You dressed up and you were beautiful…and you are mine.

And then I think about you and how much I want you to stay young, be little and keep your innocence as long as you can.  And I tell you with raw honesty that you growing up scares the hell out of me because the world little girl has changed so much. So much that some days I don’t think I am equipped to guide you or your brother through it.  The innocence that I grew up with is gone somehow.  We live in a world where technology and violence dominate the news and yet I want you to know none of it.  I want your worries to be my responsibility so that you can be carefree.   Run with your shoes off, try to something new without fear of failure and live.  Just live with innocence, explore with recklessness and le me guide you as you navigate life.

I love you baby girl.  Stay young and innocent a bit longer okay?