One month.

To my darling Luci Belle,

Today is your one-month birthday. One month ago today, I didn’t yet understand the fierceness of a mother’s love. And then, within the first minute of your life, it took me completely off-guard. It’s so different than the love I have for anyone else in this world. This love is one that feels a little risky, more dangerous. It feels like I’ve now opened up my heart and allowed it to walk around outside my body, in your body. It is a little bit scary because now I love someone who is definitely going to leave one day, to at some point break my heart, to perhaps move halfway across the world after she graduates high school. And I’m going to have to let it happen, to let you make your own decisions. Loving you, Luci Belle, is just scratching the surface of understanding God’s love for me. Your utter dependence on me for food, sleep, security, warmth, is only a shadow of how much I need God everyday, often without realizing it.

Some of the things you absolutely love right now: flailing and waving your arms like you’re conducting a symphony, and pumping your left leg over and over like you’re trying to jumpstart a motorcycle. After all the effort I put into decorating your nursery, I figured it was mainly just for me to selfishly enjoy and that you wouldn’t even notice. But instead, whenever we bring you into your room, you immediately quiet down and look around in wonder, as if you’re taking in all the soothing sights, textures, and colors. This makes me so happy. It’s amazing to see you begin to discover all the beautiful things in this world.

You also love it when Daddy swaddles you in your favorite blanket and gently bounces you until you fall asleep. You love Norah Jones, Rosie Thomas and Jason Mraz as background music, the sound of ocean waves, and when I swish my hair gently over your face until you almost-giggle. We’ve only heard your real-giggle twice, and it was pretty much the sweetest sound in the world.

One of my favorite things is to look down at you on my chest and see you absolutely beaming with a huge grin as you sleep. What could you possibly be dreaming about that is that wonderful? Milk, milk, and more milk? And then there’s your “lounging pose” when I hold you in the crook of my arm and you rest one hand nonchalantly against your cheek as we walk around the house together. Sometimes when I’m holding you, you’ll fix your eyes on something invisible just past my face or shoulder, and you smile so big, and I say to your Daddy, “I think she sees angels.”

In the last month, my tummy went from a huge hardened watermelon to a mushy gelatinous pooch. I’ve probably had 24 hours of sleep total and my fair share of meltdowns. But that’s okay, because I will never, ever get back the teeny-tiny you that was put on my chest in the operating room, as your just-born eyes tried to focus and squinted from the bright lights. I know that in the grand scheme of things, one month of life isn’t very long. But for me, this is the month that my life changed, both for the difficulty and wonderfulness of it.