To my Sweet Tessa, on your first birthday.

My littlest Love:

Having another child presents a unique situation. Before they come, you’re so happy and enjoying your life with your little family that you don’t even realize anything is missing. The days are short and the nights are long (although hopefully those long nights don’t last too long) and things are just super fun, busy and admittedly, a little exhausting.

And then your next child comes and you suddenly cannot imagine life without your family’s newest member. And it’s insane because prior to that, you never knew something was missing.

To my Sweet Tessa, on your first birthday | The Life Jolie

But there is not a single day that goes by that I don’t reflect on the fact that you are the perfect piece to our family puzzle. Though we didn’t realize you were missing at the time, once you were here the overall feeling of being complete was overwhelming. You fit seamlessly into the fold and having you here is so very right.

I’ve heard people say that when they’re pregnant with their second child, they can’t imagine how they will ever be able to love another as much as they love that first kid. I really don’t think they mean it to be as harsh as it sounds, but simply that they have never before experienced loving more children than the one they’re used to loving and so they don’t really know what to expect.

To my Sweet Tessa, on your first birthday | The Life Jolie

And when people told me this while I was pregnant with you, I quietly nodded because I couldn’t really relate to what they were saying. You see, from the moment I found out I was pregnant with you (and actually even before that) my already full heart made plenty of room for you along with your sister and your Daddy, and of course Macie Bear. I knew from the very start that you were meant for our family and I already loved you fully and entirely.

Speaking of when I was pregnant, I had a hunch from the start that you might be my wild one. Your sister was very specific about her schedule in terms of when she would move and where she would move (seriously, it was like clockwork!).

To my Sweet Tessa, on your first birthday | The Life Jolie

You, on the other hand, were not about the scheduled life. You did what you wanted, when you wanted. And not in the same spot, either. There were times when I swear you would spread out all your arms and legs at once in a “starfish” style position. One night, you even did the wave in there!

It’s pretty interesting because you definitely challenge us in ways that people usually associate with “the wild child” in their family unit. You seem to get quite the kick out of ignoring our directions not to go near something, flashing us a mischievous little smile and continuing on with a fierce gleam in your eye.

To my Sweet Tessa, on your first birthday | The Life Jolie

You are totally and completely fearless. You will not hesitate to climb right up onto the kids chair that came with the table and chairs set your Nana and Papi got you and A for Christmas, and bounce happily once you get up there as well as stand on it. You live for climbing the stairs and being help upside down. You like to make a game of attempting to roll off our bed, much to our terror.

And the minute we pulled out the rocking horse Nana and Papi got you for your birthday, we all put you on there expecting you to not really know what to do. And to our surprise and amusement, you immediately started rocking with that same giant grin and your cute little tongue sticking out.

To my Sweet Tessa, on your first birthday | The Life Jolie

But even through these spirited moments, you still maintain your extremely chill, relaxed demeanor. The vast majority of the time, you’re just a very easy baby. You constantly have a bright, happy, sunshine-y smile that lights up every room and the infectious smile rubs off on everyone around you.

You resemble both Daddy and I and look SO much like your sister. But you looks favor your Daddy. There are baby photos of him that look almost identical to you and it warms my heart, even on the coldest of days.

Your love for your family is so very obvious. When we come to pick you up from daycare you get a giant grin on your face the minute you see us. And you especially love your sister. You follow her around and constantly want to be a part of everything she is doing.

To my Sweet Tessa, on your first birthday | The Life Jolie

I think mealtimes are a favorite time for you. Part of this is because you absolutely love sitting at the table with us and being included. But also because you adore eating and eat quite a bit of whatever we put in front of you. It’s such a pleasure to watch you enjoy food so much and so sweet to see how happy you are when your sister feeds you (which she loves to do as well!).

You clap your hands and get extra amused when I sing Itsy, Bitsy Spider to you. Once in a while, you even give a kiss! You get very happy when you see any of your grandparents, whether in person or on Facetime.

The end of the nursing part of our relationship is fast approaching. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little sad about this. It is a stark reminder of how fast this year has gone. I could have sworn we just returned from the hospital! But time continues to fly and before I know it, you’ll be walking and then talking. I will cherish our nursing sessions forever. We made it and I am so very proud of us!

To my Sweet Tessa, on your first birthday | The Life Jolie

I’m not sure I’ll ever find the words to fully express how much I love you and how happy I am that you’re here. You are a dream come true and a result of so much love and so many prayers. It is a privilege to be your Mommy and to watch you grow up.

You will continue to be an important part of our family and we will always want you and need you in our life. Thank you for being my littlest Love. No matter how old and how big you get, you will always be my baby and nothing brings me more joy.

I love you forever and ever and ever,

Your Mommy


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