To my pandemic baby, this isn't the world I wanted to bring you into.
The diaper bag is still packed with diapers you've since grown out of and back-up clothes that no longer fit you.
There's clothes you've never worn because most days it's easier to leave you in your pajamas or a basic onesie then to dress you up in that cute romper or dress.
Bringing new life into this world is supposed to be the most joyous time of my life and instead it's been spent in isolation. We should be showing you off to the world and instead we've sheltered you from it.
You were born just two months before the world was told to stand still. And while this was hard for everyone else, this was all you had ever known.
After spending a week in the hospital when you were born, we didn't go anywhere or do anything those first couple months of your life. We were already afraid of the flu and RSV and did not want to see you back in that pediatric unit, hooked back up to that oxygen monitor.
Visitors were limited, your brother was told to keep his distance from you because he still went to daycare, and you had only ventured out for two Target runs in your short, little life.
And then COVID changed the world.
Since then, it's been days with mommy and brother at home (and daddy who's working). These are the only faces you know. The people outside of this home that you have seen have worn masks and you've never gotten to see their smiles.
When I've tried to take you for a ride in the car, just to get you to sleep, you've cried so much because you're not used to your car seat. And the first time someone else besides mommy or daddy held you, you cried profusely because you're not used to other people.
This isn't how you being introduced to the world was supposed to go.
We were supposed to see all of the family, hug them and let them kiss you. Instead, there is family you've still never met and grandparents out-of-state that have still never got to hold you and now you will probably be walking by the time they get to.
And it's just not fair.
It makes me angry because this isn't how your first year of life should be.
All of the first holidays with family and birthday party celebrations missed. Your first time swimming in a lake and the barbecue gatherings, all for another summer. All of the first giggles, first tooth, sitting up, crawling, and walking, all moments just shared with mom and dad that would be shared with others via Facebook.
And while there is so much that we've missed out on and a mountain of disappointments at how your little life has been so far, I know I should be grateful for the time I have been given with you. If the world hadn't changed overnight, I would've just returned to work and life as we'd known it. I wouldn't have gotten to experience the best parts of motherhood and I am thankful for this time, I really am.
But it's still just not fair. This isn't the world I thought I was bringing you into. This isn't the "new norm" I want for you. This is the only world you've ever known, yes, but the world I grew up in was not masked up and divided; and it just breaks my heart.
It's just not fair.
But we're going to come out of this stronger, my little one. God is working throughout this and He has a plan for us. He has a plan for you, my sweet girl.
The year of your birth will forever be remembered by this world as the year we all stood still; a year full of fear and anxiety. But to me, it will forever be on my heart as a season of my life where I just got to hold you and your brother close.
Your first birthday may be much like your first year of life, not what I pictured. And while that's not fair, it's going to be okay. It's all going to be okay because we are right where He's called us to be - together.