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Why I am not telling you how much I love you on your first birthday

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Before becoming a mom the thing you hear most is, there is no love like the love you have for your child. Everyone talks about how much they love their child. I am no different, I love Penelope so much. And I talk about how much I love her to anyone who will listen. I put her into bed and then lay on my phone looking at pictures of her. I’m that in love too everyone.

But I want to talk about something no one talks about. It’s something that has been on my mind since the day I met my child. No one talks about how much your child loves you. They literally love us so much.

I realized early on, like most moms do, that she was in love with me. I was her comfort. I was her source of food. I was her calm. I was her everything. The way she looked at me was an incredible feeling. There is a confidence a mother exudes when she reaches for her child. She knows that no matter what she will be able to comfort her child. These children give us this confidence because they love us.

The love my daughter, Penelope, showed for me started early on. She was a baby who didn’t sleep well anytime she was put down. Therefore, much of my maternity leave consisted of long naps on the couch together, snuggled as close together as possible. Things like the laundry had to wait. Things like showering had to wait. And I put everything on hold because she loved me.

Around 3 months, when I decided to leave her for the first time, I went to Starbucks to do some grad work. I felt like a limb was missing. I was aimlessly walking. I felt like I was floating. I was so light without you in my arms. You had become an extension of me and I let you because you loved me.

Around 5 months, when I was struggling to recognize my body in the mirror, you’d look at me with so much love. You didn’t see the extra pounds. You didn’t see my C-Section scar. You didn’t see the ripple of fat hanging over the scar. You didn’t see the boobs I couldn’t recognize. None of that mattered to you. You loved me as I was.

When I went back to work, you didn’t see my fear. You didn’t see my guilt. You didn’t see my stress. You had the same smile every time I walked in the door. You loved me.

Around 8 months, when you started the awful sleep regression for 10 weeks, I’d lay on the floor next to your crib and hold your hand through the bars. I’d lie there for hours. At one point, it felt like I would never sleep again. But I’d forgo all sleep to let you sleep because you loved me.

This morning, I brought you in our bed and you laid your whole cheek on mine to fall back asleep. And once again, I thanked you, for loving me.

So as your first birthday approaches, I don’t want to spend time telling you how much I love you. I want to thank you for loving me. Loving all my imperfections, perfectly. The love you have for me is the reason I have so much love for you.

Whether you’re a mom, or an aunt, or a sister, or a wife, or a best friend, or all of the above, when you think of yourself poorly look at yourself through someone else’s eyes. To them you’re perfect. They love you and because they love you, you should love yourself too.

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