A Letter to My Daughter Maeve on Her First Birthday

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You and me today - just a couple weeks after you turned one

You and me today – just a couple weeks after you turned one

July 30, 2014

Precious awesome little person! My daughter Maeve,

I love you and I love being with you. So much I can feel it in every cell. As I look back at pictures I am struck with how much you have grown and learned in one year. So much more than you will ever grow in one year again. It seems to have gone so fast and its an interesting experience to love someone who is changing so much – its hard to not want it to go slower. You have been so continuously occupied with becoming you I feel like I have been able to perceive only a part of it.

Just a few weeks after you were born

Just a few weeks after you were born

Your birth went very well. You, your dad and I were at home surrounded by great people and there was lots of family near by eagerly waiting to meet you. Once labor started it ramped up quickly and the process was purely intuitive. We did great. And when you came out it was a truly amazing moment. There YOU were and we were so happy.

I want to write to you at your birthday every year about the proceeding year and some of the things you or we did and hope that you enjoy reading these letters in the future.

I wrote down things as they happened throughout the year and am including them below. Because you traveled so far in your first year this will be just be little bits of the whole story.

CarrieMaeveSubway2013

Riding on the PATH train from NYC to Jersey City

You are so good at being in the moment and expressive. You can go from hot tears to a joyful giggle in a second. You can sleep for 10 minutes or 3 hours. Sometimes early on because I am so much bigger than you I wasn’t sure how to touch/hold you. To mirror the way you touch me didn’t seem right because I’m so much bigger. It seemed like any touch could be an intense/overwhelming/invasive experience for you. From the beginning I have always stayed close but as the year progressed I hug and kiss you more and more.

From day one and throughout your first few months while nursing you would windmill your bent (cactus style) arm around and hit my breast – to get the milk flowing. It was impressive to witness your instinctual drive to feed.

From the beginning you have been very expressive with your hands – the way you hold and move them is great to watch. I bought a special video camera to try to capture their movements (I plan to sew it into the sleeve (cuff) of one of your shirts) and have an idea for a 2 channel video I want to make of them.

Watching you figure out how to move through space (roll over and crawl) is also very interesting. One of the most interesting things I’ve ever witnessed. It seemed like the most significant moment next to when you were born. Like the second phase of the rocket.

Sometimes you seemed/seem small and sometimes really big.

At 6 months old your eyesight was better than mine and mine has been becoming worse for the last year or so. As a visual artist the loss feels challenging. It occurs to me that our eyesight trajectories are crossing.

Getting our place ready at L.A. Eco-Village

Getting our place ready at L.A. Eco-Village

At 6 1⁄2 months we moved to LA to be closer to family. I was/am concerned how the move has affected you, but know that it will be good for our family to be closer to extended family. And to put down roots. I feel sad about leaving the bedroom where you were conceived and born. The southern light there is so beautiful.

At 6 months your top teeth started to show and I photographed your fading toothless palette (your bottom two teeth came in at 4 months.) It occurred to me that there is something unique about the time before teeth and I so feel for you. Wonder what it’s like to have these hard things start to sprout when all you’ve ever known is soft. I found myself trying to remember my life before my teeth came in.

At nine months you are pointing and clapping and more and more interactive every day. You are babbling a lot and are adept at using your body to express how you feel and what you want. When we’re out in public you’re interested in every person we see (you point and lean toward them and smile) and want to say hello and they want to say hello back. It is so sweet for me to get to be there and meet all the people you are meeting. I hope that you are always this open to everyone you meet.

You like climbing in and out of bed and we make “tents” out of the bed covers. I was surprised to see the other day (around 9 months) your first molar on the lower left coming in – seems early!

You are an utter joy! Looking into your eyes is pure heaven.

At night in bed you always have at least one foot or hand touching both daddy and me. Like you are always keeping track. It’s clear that you are utterly aware of the coming and going of every person.

May 23, 2014

I hear you whispering under your breath and wish I knew what you were saying.

Watching you make me think about how even though we outwardly appear symmetrical our subtler bodies are not – shaped by experiences over years/decades. We all gestate inside a body that’s asymmetrical and are born with asymmetries. When you were born. Your left eye was less quick to open than your right. You must have been situated inside me in a way that created that. What asymmetries in my body originated in my grandmother’s body?

Three generations: Grandma Susan, Maeve and me

Three generations: Grandma Susan, Maeve and me

My mom is only 28 years older than I am, and my life has been so different than hers. How will you see me, 43 years older than you? I don’t feel as old as that sounds. People are waiting longer to have children these days.

Sometime you wake up quickly and get about using your body and exploring and bouncing as if you are continuing what you were doing in a dream.

You like to crawl while holding things in your hands -especially your right hand – and I wonder if you are left handed. You like to see how much you can hold in your right hand.

Mommy, Daddy and Maeve. Los Angeles in the background.

Mommy, Daddy and Maeve. Los Angeles in the background.

June 7 2014

You like standing up on the bed and looking out the window You get in between the curtains in the window and play peekaboo. You wave your hands right and left and shake your head no quite a bit these days. You’re babbling all the time and you have so many different syllables it sounds like you’ve invented your own language. You cluck your tongue and make bubbles and grind your teeth, purse your lips and scrunch your nose.
We tried putting you in a crib and you so didn’t want to sleep in it you fell asleep standing up your head against the railing.

You’re especially interested in kids just a little older than you.

You're learning how to eat avocado

You’re learning how to eat avocado

June 2014

Lately you pet my stomach while nursing.

You are not fooled by anything you know exactly where my attention is at all times and you make me realize how often I’m kidding myself about that.

A week before you turned one-year-old we were in a public bathroom changing your diaper and you found the light switch and kept turn off the light.

When you’re having feelings crying, sweating I hold you in my arms and let you struggle against me and I let your movements move me and it feels like a very sweet, very close and mutually led dance.

You started walking just as you turned one and would stand and swing your arms with a self satisfied expression as if to say “well look here I’ve got two extra limbs – now what shall I do with them?”

You like riding on your dad’s shoulders. You hold your arms in cactus position and you look like you are conducting the world.

Me and you with our feet in the L.A. River

Me and you with our feet in the L.A. River

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4 Responses to “A Letter to My Daughter Maeve on Her First Birthday”

  1. Susan Palmer Says:

    This is a lovely letter to Maeve. Someday she will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to record & ponder all the amazing things about her first year. I’m happy that I could share in part of that. I
    love her & I love you very much.

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    Beautifully written! So nice to get an update on you, Carrie, as well as this very special little person you and Joe have brought into the world. I am *so* happy for the three of you.

  3. Poppy Rich Says:

    Little beautiful perfect…you bring miles of smiles my way everyday …..pure innocence is so intoxicating…. I will enjoy every bit ppssible
    Poppy

  4. carrie cox Says:

    It was wonderful to meet you Maeve at our family reunion this month in Wildwood. I love you so much and your Mom and my dear cousin Susie (your grandmother) too. You were the life of the party! Hugs from your cousin Carrie!

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