Dear Gem – Month 12 – First Birthday

by | Cancer, Living Well, Parenting & Family

It’s been quite a month: big news, big adjustments. Tomorrow morning I go in for the mastectomy. That means I will not be able to lift you for a while after the surgery, maybe even a couple weeks. It’s going to be a bigger adjustment than what you have already experienced, but we are going to get through this. I will find ways to pile pillows around myself so that you can still snuggle with me. There will be a lot more people around the house to help out with things, so you will have an opportunity to make a lot more friends.

All these changes are important, but I also want to make sure that they don’t overshadow you, and your development. You just had your first birthday! We had a big birthday party for you, and Mariajose, with the help of Aunt Trisha, Ericka, and Leonor, made you the most awesome birthday cake that was almost as tall as you.

Bumble Bees and Daisies

Bumble Bees and Daisies

You are getting so smart, and it’s so much fun to watch. You ‘read’ your books out loud, pointing at different pictures and sometimes even the words. In each of your books you have a few favorite pages that you return to time and again. I’ve made a habit of leaving a book in your crib when I tuck you in, and often you wake up, discover the book and entertain yourself with it for quite a while before deciding you want some attention. Sometimes, when I hear you ‘reading’ through the monitor, I sneak in and watch you interact with the book. You are so involved that it can be several minutes before you discover that I am in the room with you.

You are also getting feisty and developing a sense of humor. You’ve started hand feeding me some of your Cheerios. Sometimes, you will hold one out for me and wait till my mouth gets right up to it before pulling away and eating it yourself – and then giggling. And then the next Cheerio – you bite it in half and feed me the other half. That is just too cool.

Two weeks ago you took your first international trip. Daddy was invited to speak at a conference at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia. We decided to make a long weekend of it and stayed for four days at a great little suite hotel. Somehow I managed to lose the battery to my camera for most of the trip, and then found it right before we returned home, so we didn’t get many pictures. But you had a wonderful time. We stayed away from the tourist traps, and hung out in the neighborhoods where the locals live. We went to a huge park full of ponds and ducks and you ran across the grass with your arms waving in the air chasing the ducks. We went to a petting zoo, and you chased the baby pygmy goats around and laughed the whole time.

First Birthday

You decided to sit down inside the Apples to Apples box and Uncle Tim and Aunt Mel\’s Easter party

We have so much fun together, you and me and Daddy. Every day is a new adventure – you make a new discovery or pick up a new mannerism. We got some family pictures taken the other day and in one of the shots you are raising one of your eyebrows at the photographer. You started talking with your hands, waving them around for emphasis. You say hi to everybody as we walk around town, and you love running through the fountains at the mall, with the cold, cold, water. I have to make sure to bring a change of clothes when we go out for a walk, because there is a good chance we will come across a water feature and you will get wet.

I can’t wait to see what you are going to do next.

I’m so lucky I get to be your Mommy, and I’m so lucky I get to be married to your Daddy. I’m just overwhelmed with love and happiness right now.

I love you so much Baby Girl,


Read more Letters to Gem.

Judy Schwartz Haley


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.