Letter to my Daughter, Janie {Life, unedited. Take seven.}

My baby, I’ve been a sentimental sap this week. I have been trying to slow down time, to soak in every little ounce of your being. It’s all because you’re two today. According to most, you’re already a toddler. But somehow turning 2 makes it final. The “infant” label no longer applies and that makes my heart ache so much. I know it is because you’re my last baby and I’m not ready to let that go. So now I’m going to spend a little time telling you how much wonder and love you’ve added to our lives the last two years.

Daddy and I couldn’t wait to meet you as the day of your arrival grew near. Our hearts are already bursting with love for your big sister but we knew we wanted to make room for you. As we prepared, we also readied for a possible home birth because Elliotte’s was a precipitous one. The day of your birth was dreary – it rained hard, it was extremely windy, and it was bitter cold. Your Auntie Sora insisted I take the day for myself and wanted to fill my belly with warm soup. Quite nonchalantly, I told her about some cramping I had been experiencing, and she simply insisted, “You know this could be early labour right?”. It persisted through the day and that night, the cramping got worse. Finally at around 10:30 pm, I told Daddy: I feel nauseous, I need to use the washroom, call the midwives. Thankfully, Gillian, who was on call that night, came over soon after. As she checked me, she told me I was already 6 cm dilated and that we should head to the hospital. Unfortunately, Daddy had to stay behind until Uncle Kuen could come and keep your sleeping sister company. As I got into her car, Gillian looked over to our house and said, “Poor Daddy, he is so afraid he’s not going to make it to the hospital!”.

It felt like the drive to the hospital was a long one, even though we were only 10 minutes away. When we got there, the labour really progressed but there were no rooms ready. Gillian got straight to work and made sure that the staff cleaned out the bathtub for me while I laboured around the reception area. I was determined to do this the most natural way my body would let me. It was almost midnight. When the tub was ready, I got into what felt like a warm cushion for my aching back. It didn’t take long before my waters broke and I started to feel the urge to push. Gillian just said calmly, “if you want to stay in the water and have your baby, you can”. So that’s what I did. A few moments and a few pushes later, you were born! November 8, 2011, 12:43am at 7 lbs and 19.25 inches. Somehow, with already full hearts, we are in love once again. Outside, the wind quieted, and it wasn’t so cold anymore.

Your lovely Auntie Sora make it here in time to capture some of the first hours of your life. The hours that I spent staring at you, holding your tiny body, grasping onto your little pruny fingers, inhaling your newborn scent. As I nursed you, I cried, so happy and amazed by you. For the five hours we were at the hospital, I hardly slept because all I wanted to do was cuddle you, kiss you, and feel your breath on my skin.

Untitled

You were an easy baby right from the start. You nursed well, you chubbed up fast, and slept through the daily chaos in the house. When you started eating solids, you out-ate your three year old sister. We were so proud of your rolls we called you Fatus Baratheon and Fatniss Everdene. But time and time, you are our Janie Bug. You just rolled with everything we threw at you, whether it was boot camp class, or hiking the grind, or running errands. At six months you found your thumb. I remember trying to pull it out of your mouth and stuffing the soother in – you just spat it out. Even then, you already know what you want and the way you want it. When you smile, you have these jacked front teeth to show for how much you’ve loved your left thumb. At three months, you rolled. At eight months, you crawled. At thirteen months, you walked.

In the blink of an eye, you’re now two. Janie, you have so much heart and so much pazazz. You are stubborn and when you say no, you pout your lips and swing your arms wildly. You can be picky with your food, as most toddlers are, but we are not worried because you have some reserves ;). You are goofy and silly, and always up for a laugh. You are smart and resourceful and when you want something, you’ll figure out a way to get it. You’re brave, determined, and independent – “Janie do it” is your mantra. Watching you learn has been such a joy. The way you can spend focused periods of time with your puzzles and building towers. You love dressing up like your sister, princess or not. You love trains and all your books. Current favourites are Goodnight Moon, Big Red Barn, a lot of Julia Donaldson books. You love all things Stella and Sam and Sophia the First. You love music and can be heard singing in your crib from the next room. Your favourite songs are itsy-bitsy spider, baby beluga, five little monkeys, twinkle twinkle little star, and all the Music Together songs. You love your dog, likely more than he loves you. You always ask for your big sister and Daddy when they’re not around. When Elliotte says Sorry for something she did, you say Sorry too. When we say “I love you”, you say “I Wove You too”. Because of your crooked teeth, you can’t pronounce your “l’s”. When you’re tired, the ol’ left thumb gets sucked and you curl up for a rest. You want to sleep with Russell the sheep, Clover the bunny, and get tugged in snug as a bug with the quilt I made you. Every night I sing to you right before bed, your warm body curled up in my arms as you stare at the ceiling and say “Look at all the s(t)ars!”.

Letter to Janie_2

We love all the little bits about you, even the moments that frustrate us. Somehow, our hearts just soften when we look at those brown eyes of yours. You have blessed us with your heart, just as you are, and we cannot imagine our lives without you.

Janie collage_3

There is a book that I read with your sister, a book that I will someday share with you too because it’s filled with words that I hope dearly for both of you, from the bottom of my heart.

SOMEDAY. {by Alison Meghee and Peter H. Reynolds}

One day I counted your fingers and kissed each one. One day the first snowflakes fell, and I held you up and watched them melt on your baby skin. One day we crossed the street, and you held my hand tight. Then, you were my baby, and now you are my child.

Sometimes, when you sleep, I watch you dream, and I dream too…

That someday you will dive into the cool, clear water of a lake. Someday you will walk in to a deep wood. Someday your eyes will be filled with a joy so deep that they shine. Someday you will run so fast and so far your heart will feel like fire. Someday you will swing high-so high, higher than you ever dared to swing. Someday you will hear something so sad that you will fold up with sorrow. Someday you will call a song to the wind, and the wind will carry your song away. Someday I will stand on this porch, and watch your arms waving to me until I no longer see you. Someday you will look at this house and wonder how something that feels so big can look so small. Someday you will feel a small weight against your strong back. Someday I will watch you brushing your child’s hair. Someday, a long time from now, your own hair will glow silver in the sun.

And when that day comes, love, you will remember me.

This blog post is written as part of my Life, Unedited series and linked to a wonderful circle of other photographers who share their slice of real life monthly. Please click on over to my dear friend, Catherine, and see what she’s got so share :).

 

  • Jessica said:

    This made me well up. So lovely. The ones of you in reading/snuggling with her in the chair are just stunning. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Catherine M. said:

    What a wonderful post Felicia! J is so darn sweet! The posts of your birth are absolutely amazing and I'm so glad that D made it. There was a lot that resonated with me in your post. Your reference to Fatniss Everdeen made me smile (love that book!) and I can't read Someday without crying. Someone gave it to me after my mom passed away so it has a lot of meaning for Julia and I as well.

  • Ana said:

    Oh, these are so precious! What a beautiful post in photos and writing!

  • Meredith said:

    So many sweet and wonderful pictures! I loved reading your birth story. That is awesome that you have those kind of choices in a hospital in Canada! It is amazing how quickly time passes once you have children. Happy Birthday to your little one! Have fun celebrating!

  • christina said:

    This is such a beautiful post, beautiful images.

  • Pingback : Letters to our Daughters {January} | Felicia Chang Photography

%d bloggers like this: