Dear Millie,

I am attempting to catch back up to make these letters more timely, but that didn’t happen, and you’ll learn that I march to the beat of my own drum. I told you last month that month ten was a doozy, and it was! We were only home from our Cincinnati Children’s Hospital trip with you for one week before we had to pack up and evacuate for Hurricane Irma.

When you’re older, I’ll tell you more about what I went through when I was a little girl with Hurricane Andrew. But to touch on it, me and your grandparents and aunt and uncles had to evacuate, and we lost our house. It was destroyed, and we were lucky we even made it out of South Miami in time. So Hurricanes aren’t something we mess around with, and when Hurricane Irma looked like it was going to hit us directly and we were given evacuation orders, I knew it was time to head out. You, me, and grandma and grandpa got in the car and said we’d head north, not knowing where’d we end up. Dada stayed with Brutus (our dog) and your Uncle Joe and his dog, and were going to wait one more day to see what the storm was doing before they decided if they’d come too. After all, traveling with Brutus, one of the most skittish dogs on the planet, and Troy, the 130lb diva dog himself, seemed like it might be difficult.

I always tell everyone what a trooper you are, and this was no different. The car ride was LONG. The traffic was TERRIBLE. It was hard to find gas and it took everyone (not just us, literally everyone in the state of Florida) being patient and kind to one another as we all tried to escape. We spent nine hours in the car the first day and wound up in Jacksonville, then 11 hours in the car the next day and wound up in Charlotte. I don’t think I ever want to eat another Chick-Fil-A nugget, or at least not for a bit. We were safe, the storm turned and didn’t hit us directly, and dada and the dogs were safe back home too.

We made the best of it and enjoyed our time with Aunt Shannon in Charlotte. We found a park and you loved going on the swing there! I knew you were starting to like the swing, but in month ten you started loving the swing. It makes you laugh and flex your hands and feet. You’re so intrigued by the kids around you, and I can tell you can’t wait to be big and play with them. That time will come soon, but until then, I keep trying to savor each moment.

It’s funny, Millie—I was just talking to a friend about how when you’re pregnant, the beginning seems to go slow, and then the end flies by. I have found that to be similar with you as you get older. The days in the beginning when you were first born were long. There wasn’t a lot to do with you, and I was tired and everything was new to me. But now the days remain long, but the time seems to be flying by, and everything is so new to you. You delight in learning something new. I can see your face light up when you discover something, and watching that happen in real time is my obsession. I have the ability to take some time for myself now and get more done, but I don’t want to leave you. I don’t want to miss anything. I want to see you try everything new and problem solve and figure it out, much to your delight.

Each phase of this first year has been so different, but now it all seems to be going so fast. Each new thing learned is so much bigger! I remember when you found your hands, and that was cool but now that you are just about to walk—it’s amazing! You really know I’m your mama now and you look for me. You crawl right toward me when I walk into the room and pull up on my legs. I could let you do that all day, though I probably should be taking more “me” time.

Your personality continues to shine through, and I’ll tell you what, our hands are full. Your new thing is being bashful when you meet someone (or even just see someone you already know) and they’re looking for your attention. I kid you not, you bat your eyelashes and move your head down and then look back up at the person. I didn’t teach you this, this is all you, and it’s hilarious and adorable and I really think your personality is going to keep us on our toes. You only smile for someone when you want to, and you make people work for it. But then randomly, other times, you will smile this huge grin ear to ear, trying to get someone’s attention.

I’m so happy how far you’ve come and not necessarily sad, but shocked (if that’s the right word), how fast time has seemed to fly by. I love watching you grow and learn and try new things. I try to savor every moment, even when I’d really like an evening to just plop on the couch and watch bad tv, I try to give you all the attention you’re looking for in our nighttime routine while I nurse you and rock you to sleep. I love seeing how much you love me, and I promise I continue to do everything I can to be the best mama to you that I can be.

I hope you always stay you, don’t let anyone tell you to be anything different, and keep your stubborn spirit and stand up for yourself. Your dada and I will forever be on your team to help you navigate your way in life and live the life you want. (Even though sometimes we’ll make you do things you don’t want to do, like eat the lentils because you’re anemic and you need them.)

I love you more than words could ever express,


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