My sweet Leah,
I love you. When I was pregnant with you, I thought so much about what you'd be like... what you'd look like, what you'd feel like when I snuggled you, what it would be like when you said mommy for the first time,
I knew you'd be cute, and I knew we'd have lots of fun, and I knew I'd love you even if you cried all the time and you made me go weeks without sleep... but I never realized I could love you as much as I do.
I think you're absolutely the coolest person I've ever met, and I tell you this almost every day now, but I really want to be like you when I grow up.
I want to be nearly-constantly joyful like you are. Not just content, but joyful.
I want to be more enthusiastic like you are. Not just going along with what other people want, but pushing myself to find something exciting about it, even when I'm not at first. I love that you always take a few moments to scope things out, but once you realize it's something fun and good, you're all over it. You went from crying in the pool two days ago to jumping in and going underwater (and giggling about it) today. I will always try to give you a couple moments to check things out, and I hope you'll forgive me when I get too excited and push you into something that I know you'll love.
I want to be more honest like you are. You don't over-dramatize. You aren't passive-aggressive. You don't hold grudges. You let me know when you're not happy, and then you move on.
I want to be an explorer like you are. You patiently sit and discover things. You have an incredible attention-span. You let people teach you things without worry that they'll think they're smarter than you.
I want to be tough like you are. You shake off cuts, trips, falls, bumps and bruises like no one I've ever known. I worried when you were a newborn that you had the weird illness where you don't feel pain. Turns out you do feel pain, you just don't let it ruin your day. Blows me away.
I want to be as self-confident as you are. You don't care at all what you're wearing, or what people think about what you're wearing. You don't care that most of the time you have your lunch on your face or have really sweaty feeties. You don't care that you have a big red bump on your head. When kids come up to investigate your birth mark, you just smile and try to play with them. I know some of this may be that you just aren't aware of what you're wearing, or what you look like, but it makes me wonder if maybe I wouldn't be better off not studying myself quite so much.
I desperately want to love like you love. In your 14 months with us, you've managed to learn so much about different ways that different people want to be loved. Daddy likes to play, Grandmas and Grandpas love to read, and Mommy LOVES to snuggle. Your kisses are perfect. Today you lifted up my shirt and said "kiss the baby" and kissed my belly. I have no idea what you think is going on in there, but you know it needs a kiss. You're going to be a rockin' big sister.
At about 9pm every night, I miss you so much and sometimes want to sneak in and wake you up to snuggle and play. And in the morning, hearing your little voice calling daddy to come get you is the best alarm clock ever.
I love you. I hope I can show you how much I do every day.