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21st June
written by Michelle



Dear Mija,

Tonight like most evenings I gave you a bath and wrapped you up in your turquoise towel, but I held you a little bit longer. I nuzzled my nose under your chin and you giggled. We sang Head & Shoulders Knees & Toes as I wrestled your legs and arms into your striped pajamas. We read one of your favorite books, On the Night You Were Born.

I can’t help but think about this night one year ago.

Elena, the night you were born the rain pattered against the window. And I remember watching the moon raise higher and higher in the sky. My summer sostlice baby, it’s like you too wanted to enjoy the longest day of the year before you made your appearance. After 17 hours of labor, you finally arrived at 8:35pm. Hannah placed you in my arms, wrinkled, wet and slippery…and just perfect. You opened your little eyes and looked right at me. My heart burst open with a mix of joy, pain and unbelievable responsibility. I am your mom?!



Mija, the night you were born changed our lives in a thousand ways. You ushered me into motherhood at that moment, but it is going to take me a lifetime to keep learning how to be your mom.

I spent the past week in the wee hours when you were soundly sleeping on the floor going through thousands and thousands of pictures. Yes, thousands. So the fact that I’d dwindled this video down to 200 is pretty dang good I think. When I look back over the past year of pictures I remember how dark you were when you were born and how your little tongue almost seemed too big for your mouth. I remember how since day one your preferred place to sleep was (and still is!) wrapped up tight in some one’s arms. Man, I carried you around everywhere because it was the only way you’d nap. I forgot how bald you were for a while and how intent your deep brown eyes were. It’s still the thing people comment most about. Your eyes and your gaze and your ability to stare down anyone.

Elena, I look at these pictures and see how loved you are by grandparents and aunts and uncles and friends. People here and people there have loved you and me and your Daddy well this past year.

So, tonight, June 21, I pause and remember one year ago.

I remember the night you were born and I have a new appreciating for the word birth in “Birthday.” 

Elena, it has been the greatest privilege to be your mama during this past year.

Happy 1st birthday mija!

All my love,


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