A First Birthday Wish List

Babycakes celebrated her first birthday on Friday, and it’s both joyful and bittersweet to think of how quickly she’s growing. There have been so many changes in her small life in the past several months. The hubs and I are constantly wondering if we’re making the best choices for her health and happiness. We seem to be doing a good job – even the sleep thing is starting to straighten out.

Many days I make wishes that, for better or worse, have more to do with my peace of mind and the saving of my sanity than her overall well-being (though I hope my obsessive-compulsive tendencies toward her sleeping and eating patterns are making an impact).

My daily wishes are along the lines of, “I wish the baby would sleep through the night.” Or, “I wish the baby would drink more milk from a cup.” Or, “I wish changing a diaper didn’t become an exercise in acrobatics combined with a MMA match with an octopus.” Or, “I wish it didn’t seem like the baby is actively resisting the weaning process.”

Birthdays often come with wish lists of a particular sort, usually full of toys and books and other nifty things that we think may entertain our babies or make our lives easier. But I have a different sort of wish list for Babycakes as she enters her second year of life and will soon become more and more aware of the wider world around her.

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I wish we still lived in a world where I could send her outside to play without fear that something terrible will happen to her.

I wish it were possible to guarantee that schools would never become a place of violence and tragedy.

I wish churches could remain places of worship, peace, fellowship, and sanctuary.

I wish flags would not be associated with attitudes and actions of hate.

I wish she will be valued for her intelligence, kindness, and character rather than just her looks or the clothes she wears.

I wish issues and decisions related to her healthcare would remain between her and her doctors, and that she will always have access to and be able to advocate for the medical care she needs.

I wish she need not worry about being ridiculed or ostracized for having and practicing her faith.

I wish she will always appreciate and celebrate the differences she finds in her peers, rather than learn to judge those peers negatively because of those differences.

I wish the images she sees on the nightly news will contain far more instances of kindness and caring than instances of destruction, death, and violence.

I wish the curiosity and pure joy in her eyes will never be dimmed by harsh realities, unfair disappointments, or the insensitive cruelties of others.

I wish her dreams will be nurtured by all who are meant to teach and help her along, and that those dreams will not be stifled or ignored just because she is female.

I wish she will learn that, though it’s often harder to do, acts of kindness and love will ultimately be more fulfilling to her as a person and add more to the world than acts of selfishness and blind ambition.

I wish there will still be flowers to pick, trees to climb, and clean water to wade in, and that she will be able to share the wonders of nature with her children.

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I wish she will always know how much she is loved.

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