Riley at one year

Riley on horseback, April 2011

A year ago Riley Elizabeth joined the family. Daughter of my daughter, Stephanie, Riley is my first grandchild.

I used to say that I couldn’t believe it when Stephanie and Alex had another birthday, moved into a new school year. Isn’t that the universal lament of parents? And now I say it about Riley. I can’t believe she is reaching her first year milestone. She was five weeks premature, and spent her first week in an incubator. She was a tiny little being, and at first, coming home on oxygen and a monitor, gave parents and grandparents some anxious days. She was a fragile little bundle attached to machines.

But she quickly outgrew her need for artificial support, and is now a healthy, active, and very vocal baby. She has dimples and five teeth. She loves to sing, making elongated noises that are more than the simple syllables of baby talk. She is on the brink of walking. She crawls, climbs, stands. She loves books and her rocking pony and her little car. She rides. She cruises. She’s transitioned to whole milk from formula.

Tuesday I’ll go down to Arizona to celebrate the big day with her. The official birthday is Friday, April 22. We’ll go shopping for the perfect birthday gift, we’re doing a photo book of her first year, and we’ll cap the big event with a little party, complete with a cup cake for Riley to enjoy.

Here I go again: giving my heart to another little person, entrusting my happiness, at least in part, to the child of my child. It’s a bit scary, putting myself out there again. But worth it. Oh, so worth it.

Happy birthday, Riley! And many more.

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