Happy 1st birthday baby girl

Dear Anna,

I am so super delighted that I was able to celebrate your first birthday weekend with you. We threw quite a party! Your entire Sutko-side family was here and was SO excited to play with you. And you delighted in playing with them! Your uncle TJ entertained the adults with his singing and guitar playing while we sang along to the Gambler, like your mom and brothers did when they were not much older than you! I was surprised you weren’t overwhelmed with all the craziness, but you took all the action in stride. Just like when you arrived at the airport, and I picked you up out of your stroller. You examined me with your big brown eyes, decided I was safe (even though we hadn’t seen each other in months!) and chilled out in my arms, intent upon taking in all the airport scenes.

I chalk up your great sense of chill and safety to your padres. They are pretty cool cats. They go with the flow and are both extremely strong and kind. And they are raising you intercity, girl! I talk to your mama on the phone and I can hear pedestrians outside your sidewalk level windows and sirens in the distance. You get to walk across the street from your apartment to the park at Lake Merritt where there are drumming circles and marches and all sorts of accents and languages to be heard.

I took you on a walk in Omaha when you were here around my favorite lake. It was the same size lake, but the views were very different. No buildings, just prairie grass. We also saw birds and dogs and some pretty homogenous humans, but you were most interested in feeling the wind on your skin and the tasting the goodies I was sharing with you. You babbled and cooed and weren’t too psyched about sitting in the backseat on the way home. I loved getting to spend so much time alone with you and I also loved watching you interact with your mama, your cousins and with strangers at M’s Pub, too, though you were much more interested in your reflection in the mirrored wall than you were in the folks beaming at you.

I marveled the entire weekend at your curiosity and innocence. Not yet have you learned appropriateness. 🙂 You let your emotions show to whomever was in your proximity when you happened to be feeling them and we could witness them quickly move through you. You didn’t smile at anyone because it was the polite thing to do, but rather you smiled when you felt like it. When you felt joy, it was the contagious kind that bounced off walls and drew middle schoolers out of their rooms to soak up the sound.

You are like a little scientist, toddling and crawling from piece of furniture to piece of furniture, pausing to inspect and taste anything of interest along the way. You lit up when you repeatedly bonked heads with your cousins, causing them to fly across the room, and when you needed a different perspective, you simply dropped your head to the ground for a little down dog action, no matter where you were.

Thank you sweet Anna for sharing your little-girl love with me and so many thanks to your mama who is doing an amazing job taking care of you, and herself too. I am proud to be your goddess-mama and I look forward to spending more time with you and learning from you as you grow up.

May your second year be as full of love and adventure as your first.

I love you,

Auntie Katie

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