From this moment on...

Cowgirl Margaret
Dear Margaret,

You turned 18 months old yesterday. I am not much for the marking of milestones. I forget anniversaries and birthdays...even when they are my own. Ideally, I would have you believe that this forgetfulness is the result of my being so preoccupied with saving the world. I can just hear the conversations on the playground that this explanation would lead to...

"oh my mom forgot it was my birthday because she was curing world hunger, what did your mom do for your birthday...bake a cake?"

In reality the forgetfulness most likely stems from my distaste of change I cannot control. Every birthday takes me further from the life I am living and closer to stiff joints and chronic hemorroids. I grow attached to a moment so quickly and then find myself surprised when it trips away. It seems we are given everything, down to our very breath, just so it can eventually be lost. Your dad cannot understand how I lose so many things that matter (my first anniversary gift) and so many things that do not (those darn pizza gift cards... WHERE ARE THEY?) Maybe I lose things quickly, before they are treasured and lost anyways.

I already know that you, my darling girl, are not something that I can keep. I know that. And yet you, my little star traveler, my girl that is not really mine, I can love youwholeheartedly and without fear, even as I know you will not always be here, even as I know I will one day lose you.

In this moment these are some of the things I absolutely treasure about you, Margaret Zuzu Bingham.
Your mouth was built for the new words that spill out of it daily. As of today you say: cheek, hair, ear, toe, mouth, eye, nose, baby, foot, nana, no, uh oh, daddy, mom, papa, side (outside), water, dog, where'ditgo?, cracker, choco (chocolate), hot, cold, ouch, night night, I know, nug (nugget), gankgoo (thank you), please, thereyougo!, anel (Daniel), Mey (Jaimie), Keke (Katie), Tay, mine, on, off and gamma (grandma)
When I sing while I am cleaning, you sing "lalalalalala" and twirl
I know you are happy when you hum and shake your hips back and forth. This happens before and after every meal and each time I hand you your blankie
You call your blankie, "baby"
Today I caught you rubbing different containers, lathering up your hands and then applying the phantom product to your hair like it was gel. You must be watching your daddy get ready in the mornings.
At night now you sleep like a big girl, on your back, arms and feet stretched out, this made me a little sad...
You kiss me a hundred times a day. Always on the spot that is closest to you, generally my knees and my toes.
When you are being quiet, it is always because you are in your room "reading" to yourself out of Goodnight, Moon.
If you want my attention, there is no "mommy" or "mama", only "mom", you are my teenage toddler
Happy 18 months, Margaret. Thank you for teaching me the importance of a milestone and the moments leading up to it.
I love you.