Dear Lily June,
I was so worried initially that you wouldn’t smile. I would hover over you, giving you big exaggerated grins to try and model the shark tooth beam I wanted you to flash with your gums. You would look at me with your head cocked slightly to the side like a befuddled fish, and something in your expression said your mind was off exploring deeper waters. (You didn’t look vacant; you just looked like you were intently processing other parts of the world than your mother’s desperate, pleading jack-o-lantern.)
And now, my beautiful baby girl, at a whopping three months, you have mastered the art that Mary Tyler Moore was famous for: You can turn the world on with your smile. Or, at least, you can set the bulb in the attic of my mind swinging and casting shadows over everything so that the light is a humbling reminder that you are alright, you are perfect, you are alive.
That burning bulb illuminates old boxes of memories up in my brain space and makes them new. Your dad and I will unpack holidays as if we’re never lived through them before. We will pick up cobwebbed photos of our own childhood and see them with a new set of eyes. And it’s all thanks to you, Lily June. You are, quite literally, the light of our lives.
Keep shining, infant. You made it this far; here’s to the rest of your lifetime!