Dearest Zoe,
I am realizing that you are only mine for a short amount of time. I look at you, growing so fast everyday, in leaps and bounds. One day you could smile, and now you can laugh. When you are in someone else's arms, and you give me your special "mommy" smile, my heart melts. I had no idea how hard and fast I would fall for you.
With this new love has come new fears. I used to be consumed by my own fears-- fear of my  emotions, of my new job, of not making the right decisions. Now, those fears have doubled, almost tripled, in the light of your shining face. I sometimes feel debilitated by the difficult decisions Chris and I face--do we put you in daycare while I work? How do we support you? Are you safe? Should you get every vaccine?
Bad things seem random. At every corner I am afraid that someone will hurt you, that you will fall and not be able to get back up again. Some days I have to step back and just breathe, because I am so wrapped up in protecting you from the unprotectable that I forget to enjoy you. Some days I sob about this to Chris. I am holding you, this beautiful, fragile butterfly--and I am so small myself, against this big world.
Other days I realize how lonely I am. There is this all-consuming love coming out of me, but it is intangible, and you see, you don't really know how to give it back yet. And that's okay. I don't expect it! In fact, there is a great joy in loving you this way. I feel like I am finally giving for the first time.
    I think about how short of a time we have, Zoe. I realize that you won't share any of the memories I have of you---that you won't remember the joy Chris and I shared in loving you. The way you scrunch your face up when you receive a bite of carrots, or the way you fall asleep rubbing your face against your bunny. You will never remember the heaviness of sleep when your head is on my shoulder, pressing into my heart. In fact, your first memories will probably come 4 years from now--when you are just learning to read, when you go to your first day of Kindergarden. Those are days that seem so far from me now. Its hard to know that you exist somewhere else in time---somewhere where I will be the PB & J Mom, the pick-you-up and kiss your boo-boo mommy.
I know this because I have been through this dear Zoe. I know it is hard to believe when you look at me, but I was once little too. I had a mommy who spent every day loving me, teaching me new words, finger-painting with me, making valentines. And I grew up. And I got married. I think it went by fast for her too. I see her face when she tells me stories that I don't remember--the glimmer in her eye, and I finally understand.
Though you and me are separated by a generation of time, though we will share completely different memories, I cannot wait to be your mom. I will hold on tight to you, but not too tight, because I know that this is short--that you will leave me for someone who shares your own memories, your own hurts, your own love. I am praying for this man, and so are many other people.
It's okay that you will struggle, and be selfish. I expect this. If there is anything about being a mother, I understand, there is resiliency. There is extreme patience. There is a gripping of the cliff until your knuckles are white and you are not sure you can hold on anymore. My mother was this way. Absolutely determined.
Its okay that you and me are different--even though I long to be so close to you that sometimes I squeeze you tight and kiss you till you are red.  We are different generations, we are different lifetimes.
And you see, I do have someone to share these memories with. There is one person that will always remember. He knows the ups and downs, the times where I just want to scream because you have been screaming for so long--the moments where my love for you is so painfully strong that I cry because I am scared something will happen to you. Twenty years from now, we will laugh at how cute you were in  your little tu-tu, and we will share secrets of your embarrassing moments. So don't feel bad, Zoe, when you have to leave. Chris and I will be okay on our own, secretly loving you, more than you could ever imagine.