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Raisha Aswani : Today, we celebrate a year of YOU!

I can’t believe its already been a year, I mean, we just brought her home! Now she is ONE, how could one number feel so huge?! I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what to get my daughter on her first birthday. She is beautifully uncomplicated; so simple (her favorite toys are leaves, mulch, spatulas, TV remotes…) and totally happy. New cute clothes would only be for me, she’d rather be naked! So, I stayed up late writing her a heartfelt, teary-eyed mommy to daughter letter (the first of a lifetime of birthday letters, I hope).



Dearest Naia,

Today, we celebrate a year of YOU!

One year ago your papa and I saw you and held you for the very first time. You came into this world with beauty, strength, and purpose. The doctors laid you on my chest and at just a few minutes old, you opened your eyes, moved your head forward, and looked right at me, your mommy. And just like that, our lives are forever intertwined.

And here you are, today, as a one year old – a thriving, confident, and beautiful baby girl with your larger than life personality.

In a way, we both grew together over the past year. You learned many things, and I learned many things. You ebbed and I flowed, and in many ways, you taught me more than I taught you. And as you learned, so did I.

– You opened your eyes for the first time and stared at me, and I learned what unconditional love meant. I had never seen anyone or anything more beautiful!

– You learned to roll over, and I learned not to scream in excitement every time you did, because that scared you – but I was just so excited for you!

– You learned to laugh, and I learned that your laugh was my new favorite sound in the world!

– You learned to sit up and I suddenly learned that you wouldn’t stay a baby forever!

– I took you to the gardens and parks, to music class, art studios, baby yoga, and story times, and you stared in awe at everything, soaking it all in. I learned how to see the world through your eyes and suddenly, everything was utterly amazing!

– You learned to say “Mama” and “Papa” and “there” and I learned you were one smart cookie!

– You learned to crawl and I learned that nothing could ever get in your way…you were on a mission, always!

– I showed you the ocean, and you crawled straight into it – fearless and with purpose…I learned that you have the heart of a lion!

– You learned to eat solid foods and I learned every nutritional fact about every food and cooked for you every day so you could grow big and strong, just like your papa!

– You learned to pull yourself up to stand and I learned not to hold my breath in anticipation of your fall – I learned to breathe again.

– You learned to push your little wheelbarrow while walking on your own, and I learned to let you go, my strong baby girl.

And you and I have many, many more years of learning together, my darling. You will learn so much more in life, and I will learn how to support you through each step.

Since the day you arrived I kept saying, OH! This, THIS is my favorite stage! Then, with each new day, and passing milestone, I would say the exact same thing. I quickly learned that each day is better than the day before, but still is nothing compared to what the future holds with and for you. I know that you are destined for great things, no matter which path you choose in life. But for now, I just ask that you walk slowly and hold my hand.

Thank you for the lessons, the laughter and changing me forever. Thank you for shining so brightly!

Happy 365 days around the sun, my darling papaya!

I love you very much,



PS. And to my dear husband Varun Aswani, we survived!! Somehow by the grace of God (and many, many coffees), we made it through undeniably the hardest year of our lives! There is no one else I would rather share this adventure of parenthood with. I love you, too!