– Dear Atlas: Year One –

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dear atlas,

you made me a mother. not all women want/need/are able to be mothers. i wasn’t always sure i wanted to be one but now that i am your mother, the title is welcomed.

it took a while to learn how to be a mother. i had zero experience in being a mom before you were born (just like you had zero experience being a human being breathing air and eating before you popped out)!

cassie rosch photography

those first few months were hard for both of us. we should both thank our lucky stars for your daddy, our family/friends and caring midwives.

you were born at the perfect time, in between summer and autumn. the fresh air and many walks revived us both.

it was around week 6 when you gave us your first incredible smile and i cried happy tears (even though it was at a 3am feeding)!

you were 3.5 months when i made you laugh the first time. we were in toronto, your daddy was giving a keynote so it was a lady afternoon for us! you were fussing so i put you in your wrap (which you LOVED) and then we danced around the hotel room. i dipped you a few times and out spilled the sweetest little giggles i have ever, ever heard.

it is hard to believe you are the same thing that kicked me from the inside and made me have insane cravings for cran-raspberry juice in the middle of the night!

i know you won’t remember this (which is why i take so many photos) but you went on 13 airplane trips before you turned one! that is crazy. you are sure living up to your name! you are a fantastic traveler and say ‘hi!’ to every person you can at the airport and on airplanes. it makes everyone feel happy!

watching you grow throughout this past year has been truly incredible! you are such a smart, observant, sassy and silly little girl! you are incredible at sign language (telling us more/please/thank you/all done/music/sleep/water/milk/food/stop/play/book)! we are both working on our spanish.

‘dada’ has been your favorite word for the past few months and you love to make the sound of a puppy ‘woof woof!’

you have opened a new compartment in my soul. i didn’t think i could feel emotions any deeper but then you came along and whoa. when you giggle, want me to read to you, hug my neck, ask daddy to play music for you and when you tightly squeeze your stuffed animals, the love that radiates from this new compartment is unlike anything i’ve felt before.

when you are sick or have to get shots or fall face-forward on a hotel chair and i hear you cry, that same compartment fills with such a different sadness and worry unlike anything i’ve felt before either.

you have expanded my world, helped to show me my own strength and continue to bring such light into our family.

i love you atlas turner avery and i love that i get to be your mom!


if you aren’t atlas and you are reading this, thank you. i wanted to capture my thoughts in a letter to my daughter when she turned one. while i don’t know if this will be an annual thing, it feels right at the moment.


  1. Claire

    September 6, 2017 at 6:22 am

    So sweet and genuine Chelsea! Thank you for sharing – Atlas will so appreciate this in the future!

    • chelsea

      September 12, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      thank you claire for reading and for your comment! i’ll have to catch her at the right age to appreciate this note (because i probably would have rolled my eyes say from around 14-17 haha)

  2. Christina @ Hugs and Lattes

    September 6, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Happy birthday Atlas!! Following along on this journey of you becoming a mom has been so lovely and encouraging. You’re a great mom, and she’s going to be a great human in this world! (She already is. 🙂

    • chelsea

      September 12, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      thank you christina – your kind words go a looooong way for me so thank you! motherhood has certainly been quite the adventure to say the least but i am so glad to be on it! i am excited for what this fierce little girl shall do in the world!

  3. Jennifer Haston

    September 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    This is beautiful! Do you know about futureme.org?

    It’s a great way to send a letter (electronically) to the future!

    Thank you for sharing your
    letter with all of us!

    • chelsea

      September 12, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      thanks for sharing that website – i haven’t checked it out yet but sounds like i should! thank you jennifer!

  4. Penny

    September 6, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    thank you chelsea for writing this letter to atlas and for then sharing it with all of us. this is such a beautiful letter and i loved reading it. you are blessed to have each other. neat!!!! hugs and love always aunt penny

    • chelsea

      September 12, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      thank you aunt penny for reading and for your comment! we sure are all lucky to have each other! <3

  5. Audrey

    September 6, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since little Atlas graced your lives!! And how much you and Mr. WS have grown!! Both together and individually! You are such a different person now, Chelsea! Congratulations on keeping a human alive for a whole year! You’re great at this mother thing! I’m so glad that, a year after birth, both you and Atlas (and Ryan and Sugar) are healthy and thriving and growing!!
    This is the sweetest little letter. I love that she’s fixated on “woof woof” right now, lol! And 17 trips??! Damn! These pictures and your captured emotions are so, so sweet <3

    • chelsea

      September 12, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      dude. i have NO idea how it’s already been a year! insane. it’s crazy how much parenthood can change a person – i am glad it’s leaning on the ‘for the better’ side now 😉 thank you for words of encouragement, audrey! they really do lift me up and make me feel like maybe i am not completely sucking at this whole mom thing. so thank you!

      i need to try to capture more of the ‘woof woof’ so you can let your dogs hear it :)ha!

  6. Sara | Mrs. Imperfect

    September 6, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    What a special tribute to a special little girl. She’s certainly had a lot of adventures in her first year of life.

    • chelsea

      September 12, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      i know she won’t remember any of it but i am grateful for blogging in that regard, i can at least capture some of it!

  7. Paula Howley

    September 6, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    That was lovely.

    • chelsea

      September 12, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      thank you paula <3

  8. Vivien

    September 9, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I’m getting teary-eyed.

    • chelsea

      September 12, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      welcome to my teary world, vivien 😉

  9. Nadia

    September 10, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Amazing! I’m sure Atlas will love to read this later in life 🙂

    • chelsea

      September 12, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      thank you nadia! i sure hope so 🙂

  10. Marilyn Jess

    September 11, 2017 at 2:05 am

    What precious photos, and story. Especially love the one of Atlas and Ryan sleeping.
    You are one of those families. What I mean is, those who embrace life’s adventures, travel together, and steer away from the safe route. The safe route is to “settle in,” and keep kids in a safe, predictable routine, and home. I have a dear friend from college who is like you. She and her husband uprooted their three children a couple of times to take advantage of living in different places. Your adventure is just so fun to watch.

    • chelsea

      September 12, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      what a huge compliment, marilyn! thank you for naming us as ‘one of those families.’ 🙂 while my first instinct is often to go with “safe” and “risk-free” route, i am thankful i married someone who pushes me past my comfort zone. love to hear about your friend who made it work great with their 3 children and living in different places! yay!