February 8, 2009

Happy first birthday little one!

Where has the year gone? It seems like yesterday that I was sleeping with you, snuggled on the couch after an exhausting and stressful four days in the hospital. You surprised us then by coming one month early, and the surprises haven’t stopped!

The day we drove home with you was a sunny but frigid February day. We drove so slowly – me sitting in the back seat with you - so tiny - and worried that someone would hit us. I remember checking you every few minutes to see if you were still breathing (it’s something I still do to this day!). Everything seemed surreal – like I was seeing the entire world for the first time – a world of crisp lines and vibrant colors. A world of both endless potential and overwhelming amounts of danger. It was a new world just for you, and I suppose for us as parents, too.

We had a rough start, didn’t we? With all the tests and illness you were still a trooper – still a great kid with a wonderful demeanor, still are to this day. One of the worst days was when I had to hold down your little fighting arms and legs as they performed an upper GI on you to insure that you didn’t have a blockage instead of just reflux. Screaming at the top of your lungs, you looked me straight in the eye as if to say, “How can you let this be happening to me?!?” It was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced with you. I was so upset that the nurse was consoling me instead of you. It made me cry then; it still makes me cry to relive it.

I can’t imagine now what I did before you. I’ve never known this level of exhaustion, and at the same time this level of love and giving. You’re an amazing girl. I watch in equal parts awe, fascination and sadness at your increasing independence. It came so quickly, more quickly than I had prepared for it. I suppose you get that strong sense of quick independence from me – but also the temperament and impatience, too. You can be very serious and contemplative. You can also be an unbelievably happy child – easy to make squeal with delight in a simple song or play movement. You make me laugh more times in one day than I can count.

There’s no doubt you’re a daddy’s girl. You even yell for him when he’s not around. I suppose it was inevitable. He has, after all, raised two other fantastic daughters. It only makes sense that he has a third. It didn’t take long to have him wrapped around your finger – way before the 9 month- old-mark when you woke up in the middle of the night, ready to go. Daddy said, “It’s time for little girls to be asleep” and you said? “Play!” Of course you played. Who could resist that?

I think your gift is with people – you seem to touch them in ways that we’ll probably never understand. The day after you were born, the resident who helped deliver you came in to see you. He said, “My wife always asks me what people named their babies. I’ve delivered hundreds of babies and I never remember. Last night I remembered Ella.” You just connect with people. You’re intent – and intense. You listen to people. You look them in the eye as if to say, “I get what you’re saying.” Many people have already commented on those qualities about you. I hope they are qualities you never lose.

A child of our close friends asked me one day, “What do you want Ella to be when she grows up?” Without even thinking, I answered, “Happy.” That’s my wish for you – no matter the path that you take, you find happiness and fulfillment in all you do. Whatever you choose to do in life is insignificant compared to the happiness and joy you can experience and share if you allow it.

I also pray that you have a strong spiritual life and that you find a supportive and loving relationship with God. I pray every night that God will pave a strong and clear path for you to serve Him. I believe you will have many blessings to share in this life. Share them readily, and be just as quick to receive them.

Thank you for an entire year of unconditional love and forgiveness. There have been mistakes, and I’m sure there will be many more – on both our parts. My hope for us is that we always – no matter what – get past those mistakes.

Thank you for making me a better person.

I love you.


Paul said... @ 11:38 AM

I take back ALL of those things I use to say about you having no heart!!!!

WritRams (AKA: Jackie) said... @ 12:09 PM

@Paul: What about the current things. Do you take those things back, too?

Michelle said... @ 1:28 PM

Oh, she's adorable!!! Love the headband on her.

I have always answered "Happy" for my girls too. Well, it used to be strong, but then my Ella taught me what that really meant in a wee little one. This time I just said happy, but we got strong-willed again anyway. I'm sure we'll all love that in them once all our girls turn 16!

Happy Birthday, Ella!

WritRams (AKA: Jackie) said... @ 1:30 PM

Michelle-We got strong-willed, too! Maybe it's in the name, huh? ;o)

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