Dear Baby Girl,

I’m sure when you are 19-years-old and making your mark in the world, I will then say “You are just so grown up.” But, right now, as you bravely go down the tall slides at neighborhood parks, the same thought crosses my mind: “You are just soooo grown up.” IMG_5003

19 months today, and I’m amazed by YOU. Your humor. Your opinions. Your fiery determination. Your extensive vocabulary. Your ever-changing emotions. Your dimples. Today, we played “hide-and-seek” and every time I “found” you, you ran into my arms and wrapped yourself in my embrace. You whisper “I love” in your singsong voice, and I remember the moment that I first held you. Those same emotions run deep and strong, as I hold your toddler-self close. IMG_4932

IMG_4933This hasn’t been an easy month. My health has struggled – whether from stress or who-knows-what-else – but you are finding a measure of independence that is both challenging and refreshing. I can get ready after you wake up in the morning, while you sit in my bed, eating a snack and watching Thomas the Tank Engine. You pray for the babies that I support as a doula, and I’m amazed at your compassionate heart. You cry when another baby cries. You ask for babies. You take care of your dolls. You sleep with them and feed them and want their diapers changed. You are going to be an amazing big sister one day. IMG_4747IMG_4962

IMG_4983Yesterday, we went to our first children’s theater production of Charlotte’s Web, and I am filled with trepidation and excitement over all of the other “firsts” coming up. My heart races ahead into the future and already misses you. I would not hold you back, but I know that your leaving will probably be swift and fast when you decide to fly from my nest. Even as I mentally plan our afternoon, I can’t help but wish I could freeze time…just briefly. I can’t imagine my days without your toddler hugs and whispered endearments. I love being your mama. IMG_4717

You, Sweet Girl, have stretched me and changed me and shown me my own selfishness and my own strength. For 19 months now. Your extroverted presence will forever change our family, as your dad and I grow to accommodate your gifts and your charisma. While I would not have you proud, I would have you become a confident woman. Aware of your beauty and strength, but aware even more so of how those gifts can bless others.

You exhaust me. You make me laugh. You help me see the world afresh.

I love you, Mama.

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