Sunday, August 2, 2015

A littlest first birthday

Sweet Annabel,

I rocked you in my arms tonight in the quiet, stillness of your precious room. As I sat there in that moment that has become so much a part of our bedtime routine, I felt you gently reach back to the nape of my neck, feather my baby hairs and deep sigh one last, little "mama" before drifting off to sleep. Instantly, my eyes were welled to the brim with tears and I, too, found myself in a deep sigh. One year, sweet girl. We did it.

There are a lot of people that clutch dearly to the notion that right when life gives you a perceived version of lemons, you best start making some "lemonade" out of it all. All that active encouragement is truly directed with such incredible love. But sometimes, that space to initially process doesn't start with gentle acceptance. Sometimes, it even starts with something so very far from delicious and joyful lemonade. And you know what... that's okay. We all get there in our own time and way. You were the gift that my heart never even realized it couldn't live without. For a lifetime to come of unexpected surprises, I know with all certainty at the end of this journey, you will by far have been my greatest one.

I should have of known that my greatest teacher to ever touch my heart would come in the form of a spritely baby with banana-crusted, blonde hair and twinkly eyes. You, Annabel Jane, are the most beautiful balance of resiliency and joy. All that grew me. Being the Mom you needed meant I had to allow myself to be vulnerable. I shed this disillusioned belief that I could handle it all on my own. You took a weary, frustrated, fearful version of myself and helped me lean in to the supportive love of a community. The support and grace given to our family this year through meals, prayers, baby supplies, phone calls, love visits have been beyond beautiful. All this love poured in to our hearts... all because there was a you in our lives. Thank goodness.

I can't even begin to imagine what the years to come will look like with you as the youngest. I imagine there will be days that you feel overlooked or even dragged around. I don't even want to count the number of naps you took in the car this year while we were running siblings around. We'll just call it a lot. I'm sure our home will be noisy and messy and even teetering on the edge of insanity at times. Who knows, really. And yet... it is YOU that gifts Molly a chance to pretend she's a mother, YOU who brings out the gentlest versions of Gabe and YOU who somehow manages to even calm a Lucy (and honestly, I didn't even know that was possible). You can take 9 weeks in Pavlik, three visits to the operating room, 16 weeks in a body cast, 12 hours a day in a Lorenz brace and still look the world with brightest smile and the most playful of spirits. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. So whatever the years will bring as the youngest, I know with full confidence, you'll handle it just fine.

You, my Nanners, are incredible. The light we never knew we needed and until we couldn't live without it.

Happy first birthday, little love.

Birthday video... Turn up your speakers, it's a good one. 

Annie's First Birthday from Julie May on Vimeo.

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