It makes me choke just a bit when I answer people’s frequent question, how old is she? Because I want to say she was just born, fresh and new and perfect but the truth is her birthday was two weeks ago and I can hardly wrap my mind around it. Wasn’t it just yesterday we were walking in the warm sun with popsicles and flip flops awaiting her soon and imminent arrival, not sure if she was a he or a she…if she would tip the tide to four sons or even it up with three sons and three daughters? Could I have known it would be the year it was? That everything would feel hard and that we would never really fall into a groove that felt workable and that we would do so many “great” things that we were plum worn out and worn down? How a little pink bundle would be this beacon of all that is lovely and wonderful to this tired mama on so many dark nights?
To my Liberty Grace on your first birthday,
Freedom and grace. Two of the most critical, valued pieces of our faith, our family, our life. Your name holds such weight for me. It is a never ending reminder of truth that I need constant reminding of. One year. You are walking and waving everywhere. You have perfected the princess, parade wave and you grin a mile wide for everyone you meet. I never have the heart to tell them, be they a friend or a waiter at a resaturant, that you do this for everyone. They think they are exceptionally special based on your warm waves and smile. You have to be the happiest baby ever. At least certainly the happiest one I’ve known. Sometimes I hold your siblings back a bit, telling them it’s too much or give her space. But the reality, your reality, is you are covered, sewn in from every side, with love. So much love. They each adore you in their own sort of way. You draw something unique, something special out of each one of them. The softness that I don’t often see in the big boys, a gentleness from Finn that is wildly uncharacteristic. And a comradery, a sisterhood with the girls, that I know will only grow with age.
It’s been a long year for me. Your brother Finn has required a sort of mental energy that no other child has. The way he thinks and experiences life is momentous, fantastic really. And I’ve no doubt he will change the world, his world, someday. Another brother started the year with a major physical injury that made the school year extra hard and frustrating. It took six months before he was fully restored. It hurt my mama heart more than I can exxpress to not be able to help him, not be able to fix it and make life feel okay for him. There were so many hard days, not days that I would trade or give up for anything, but hard nonetheless.
And then there was you.
Beaming bright beautiful you. You have to know there were many nights, I would be awake nursing you that I wept over your precious little face. Hopelessly in love with your little self. Over the top thankful that you were there for me to hold. You gave hope to me time and time again. You are a simple, in-the-flesh continual gift that I feel like I receive day after day after day. A gift I don’t take lightly and one I am keenly aware I could have missed had the baby I carried the months prior to your conception been carried to term. There would not have been you, one of a kind wonderful you.
You can’t possibly imagine how treasured you are little girl. You just can’t.
All my love,
**a few snapshots of your first year, favorite summer naps in the swing or with big brother, showing goats with sisters, rides in wheelbarrows and horse carts: