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Today

July 2, 2012

I felt compelled to write today. I felt it all day long, with no real rhyme or reason to it.

About an hour ago, I realized you are turning 17 months old tomorrow. Tonight, when I kissed you good-night, it was the last time I would kiss my darling 16-month old’s cheeks. If I had known it as I said those good-nights, I would have kissed you one more time. And then a dozen times more. And probably shed a tear or two or ten.

I fell in love with you today.

That happens sometimes. I love you every day, of course, but there are moments when I notice it as it’s happening. My love growing. That stretch. That pain as my heart tries to bear the weight of something so huge, so vast, so incredible, it hurts. I love you my little, darling, sweet, spicy, spunky, beautiful, perfect screechy peachy.

We found out that you will have another girl cousin to match the sweet one you already have. I can already imagine all the adventures that lie ahead. We’re counting the days till you two (no, three now!) will be old enough for a family trip to Sesame Street. And Disney World of course!! Our family is so, so blessed to have you girls.

But as excited as I am, and thrilled for your eemo and eemo-boo, today, I am consumed by you. Before bed tonight, I lay down on the bed with you to brush your teeth since abba was out playing basketball. You love this time every night, and usually abba will talk to you as he scrubs away. But tonight, you were all mine. And for some reason, as I brushed, I felt compelled to pray. I prayed with your eyes fixed on me. I prayed for protection, and happiness, and safety, and faith, and health, and joy, and peace in your life. I prayed that you would walk every day in God’s footsteps. That He would lead you and guide you and counsel you and be with you. That He would be your Father, your Counselor, your Savior, and your Friend. That you would know true friendships and deep love from a man who loves you second (and a close one at that) only to God. That our families would be close and sincere and without conflict. That you would never have to choose between us and them. That your marriage would be a testament to a true unity of families, and that you would be blessed with beautiful children and a long, happy life. Happiness. It’s what I’ve prayed for you since before I can remember. All I want for you is happiness. All life brings with it some tears and trials. It’s impossible to escape, and you won’t know real happiness without some of it. But even in the midst of them, I pray you will know happiness. That happiness (true, real, pure happiness) will exist at the core of you.

You’ve always had a hard time waking up from sleep. 95% of the time, you wake up crying. One second you’re sleeping, the next second you’re up wailing. It makes me sad, but it also, admittedly, makes me a little mad. I try to comfort you, pick you up, hold you, offer you milk, offer you a snack, walk you around, play peekaboo. Lately, nothing I try works. It only seems to enrage you more. You wake up in your crib crying your head off, but the minute I try to pick you up, you fling your head back and try to lunge out of my arms. Usually, the tantrum ends randomly. You decide oh wait, I DO want that toy after all! Or hmmm all of a sudden umma holding me is exactly what I want! I used to be frantic, thinking there was something seriously wrong! A month of this, and seeing how happy, cheerful, upbeat, and perfectly healthy you are after you finally decide you are good and ready to stop crying, and I’m a little…skeptical. Methinks there is a little drama-mama going on around these parts. What say you?

Today, this went on for 50 minutes straight. About 20 minutes in, after running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to figure out what would stop the tears this time, I gave up. I removed all your toys from the pack and play in our room, and placed you inside. I wiped the tears from your face, brushed your tear-soaked, sweat-drenched hair from your eyes, told you as calmly as I could through gritted teeth that I loved you, but that I. would. not. participate. in. this. anymore.

When you are ready, mommy will be right here for you.

You cried in there for another 20 minutes. When your tears and screams and cries were a little less…violent…I would try to pick you up. You threw your head back and lunged out of my arms again. I would then place you back inside, repeat that I’m here, I love you, I will always be here for you, but I’m not going to participate in this type of behavior, and I would walk away. Sometimes I would stay in eye’s view, straightening things in the dresser drawers or dusting. Other times, I would walk out of the room for a little reprieve from the shrieks, and grab something from the kitchen.

Finally.

FINALLY.

You let me pick you up. And you snuffled and shook and sobbed (more gently this time however), and clung onto me.

Oh my goodness.

How I love you.

You are my sweet treasure, my precious little girl, and nothing will change that. I love you from your tippy toenails (that you will not let me clip!!) to the yogurt-smeared hair on your head!

No matter what. No matter how hard this is or how hard it gets, you are my firstborn, my beautiful daughter, the child that has changed my life forever.

It is hard. I want it to be clear. Parenting is not easy and I am constantly sore and exhausted and frazzled from trying to figure out how the heck to make it out alive.

But.

Oh my word.

The way your eyes stared directly into mine as I brushed those teeth and prayed over you. You were listening, I know it. And then, after the Amen, how your eyes crinkled and that sweet giggle of yours bubbled out. Unforgettable.

The way we escaped to Trader Joe’s after your meltdown. You showed me “I’m sorry” in the car as I strapped you in. And we kissed and hugged and I told you how much I love you. Then at the store, we walked around, trying to stick to our grocery list but making a couple of impulse buys. For you. For abba. For our family. Every few steps, I couldn’t resist. I stopped the cart, wrapped my arms around you and asked for kisses. You shared them generously (something that doesn’t always happen) and were all smiles and chuckles and laughs. As though you knew you had put your mom through the wringer and needed a fill-up on kisses! And then the little bouncy butt of joy when I handed you a lemon cookie from the sample kiosk. Cookie! Before dinner! Yum! We had fun, my little girl and I.

Today was an ordinary day filled with extraordinary moments.

I love these days.

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