1096 days ago today, you were born. After almost exactly 9 months of thinking about you, you finally arrived. We had a rough start, but you came into this world strong, alert, and hungry (which doesn't surprise me, considering your parents, and the fact that your momma hadn't eaten a meal in about 12 hours!).
From the moment I saw your intense little face, I loved you.
You didn't cry right away, and I remember holding my breath. You had one little squeak of a cry, and then you seemingly locked eyes with your Daddy, and all was silent. As he checked out his baby girl, you examined him.
Those nights in the hospital were rough, but you seemed quite comfortable to be outside in our world.
Those first months were filled with joy, amazement, intense love, gratitude, relief, and grace. You were the easiest baby I ever met, other than those first weeks of breastfeeding struggles, which thank the good Lord, we changed up the day I finally broke down and bought formula. You filled my days with so many new things, and I loved watching you explore your 'firsts'.
I would be lying if I said those first months were not also filled with frustration, exhaustion, tears, confusion, and loneliness. The screeching phase was not a fun one for me. Nor was the 'I must have you in my eyesight at all times, even when you pee' phase. But for each frustrating, confusing time, there was something just as beautiful to cherish: your giggle, your silly cooing, the sparkle in your eye upon recognition of your Daddy, the way you pushed your head into my neck, the brightness of your smile.
I was a new mommy, honey, and you never seemed to mind; I just didn't know what the hell I was doing, even when I did. I have never stopped being so grateful that you have been so easy-going through this wild ride we call your life. Daddy and I have flown by the seat of our pants at times, and you just fly by right along with us. You have been sassy, silly, and laid back through everything, even when you broke your ankle 6 months ago. It was my heart pounding wildly in the doctor's office, not yours.
The past 1096 days have flown by. There were days when I just wished the sun would set, your father would come home from work, and you would go to sleep. Those days dragged by, but mostly, it has flashed right before my eyes. Last night, while bathing you, I realized you are all arms and legs now. You are so tall, so a little girl. And I am sitting here amazed that you are no longer a little baby, but a little girl, with thoughts, dreams, imagination, and desires, that you make known any chance you can.
Tonight I stood in the store, browsing little girls' birthday cards. I found one that had a big 3 on the front of it, and for the tiniest split second, I thought 'Oh wait, she's not 3! She's just a baby!', and then. I realized that you are not a baby, and you are 3. I actually got choked up at this realization again, as I do each time it smacks me in the face.
Bugaboo, you have stolen my heart, and your Daddy's as well. And I can speak for both of us when I say this: We don't mind at all. We love your sass, your independence, your intelligence, your personality, your affection, your charm, your smile, your love.
Happy birthday, baby girl! Your momma loves you more than all the stars in the sky.