Guess who’s turning three tomorrow?
The birthdays of our children are ridiculously special. Joel and I stay up late putting together presents, stringing up happy birthday bunting, blowing up balloons and glancing at each other every now and again to share this look. It’s like pride, the look, but it’s more than that, too.
Bear with me as I dive into the mush of my heart, but then again, you probably knew that was coming, right?
I remember the euphoria I felt a few hours after your birth. I remember that first look — your eyes locking on mine and searching hard for something in me. I remember the text messages flooding in. I remember the car ride home, baffled at how life continued on as normal when inside of me, everything was different. Surreal. Startling. Did no one know what had just happened to me? I hardly took my eyes off you the entire drive home. As friends and family came pouring in to scoop you into their arms, I waited for someone more qualified to come and take you away, insisting that this was all one silly, mixed up dream. Despite my fear, I remember thinking, “I love you as a newborn”.
I remember the outfit I ordered for you. I remember the cake I made, the party I planned. I remember the tears spilling over the exact second the clock hit 8:45 a.m., a whole year later. I gripped onto you with too much emotion, engulfed with this untamed, ravenous love. I remember clocking the milestone of this first year with a feeling of achievement; that your father and I had done it. We’d figured out how to be your parents. And we’d done a mighty good job at it. I remember thinking, “I love you at one”.
I remember the tiny baby chickens we bought you and how happy they made you, how gentle you were with them. I remember you picking the smarties off your cake before we had a chance to even light the candles. I remember pinning your hula skirt tighter because you were still too little for the “2 year old” size. I remember your dad and me smothering you with kisses before you went to bed that night, trying – but failing – to express how much it was we loved you. I remember thinking “I love you at two”.
Tomorrow you will be a whole three years old, as you will proudly show us by clasping your little finger with your thumb, thrusting your middle fingers out at us, and smiling so wide the gap between your front teeth will show. Exactly three years, honey, from the moment you burst into our lives – not even the midwife was prepared – and we began our story.
Ella, you showed me the way. You paved the path with me. You grew me my wings and taught me how to mother. And now here we are, on the eve of your third birthday, you snug in bed, one thumb in your mouth and big cloth little cloth tucked up under your ear, like always.
I am lost for words. All I can think to say is this:
Thank you, thank you, thank you, a million times over.
It’s like this: “Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, ‘you owe me’. Look what happens with a love like that. It lights up the whole sky.” Hafez
I love you exactly the way the sun loves the earth and you are the first person who has ever made me feel a love like that. You owe me nothing. It’s already set. It’s a done deal. And this sky I’m now under? It’s as bright and as stunning as a million twinkling stars.
Happy birthday eve, sweet girl. Thank you. A million times, thank you.
I love you at three.