Baby Girl, you’re not so much of a baby any more. No, in fact, I’m reminded every day that you are getting bigger and bigger and I’m left wondering where the last almost 21 months have gone. You were such a little peanut when we brought you home and now you’re a laughing, dancing, trouble finding little person. Every day I find myself looking at you and just pausing for a sweet, sweet moment. I heard people talk about being a mom, being a parent, but they never put into words how wonderful it is.
Last night was just an ordinary night, but you have this fun, amazing way of turning those small, every day things into something different. After your bath, where there was of course some swimming in the tub, you got out and did the nightly “Shake Off Dance”. No bath is complete without it, no towel can be wrapped around you until it’s done, and you just love it so much. And we love it so much because you do. Then came the towel wrapping, which is in itself a fun little game. Daddy is much more creative with his towel wrapping than I am, sorry to say. But, I think we have more fun running out to poke Daddy when you’re all ready. I love to watch you scrunch up into a tight, little creeping sneaky girl with fingers at the ready, just waiting for Daddy to turn around and catch you in the process so you can squeal in delight. I think it’s probably more fun for me than it is for you. And then there is the pajama routine. You love pajamas, and I love seeing you run around in them the next morning. There’s just something so sweet about toddlers in little pajamas. Something innocent and fun, something that makes me want to wear mine all morning too.
Last night as Daddy did the story time hand off you had both of us laughing with your enthusiastic, “NIGHT!” as he headed for the door blowing kisses all the way. You made me melt when you held the chosen book in your hand and said, “I luv do!” not because you were directing it to me, but because you know that’s the “Guess How Much I Love You?” book. We practiced our wide arms, and our high arms and tickled some toes while we read. And when we were done and the book was put aside you turned me to mush when you said, “snugew” and grinned up at me and nestled down in the crook of my arm because you knew it was snuggle time. And just when I thought someone was going to have to scrape me off the floor you sat up straight and said, “pigyet!” because you wanted Piglet who was in the pile of stuffies on the floor. I put you down and you ran and grabbed him out of the pile and the two of you got back on my lap and snuggled right down. You melted me again because when I bought Piglet for you I secretly hoped that you would get attached and know that Mommy brought him just for you, and Baby Girl, you do know it.
After some snuggling I asked you if you were ready to go to sleep and you looked at me in your sweet little “I know what you’re doing here” way and said, “NO!” It’s hard to be serious when you’re giggling, so more snuggling was done and pretend sleeping. Then it really was time to go to bed and this time you climbed down and tried to throw all of the stuffies back in your crib where they belong. After some help, you were the only one that wasn’t in but you knew you were next and tried to climb in on your own. After some smooches and hugs you were buried under the menagerie. As I reached the door you did what I was hoping you would do simply because it’s the very best way to end the bed time routine – you yelled, “NIGHT!” and I walked out giggling. When I got to the living room your Dad told me I was supposed to be calming you down, not getting you riled up. Then you yelled “NIGHT!” again and we both laughed, and laughed every time you did it for the next half hour. Know that every time you do it we break out smiling from ear to ear.
Baby Girl, in the last 6 months you have brought us joy in the midst of a time in life that has taken so much out of us. Last weekend as you saw me crying after sharing with our missionary friends about where I was at with everything you came to me and sat on my lap. When we bowed out heads to pray I was washed over not only with the prayers of our friends, but Baby, by you. You wiped my tears. You pried my eyes open and held onto the sides of my face and looked right at me. And you smiled. You kissed me. You squished our faces nose to nose and we stayed that way for several minutes. And let me tell you, it was the best place to be. In the midst of what felt heavy for me to share, and while God was hearing the hearts of his people, he gave you a spirit of joy and let you breath that into me. I don’t have the words to tell you how much love I felt in those quiet moments where I was stifling laughter and wiping tears. Tears that weren’t there anymore because of the ache in my heart over what we’ve been experiencing, but tears that flowed because of how blessed I felt to have you in our lives.
Olivia, when you’re old enough to read through this blog and know how you came into our family and what Dad and I experienced while you were growing up I hope the one thing that will scream out from the screen is that you were one of the best things that ever happened to us. People told me when we became parents that these months and years would be so fun and I just sort of shrugged it off. But, they are. Just this week Daddy and I got to run and swing you in the air for the first time ever and for me it was like watching pieces of my life fall into place. One of those moments where you look at yourself from several steps back and think, “This is my life.” and know that it’s so sweet. You are talking, not just simple words, but statements and sentences now. You can tell us what you want, what you need. This morning as I got you a coloring page nd some crayons you looked at me and said, “sit”. I was confused and asked you what you wanted and you repeated it and pointed to my chair at the table and looked at me. You wanted me to color with you, so I did, and it was the best part of my morning. You are so affectionate. And your love for us is so unconditional. I know this because there are days where I’m short with you and feel like a crappy mom, and you still come to me wanting “up peez” so you can sit on my lap. And while you’re there you often find lots of opportunities to give me kisses. In the last months you have been our joy. You have filled something in us that we didn’t know needed filling. Beyond filling – you’ve made it ooze over.