Amelia Jane | 1 year

Your first birthday.  Your first birthday letter from mama.  How do I write you a letter when my heart is so full, and my words, so few?  This year has flown by faster than the blink of an eye.  One year ago today you completed our family in the most perfect way ever imaginable.   You see,  I’ve always dreamed of having a daughter.  I’ve always prayed and hoped I would have a little girl to dress up and do girly things with and give her pigtails (soon, baby girl, soon!) and when we’re older go shopping and gossip and bond and do mother/daughter trips.   I’d always pictured our family with 2 boys and a little girl.  When I was pregnant with you I dreamt and prayed you’d be a little girl.  First and foremost, I wanted a healthy baby.  Please don’t get me wrong.  But my heart ached for a little girl.   And when I found out you were a girl, I was in complete disbelief.   I was lucky to have a good friend who was a sonographer and could scan me weekly if I wanted- and believe me, for about a month I went in every week “just to make sure”.

The day you were born was so, so surreal.  I couldn’t want to see you.  To hold you and kiss you and be able to say “my daughter”.   I couldn’t believe you were really here, and you were perfect and tiny and utterly adorable.  You’ve had your brothers wrapped around your little finger from day one as well.  Don’t let them tell you otherwise.  I know someday you’ll be their pesky little sister but believe me, they love you to pieces and I pray for mercy on any boy who breaks your heart in the future.

You’ve grown from a helpless little bundle in my arms, to a willful, vivacious little girl.  I love who you’re already becoming at just one year old. Your thirst for life astounds me. Your sense of determination intimidates me and your cheerfulness warms my heart.  You are everything I could have imagined you would be a year ago and so, so much more.


I love watching you explore.  You’re the most inquisitive, brave little girl I’ve ever known.   I can literally see the wheels spinning in that little head of yours as you transfer the pile of unmatched socks into an empty cardboard box as if you’re working on some complex mission.  
I love that you love animals- Ella especially.   You grin when she enters the room, and when she’s not in the room you’ll call for her “Allah!” and go searching for her.  The poor cat puts up with so much- the patience she has!   You love to crawl up to her, ram your head into her, and snuggle up.  You lay on top of her and bounce on her like a horsie.   It’s so cute, but it is a wonder she puts up with you!

I love the shape of your head–that it once  fit perfectly in my palm and is now heavy on my shoulder.  

I love that you grin and say “hi” to everyone in the store- nonstop until they acknowledge you.  

I love your petite little hands and your finger that is pointing and questioning everything–  “Sthat?”. 

I love that you love your “pretties”, and try your hardest to put your play necklaces on, and beam with pride when you do.  

I love the way you try to share your binky with me, and giggle as if it is the funniest thing ever.   

I love that when you smile, you smile with your whole face.   Your nose crinkles.  Your cheeks round up, and your eyes turn to half moon slits.   It is so infectious, and everyone comments on what a smiley baby you are.  

You’re quite the mamas girl, and there are many days you ONLY want me, and I’ll be honest- it is exhausting at times.   There have been many days I want to toss you to daddy and go hide, but I try to remind myself that these days aren’t going to last forever.  These days are the ones I need to hold onto tightly and cherish while they’re here. 

You’ve also become quite the drama queen as well.   You are pretty opinionated and are not afraid to let everyone know.   You’ve begun throwing little tantrums, and whining A LOT.   If this has any bearing on what your teenage years have in store for us, I’m terrified.  

Fearless.  This is one word that describes you to a ‘T’.   You’ll climb any staircase, flop off the couch, wiggle out of your high chair and onto the countertop, climb stools to sit on desks, and finagle yourself into spaces you aren’t meant to be in and then get frustrated because you’re stuck.  

This past year has been amazing.  I feel so incredibly blessed that God has changed the direction of my career and I’ve had the courage to follow His lead.  You’re my last baby, Amelia, and I’ve been so blessed to be able to stay home with you and be the one taking care of you every day.  I never, ever thought this was something I’d be able to do- I’d written off staying home a long time ago, and had accepted that I’d always be a work-outside-the-home mama.   I’ve loved seeing your milestones, being the one to hold you when you cry, to rock you before naptime, to feed you your bottles and to see your grinning face when you wake up.

I’d be lying if I said this past year was completely perfect.  While it has been filled with so many blessings that I never imagined happening, it was also filled with many struggles.  Thank you, sweet girl, for hanging in there with me.  Financially we had a really rough winter.   This was my first year making photography my full time career and winter was slow.  This stressed me out and made both my and your daddy’s minds worry about things that weren’t necessarily in our control.   It was hard for me to find balance while working from home and taking care of you and your brothers.  I know there were times I was not as good a mom as I should have been.   It has been trial and error, and I try to remember that you and your brothers come first, before work.   I hope that you’ll know I’ve always tried my best.

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Happy Birthday, my brave, wild, precious daughter. You have made our lives so very, very sweet. I carry your heart, little girl. I carry it in my heart.

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