This happens every year.
I’m always dumbfounded that it’s been a whole year already. How are we lighting candles for another birthday, when I feel like we just did this? Time just simply isn’t fair. It’s a deceptive thief who rips the rug out from under your feet, just when it feels like the days are long and you have plenty of said time on your side. But, again, it skips, and twirls, and runs by faster than I’m able to catch my breath. It’s a bittersweet reminder to take in the innocent, smart, pure wonder of you, my Quinn Emilia. Because no matter how many pictures I take, how many videos I record, how often I stare at you in amazement, I can never seem grasp how incredible you truly are, and my mind can’t wrap around the fact that your daddy and I have been given the immense privilege of raising you. Why did God pick us? I will never understand, and I will never feel like we deserve the incredible gift of you. You are light. You are wonderful. And I will say it forever, you are magic. That’s the closet word that my simple human mind can find to describe your smile, your laughter, your mind. And as I sit here, with big ol’ mama tears rolling down my cheeks, I hope you know that I will never, ever forget these beautiful days for as long as I’m living. They will always hold a sacred place in my heart, one that you won’t even know exists, because only I (and your dad) will remember this feeling. And though my heart will clutch tight to these moments, I don’t want my mind to forget the little ones, so let’s look back on this year and all that it brought for us.
For Halloween last year, we were the Flintstones, and you were the cutest, grumpiest Pebbles I’ve ever seen! You had a little cold, but that didn’t stop you from having the most fun trick or treating. For Christmas, you got a small purple trampoline, and later, a pink slide that you still go down almost every day. Before bed, you always ask to go down “one more time” and daddy and I roll our eyes and let you, despite the fact that we know you’re just trying to push bedtime…Ahh, bedtime. This year, your imagination has taken you to the stars and back, and with it, comes fear of the dark and tears in your room at night. Sleep has not been your favorite thing (even though it’s mine), so that has definitely been a new challenge for us! You know that you have a choice in so many things now, and girl, you are as strong-willed as they come! We always joke that you will lead millions one day haha! Our family has been learning and growing together more than we ever have this year, as you’ve hit the huge milestone of becoming your own little person, and it has been a wild ride to say the least! We also potty trained you this year, and that has also been…a journey haha! But despite your strong will combined with your smart mind, a dangerous cocktail, you are the absolute sweetest little girl who is so caring and loving to those around you.
We started a weekly music jar this January with a different artist you pick out of the jar every week. This has been something we’ve both loved and I plan on continuing this tradition just to watch you dance and twirl. We started gymnastics classes at The Little Gym in January and you were so in love with your class and Miss Kim, who you talk about all the time! Your favorite things right now include Tangled, mermaids, princesses, baby dolls, Pinkalicious, Halloween, taking showers (or anything water related), seeing your cousins, and wearing headbands that you call “crowns”. You love singing happy birthday to everyone, and when it’s sung to you, you absolutely light up. You still love riding on the front of mine or daddy’s bikes in your seat and riding by the goats and horses in the neighborhoods next to ours. Perhaps your absolute favorite thing right now is going to the aquarium, and you call it the “quail”, and we don’t have the heart to correct you. You get so excited to see the turtles and sting rays, and you ask to go every week which is why we got an annual pass, and it was the best decision ever. You love reading books and painting and coloring, and drawing the letter “Q”. You love when I put you hair in braids like Anna from Frozen and when you and daddy sing “I See the Light” from Tangled. Oh, my heart just melts into a huge puddle on the floor. I could go on and on about all the sweet little things you love and make me smile 100 times a day, and I never want this innocent phase to end!
In February, we learned that you are going to be a big sister! I’m sitting here typing this as you nap in our bed with daddy, and I can feel your sister wiggling around in my belly. I pray so hard that you know that even when you have to share me, my love for you will only grow stronger every day. And I feel the sharp knife of guilt when I think about the fact that you won’t have all my attention soon, and to be honest, I feel like I could have taken in this time together much more gracefully. Between four months of morning sickness, crazy hormones and anxiety, and lack of sleep, I haven’t felt like the best version of myself for this whole year, and I’m so sorry for that my girl. I wish I could have changed that part, not to mention Coronavirus hitting the world in February, but we won’t go down that road…So while we have just days until my due date, I’m really trying to take in this time of just us three. My first baby. The one who made me a mom and changed my life and who I am forever. I hold you a little longer and a little tighter before bed while singing “La La Lou”, knowing the next time I see you our whole world could be different. I look into your big blue eyes a little more intently as you tell me a story about your baby doll or your time at Grammie’s house, praying I can focus on you this much soon. Can you feel how much I love you? I hope so with all my heart. I will treasure how you rub my arm every chance you get and smother it with wet kisses. I will die a little the day you stop doing that. I just can’t believe you’re three, and while three years is so little, it feels like I’ve known you my whole life. So as I get your Tinkerbell costume ready for Halloween next week, and I think about your crooked little smile when you tried it on, I want you to know I am going to do my very best this next year to be better, and give you the world that you deserve. To let loose and run through the sprinklers and get chalk all over your clothes, because these days won’t last forever, not even close. So while I can’t believe we’re here already, I wish you the happiest third birthday, my beautiful baby girl. You will never know how proud I am of you, and how in love I am with everything you are. I can’t wait for you to wake up from your nap so I can kiss your soft cheeks that still have the remnants of that baby squish on them. Never lose your perfect magic.
Our nightly affirmation, that you repeat back to me in your tiny little voice:
“I think about you.
I pray for you.
I’m here for you.
I love you.”
If you loved these photos, you might also like: