Five things I remember about expecting you:
1. Your dad and the boys attended the ultrasound where we would find out your gender. Bubba hid his face from the screen because he thought the image on it looked like a "monster." Junior was depressed because he wanted another brother (even though he wasn't always a huge fan of the one he DID have). Dad and I were excited to have a little girl to take to see the princesses at Disneyland someday and also figured a daughter would be more likely to come visit us in our old age :-)
2. You technically joined us on our first cruise to Mexico when I was 5 months pregnant with you. I distinctly remember you wanting a lot of strawberry/chocolate frozen yogurt. Smart little girl!
3. I went a little overboard on shopping for you. Your clothes were so much more fun to buy than boy clothes. I would hold your little outfits and try to imagine your tiny self in them. Now I hold those same clothes and can't believe they ever contained you.
4. We saw the new Star Trek movie the night before we were scheduled to come in for me to be induced. Any time a full term pregnant woman willingly sits through a 2.5 hour movie in a theater, you can know that it is a testament to both her interest in movies and her love of kid free date nights. We knew we would be home bound for a little while.
5. You were breech. Every week for the last six weeks, my Dr. would send me away from my appointments with her fingers crossed that you would turn on your own and each week, you stubbornly stayed put. Toward the end, every time we went in, the dr. would warn me that if you hadn't turned by the next visit on your own, you would have to be externally turned (ouch!) and then immediately induced for delivery. It got really nerve wracking since every time I went in, we knew there was a chance we would be sent into the hospital within a day.
Five Things I Remember About the Day You Were Born
1. The doctors did have to turn you externally (and it sucks about as much as it seems like it would). They wanted to induce me right away so you didn't have time to turn back. But...you did anyway within about 10 minutes. Sort of. You were wedged in such a way that one foot was laid flat on top of your head and your hand was wedged against your face and my hipbone. They had to bring an ultrasound machine in just to figure out what you were up to in there. Then, the nurses called all the other nurses to come see the amazing contortionist baby :-) They prepped me for a C-section, but you decided that you had made your point and shifted into a normal position. 20 minutes we were holding you.
2. We had a shortlist of names, but nothing we were 100% sold on (except your middle name). We were looking through the baby name book up until the minute you were born. We figured that once we saw you, you might tell us what your name was.
3. I was so happy to see your head of thick, dark hair. It was so soft, I couldn't stop touching it. Later, when we took you home, we all fought to pet the baby :-) You made small squeaky noises like a mouse.
4. Your eyes were bright blue right from the start. You never had that muddy newborn color. I loved that.
5. You were familiar from the first minute I saw you. I felt like I was meeting an old, loved friend.
Five Things I Love About You Now
1. Every single morning, you come into my room around 6 a.m. You pat my arm to wake me up and say "Good Morning Mom, can I cuddle you?" You climb in and fall asleep until the boys stir and you jump out to join them. It's my favorite time of day.
2. You are such a girly girl. You love the nail painting and the bows and the dresses and the Barbies and toys I have been saving since I was little. I can finally buy birthday and Christmas presents with confidence because I know what you will like. The boys are still kind of a mystery to me when it comes to entertainment.
3. You really believe you are a Princess. All it takes is a dress or a crown and you are transformed. I often find you twirling in front of your mirror in your room. I know that eventually you will have to fight for your self confidence like all teenage girls do, which is why I love watching it come so easily to you now and indulging you in feeling like a princess. You are so beautiful.
4. You sing constantly (and you constantly want me to sing and dance with you). Every night as I tuck you in, you have to have "the moon song" the "sunshine song" (which always stopped your crying like magic when you were a baby) and "the star song" (twinkle, twinkle little star). The songs have to be in that order and I have to be sitting on the floor by your bed. After your light is off and I am doing my errands around the house, you sing yourself to sleep. I love hearing it, but the boys in the room next to you don't like it quite as much.
5. Conversations with you these days are so fun. There are many times when I ache for my tiny baby girl, but it is always tempered by what a fun little girl you have grown into. Tonight, you asked me where we all came from. Since we were in the middle of Walmart, I picked the easy answer rather than the technical one and answered that we all came from Heaven. You asked me what heaven looks like and I gave you my version and asked for yours. It was darling and sweet and (middle of Walmart, notwithstanding) is going to be one of my favorite memories of you. At some point, I am going to have to get over my surprise that you can actually converse with me thoughtfully rather than just in the basic demands of a toddler. I can see that I am going to have to work hard to let my baby grow up.
Five Things I Wish For You (Out of So, So Many Things....)
1. I wish a best friend for you that can be as close as a sister. I never thought you would be my last baby, but I know now that you are not likely to ever have a sister at this point. Although I believe you will be close with your brothers, there is nothing like a sister for girls once you get past the fighting teenage years. I am lucky enough to have amazing sisters and although I am a little sad that you won't have sisters to grow up with, I know that friends can help fill the role as well. I have been extremely lucky to have friends that I loved like sisters throughout every point in my life.
2. I wish for you a childhood that holds as many traditions and good memories as mine does. I hope that the memories and traditions we create as a family are a source of happy remembrances for you and inspire you to carry them on with your own kids. Between school and work and being a single parent, I don't always have the time and patience and means that I wish I had to do my best work as a mom. Many nights I go to bed wondering if I have failed for the day. But, the energy and love I pour into holidays and birthdays and special occasions is my love language for you and your brothers. It's one of my favorite ways to show you that I love you and that you are so special. And I hope you will remember that in case telling you every day doesn't sink in ;-)
3. I wish for you to be worthy of your names. You are named after your grandmother and your great-grandmother who I never got to meet, but always wish I had. Your Grandma is a kind, strong, generous woman who loves you very much. Your great grandmother didn't get to live long enough in this world to see her son and daughter grow up, but I believe she sees you and is proud to have such a sweet little namesake. I know both women would be forever proud to have you make your name into one that people associate with kindness and grace, intelligence and comfort. Take pride in your surname too. Your paternal family is just as noteworthy and wonderful and it is an honor to have that branch in your family tree.
4. I wish for your burdens to be bearable. Trials will come...no one escapes that. But, I hope that you are able to allow the things you are sent to deal with in your life to strengthen instead of crush or define you. In order for this to happen, you need to be following the right paths and making the right choices so you are in a position to deal with them. If I loved you less, I would wish for your life to have no problems at all (I feel crazy even writing this because, as your mother, if I ever have to watch you go through even 1/4 of the anguish I have been through the last four years, I am not sure what I would do.) But, I know that you are a great soul. And I know that you are here to become even greater and no one can do that without learning to endure well. So, do hard things and rely on those things that you know are true. Savor the moments that are really great and don't take them for granted because they will bolster you up when things feel too difficult.
5. I wish for you to find someone honorable (but not until you have had time to become fully acquainted with yourself as an individual. If you try to get married at 18 or 20, we will have a fight!) Obviously, I have my own reasons for wishing this, because I am well acquainted with the fallout of the opposite, but for this, I am mostly thinking of before things went wrong. I felt friendship and love and security for a long time in my partnership and I really want that for you. (Except I want yours to last for an eternity instead of just a decade) ;-) I can't promise this for you and you can't even ensure it yourself because everyone has their agency, so I am starting now with the praying and wishing on stars (and sacrificing my best cow to the moon goddess, etc. etc. just to cover all my bases.) Many (many, many, many, many!!!) years from now, I hope to see you with someone who never, ever forgets what a princess he has earned.
Happy Birthday Sunshine! You are my favorite girl!