To Elysa On Her Eighth Birthday

This was written yesterday, but it didn’t get posted until today because we were too busy having fun!

Sometimes I feel that as the middle child, you get screwed out of a lot of things. But you, my dear, are the first to get a birthday dedication in my blog. And that is something special.

So today, my sweet Ellie Bean, you turn eight years old. I’d say that it doesn’t seem possible, since it really does seem like only moments ago that you were a baby. But I also struggle to remember what my life was like without you in it. You have filled a hole in my heart that I didn’t know was there.

Everything about your existence was planned, but you taught me very quickly that all the planning in the world couldn’t prepare me for what you would bring to my life, to the world. The good and the bad.

Elysa1

Back when your sister actually adored you.  Crazy, right?

I went to the hospital on the morning of August 20th, 2007 thinking that I knew how this would go down. I already had your sister, I was a birthing expert, for crying out loud! But no, oh no, the only thing that “went down” as I expected was that I got a baby out of it in the end. I didn’t know that you were positioned face up and would torture me with hours of back labor. I didn’t know that my epidural wouldn’t take full effect and I would end up feeling more pain than I ever imagined. I didn’t know that when the doctor broke my water, you would bring your tiny hand above your head and grab the doctor’s finger. And trust me, he didn’t either. But after all of that, at 10:17 pm, you graced us with your presence.

You weighed nearly a pound more than your big sister and were an inch and a half shorter, ElysaBabywhich resulted in this chubby little ball of perfection with curly hair that the nurses swore was red. I just thought that they were seeing the blood, but it turns out that they were right. I held you and nursed you and held you some more. I didn’t want to let you go. You made me realize immediately that I could, in fact, love someone as much as I loved my first child.

You were an incredibly fussy baby, with tummy troubles that extended even into toddlerhood. That was hard, but I knew it wasn’t your fault. You were also an incredibly needy baby. I know what you’re about to say… aren’t babies supposed to be needy? Well, sure, they are completely dependent. But your sister was happy to sit in her bouncer or swing or let someone else hold her. You were not. If I wasn’t holding you, if you couldn’t feel my body pressed against yours, you were not happy. And if we’re being honest, not much has changed over the past eight years. You still want to be near me, touching me, cuddling me. I swear you’d crawl back into the womb if you could. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t actually enjoy it most of the time. I love that you love me as much as you do, unconditionally.

And your CHEEKS! Your cheeks were chubby and adorable the moment you were born and Elysa3they only became chubbier and more adorable as time went on. I wondered how a baby’s face could possibly stretch like that to accommodate them. I smooched them constantly back then and I still do today. Of course they’re not quite as chubby anymore, but you still have the sweetest, round little face that makes my heart melt.

But as the years have passed, you have shown me exactly what lies behind those ice blue eyes of yours. You have the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. You are generous to the point that I worry about you being taken advantage of in this selfish and greedy world, but I refuse to crush that giving soul of yours. You are a natural caretaker, a natural mother. You always do for others before you do for yourself. That sort of kindness isn’t common in adults, let alone in children. The world has a lot to learn from you, little one.

Elysa7

           You made this face a lot.  Probably because I put stupid crap like that on your head.  Can’t say that I blame you. 

And your brilliance. I can’t even explain in words the joy I feel when I watch you devour books and teach your brother everything you think he should know. Educating the little dude should be my job, but you’ve taken that responsibility upon yourself and I am just going to roll with it. He responds to you and looks at you with such awe and admiration. Why would I ever take that experience away from the two of you?

You’ve also grown into this amazing little gymnast who loves the sport more than almost anything else in the world. I adore your excitement and passion for the bars and beam. You improve at each lesson and I am ridiculously proud of you and the progress you’ve made.

Elysa8

This picture sums up our relationship perfectly.  Always attached.

And because of your kindness and spirit, you make friends easily. Kids gravitate toward you. Some even tackle you with hugs the moment you walk through the door. This warms my heart because not only do other people see what I see, but you are already having an easier go at socializing than I did at your age. And I don’t know a parent who doesn’t want their child’s life to be better and smoother than their own.

One day, you won’t be a little girl anymore and you won’t really be mine anymore, either. That makes me a little sad. But what I really hope is that as you venture out into the world, you don’t lose the things that make you who you are. Your kindness, your generosity, your spirit. You are beautiful and amazing and I love you more than I can say. It’s been a wonderful eight years and I am so lucky to have you.

Elysa10

So grown, but always my baby.

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