Three years ago today Tarah called me about 12:30 in the morning to tell me it was time. You were coming. It was four days past your due date and with every day that passed I was both relieved, and ready to burst with anticipation. Relieved, because it meant I had one more day to prepare to be a mom, whatever that means. But I wanted to meet you, so bad.......and the anticipation was hard to keep contained.
Just six short weeks before that phone call we'd learned you were going to be a girl. I almost jumped across the table and hugged Tarah; I'd only known her for fifteen minutes though.......so I refrained. Chris said he could feel the electricity charging out of me when Tarah said, "Oh.....and I almost forgot to tell you.....the baby is a girl."
I didn't need a girl, but I wanted one desperately. God knew I wanted one. And He doesn't always give us what we want, because He knows it doesn't always translate to what we need..........but He knew I needed you, my little girl......to wear those pink shoes.........to show me, again, how amazingly good He is......and how after five years of infertility treatments with no answers........I finally got the best answer; the one that was so worth the wait---you.
And knowing you now like I do; what you look like, how you act, what gets you excited, what frustrates you, what you're apprehensive about, what you're confident about, and all the in-between things.........I would be remiss if I just chalked it up to luck.........you were created for this family, to be our little girl.
And today......I wish you a happy third birthday. According to you.....you're big now. You woke up this morning and you're big. Poof--like that. In fact, you don't even refer to yourself as big-little anymore......just big.
Happy birthday my big girl! You're the answer to a million questions, dreams, frustrations, tears, and "I hopes." Your daddy and I need you like we need air.......and when we look at our favorite pictures from the last three years it's hard to believe we were ever able to breathe so well before we met you, held you, smelled you, felt you, kissed you, or felt your smooth little hand in ours and heard your little voice saying, "Daddy I love you, " and "Mommy......I love you 'ever."
The first bottle I ever gave you in the hospital. You were one day old. You love to hear the story of how we had to squeeze your cheeks to get you to drink. I've caught you squeezing the cheeks of your babies saying, "Drink baby, drink."
One week old......and you almost fit in one hand. And you peed on daddy right after this shot was snapped. And he didn't even care.
Your first trip to Leeland. You were four months old and I felt like I was emerging from baby haze. You were sleeping good......finally.......and smiling and laughing. Daddy went off to a park while I was shopping, to feed you. When I finally found you guys I walked up on this and I fell in love with both of you all over again.
First camping trip to Barakel. Six months old in a tent......enough said. But to this day these remain some of my most favorite pictures of you ever. I can smell soy formula when I look at these and I love it. I love it because it smelled like you. I can feel your cheeks and your feather soft hands; everything.
Six month pictures. The first time you ever sat up on your own. You knew when it was time to look cute for the camera.
Your Aunt Enna at your first Thanksgiving. She loves you....she sure does. When I walk into your room after quiet time and I can't see the carpet because it's covered in toys or when you say things like, "We're going to put up a show," I smile and I think.......'you have some of those great, Aunt Ena genes in you for sure. Nature vs. Nurture......it only holds so much water.
First Christmas. And really......a baby's first Christmas is as magical as Hallmark ornaments make them out to be. And at 9 months, you couldn't have had more fun. I should have known then, as you displayed your paper shredding prowess, that you'd go on to be a master paper cutter......leaving hamster cage shavings all over this house for me to pick up ten times an.......hour.
Snowed in during the winter of 2010. And I'm just thankful this wasn't a light pole. You little cutie.
First birthday.....a peach party for you little Georgia.
Your first (coherent) spring and you were walking all over the place. These little water foot-prints were everywhere and I couldn't help taking pictures of every one I saw. I'd watch them dry and fade away and be reminded of how fast you were getting, big, big, bigger, and of course at three.....the biggest.
The children's museum. A haven on 90 degree days in the summer and a place where I love to watch your innate curiosity and love of learning new things explode.
That little red mark on your cheek? From the helmet. Ah.....the helmet. Four months of a little sweaty head.....four months of craving one (or two--I cheated......a lot) hour a day with no helmet where I could hold you without it scraping my face, smell your head (even when it was sweaty--I loved it), kiss your whole cheek, and snuggle with you un-hindered. I hated the helmet. You, on the other hand, being the always-happy girl that you are, never batted an eye at it.
Eighteen month pictures........this couldn't be more you. When I look at this picture in retrospect, before I realized what your personality was going to be exactly, I just laugh. This was just a little glimpse into what we were in for.......silly, silly, billy you are.......all the time.
A trip to the pumpkin patch with Gaga and Pop Pop.......you love Pop Pop so much. I've never seen you sit so still and listen so intently to someone. He mesmerizes you like no one can. I love to watch you with him, imagining that that's what it was like for me when I was your age with him.........he's a great guy and he loves you like crazy.
Halloween. A zebra. And you loved this costume--you said it was so cozy.
This day. These diapers. Your face. Moms always tell you that when your toddler is too quiet they're up to something........you were so proud of yourself and I couldn't get the camera fast enough.
This picture will be in your wedding slide show. It's one of my most favorite of the two of us. I love that your eyes are open and you've got that wild crazy look thing going on that you've mastered.
You love everything about life. Even Amazon boxes that contain things you've never heard of like Ant Farms--but without you reading me the directions I never would have known how to put it together. Thank you for knowing.....everything.
I love catching you serious. Serious doesn't happen very often with you, because that would mean you couldn't be laughing or smiling. But serious you is beautiful--and not just because it means things are calm but because it's a little look into your soul that is fleeting. I love how contemplative your face looks, how you just relax, and how you focus on something so important--it helps me understand what is really important to you. And I love that.
This iconic picture from last summer--totally a fluke, totally perfect. I love you Georgia. Oh, I love you.
You. Loving life like no one can.
I feel like you look magical whenever I see this picture. You and Gaga. Today you told me she was your best friend. I was a little put off--I thought that was my job--but I can be okay with that; she's a good best friend to have.
Finnicky about dirt you are not......those dirty hands, smudges on your face and licking the salt shaker capture how much you are always in the moment.
This afternoon with you in the woods was perfect. It's one of those moments I'll never forget--we'd had a great day, the day was beautiful, and it was easy to just be there.....with you.....and no one else.
No one else can see it, but I know you're looking up at your daddy with those huge eyes and that is awesome to me.
You are drawn to arts and crafts like a moth to a flame. Whenever I can't find you, it's a sure bet you're sitting at your table drawing something, creating something, cutting something, or coloring something.......and heaven forbid we don't save every single one of those masterpieces!
Your hair. It's amazing. Everyone wants it.........including me.
And last night---your last pictures as a two year old. I laid in bed with you way past your bed-time; reading, taking pictures, tickling, laughing, pretending I was Dorothy and you were Mrs. Gulch (at your request--promise). I was trying to hold onto every last second of two. Because today.........it's done. Two years is over......Happy day three year old! I love you forever.