Today Joy is one year old. Her first birthday. She has no idea how big of a milestone it is. All she knows is that she gets to eat special snacks and treats today and that we sing to her a lot and the big kids clap for everything she does. She probably will not remember anything that happens today and that's okay. I will.I'll remember when she was eight days old and we walked, (me, very slowly,) to the little park down our street to take a picture of the three of them. She slept most of the time and we buried Smarties under her to give the big kids motivation to act interested in her. It totally worked. Look how excited they are to be sitting by their baby sister! NOT.
I'll remember outings like this one when she behaved better than her big sister
I'll think back to her first attempt to swipe some Cool Ranch Doritos from a sibling
Her first time to wear a life jacket and go out on the lake at Nattie's house
Her first Christmas card pose
her first kiss or "love bite"
her first sisterly snuggle
Her first time to wear hot pink. That's a lie. First time to wear THAT hot pink dress.
Today I will think back to her first time in the best walker on earth.
and to her first trip to Northpark where Aunt Emmy followed her around
and to her first ride in the "wagon" at Mimi's house.
I'll think back over the trips to Nattie's house where she learned the ropes as a country girl
and when she first cared about shoes
When she used to wait for her brother to walk home from school with daddy and clap when she saw him. Every single day. Even though he only goes to school for three hours.
I'll think back to her first trip to Double Dip when she was a week old and how she slept through the whole thing
I'll remember how Sean took pictures of her when she was exactly 6 months old, the day before her surgery to remove her "thing" that had worried us for so many months
I'll think back to when she first opened her eyes for more than 2 minutes at a time...when she started "waking up" after the c-section drugs started wearing off
It'll hit me around mid-day that she has taught me more about Christ and His sacrifice for us than any other person, all of it taught before she was even born. I would have traded my life for hers without question and was afraid but willing to do what she needed to survive.
I'll remember that she held herself up way sooner than her big siblings did. I'll remember when I realized that she was a 'go-getter'
I will be reminded of her first few attempts at pulling up when she hit her head and never cried. How watching her would show me that she had little if no fear about trying new things.
She still doesn't. Today is a huge milestone for her and for me.
There were times I didn't think we'd survive this year and we have. There are moments of panic and being overwhelmed sure. I had one yesterday when we met Carley and Jennie and their kids at the mall for lunch and following a rough morning at home, I was so relieved to be out of the house. Then Ty spilled his drink and started crying. Actually yelling/crying. When I leaned over to discipline him Joy grabbed my sandwich and threw it onto the floor. And I almost cried. I was so frustrated after the morning and all I wanted to do was eat and talk to my friends. My partners in crime. My fellow moms who I swap stories, struggles, and victories with. Then Carley offered to go get me a new sandwich and I told her not to because it would make me cry. She did anyway and Jennie encouraged me with sharing her own story of needing a mommy vacation recently. I didn't feel guilty anymore. It felt good to just breathe and know that I'm not alone in thinking this job is hard.
There are so many things to be grateful for. On days when the tasks are stacking up in front of me and I feel like crying, I still do. But I remember on days like today that for a whole year I've taken care of the coolest three little people in the world. I've been slimed, hugged, kissed, and thrown up on countless times and I'm a better woman because of it. I'm living my dream.
So Happy Birthday to Joy. We are crazy about her...some of us more than others. Ty loves her in his own way he just wants her to stop taking his stuff.