My little L is 3 years old.
I was with her every single one of those 1095 days (save the 3 nights I was in the hospital for baby S's birth). There are days when it feels like I am beyond aware of every single one of those minutes we've spent together and then there are days when I can hardly fathom how she went from being a tiny little newborn to the strong willed, outspoken, independent person that she is today.
I'm not the best mother in the world. My creativity is lacking and I know we watch more TV than we should and there are days when my patience has run dry and I'm too quick to heat up spaghetti oh's and let you wear your pajamas all day. There are days when you plead with me to let you play outside and I spend too much time wrapped up in work to get around to it and other days when I blow off work entirely just to take you to the mall to ride the carousel horses and eat cookies.
I never fully filled out the baby book. I started with the best intentions and I have milestone dates, weights, lengths and things you've said jotted down in notepads, stored in old blogs, added to the notes section of my phone and some I've sure have just gone forgotten. I've taken more photos and videos of you than anyone will EVER care to see (much to the dismay of all my facebook friends, I'm sure) but I've done a terrible job of organizing them or printing them to a book or burning a cd of compiled video for you. I fear our computer will croak someday and I'll lose them all and regret not having been better at managing them. Snippets of our days, our biggest and smallest moments together... trying desperately to capture and cling to what I can as you grow in warp speed. I find my memory is just awful and now that there are two of you, I struggle to remember who from what.
You're so independent. You don't need help doing anything and you make sure we know it. If I start to help with something, you'll stop me and make a point to start the whole process over so that I see just how ridiculous it was of me to try in the first place. You can dress yourself, brush your own teeth, make your own lunchbox, wash your own hands and clean up after yourself. You are kind and thoughtful and incredibly creative. You make up stories and songs and love to dance and laugh and make everyone else around you laugh, too. There are times when you are wild, loud and crazy but at the same time you are reserved and not quick to leap without looking first. You think through your decisions and choices and rarely act brash or bold but you are willing to try new things and give new experiences, foods and people a chance.
The one thing we learned about you this last year that we didn't know before is what an AMAZING big sister you are. I was so worried you'd be jealous or feel abandonded but you surprised us with neither reaction. You are quick to help and always eager to give your sister a toy or a kiss. You 2 speak a language that no one else understands and I know that regardless of what happens in life, you'll always have each other. I pray the innocence and love that you share now as you just look at one another and smile will last a lifetime.
What I don't think you'll ever know is how profoundly you have changed my life. Before you, my life was my own and I was far too selfish for my own good. There are moments in life that change a person so deeply that they never, ever return to being the same... and you, my first miracle, were truly one of the biggest of those moments for me. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God for that fluke cycle when everything seemed to go so wrong but ultimately each event went so right. I cannot even think of where we'd be if that cycle had failed because there is not one single ounce of me that cares to know.
It never occurred to me when I was younger how a birthday was the end of a year instead of the beginning. Your third year was pretty magical for me and I am watching you fondly as we start the fourth, hoping time will find a way to slow down but knowing that it only gets faster as it goes. Regardless of how big you get, I hope you know that you'll always be my first baby love, sweet girl.