Amelia Turns Two!

Two years ago today my daughter was born after hard work and many prayers. She looked so beautiful to me, and even though I didn't have the strength to hold her in my arms, they rolled her little bed next to mine and my eyes fixed on her in awe throughout the night. I thought she was breathtaking from the moment I saw her.

Her birthdays are a little emotional for me, as they mark a time we're leaving behind as well as one we're entering. I told Amelia last night, "After today, you'll never be one year old again." My husband's friend, Jarrod, had a baby several months ago and writes in this post about the death of children. He says the heartbreak of parenthood is that the child of today will not be there tomorrow.
And it makes me very, very sad to think that I've said goodbye to those little girls, and I'll never see them again except in pictures. It's like saying goodbye to a loved one every week or every day. No matter what happens from here on out, the little girl that's in that Coming Home picture doesn't exist anymore. She's changed and grown until you can barely recognize that they're the same baby. In the midst of all the happiness of watching my baby girl get bigger and more alert and smile and interact, there's a constant, low-level mourning for the ones I leave behind. . . .

Being a parent is like that. I'm constantly ripped apart by saying goodbye to these little girls that I will never see again. But I'm rebuilt - bigger and stronger - by the new ones that I'm meeting every day. The ones that talk a bit more and cry a bit less, and absolutely shatter me with their smiles.

Amelia's great-grandparents will be in town in time for her party, so four generations will surround her as we mark this day and celebrate her presence in our lives and in the world. The gifts are wrapped, the cake is decorated (thank you, Meg, for your artwork and for drawing a beautiful picture of Madeline), and all that is left is for me to say good-bye to this year in her life. The frustrations look small to me in comparison to the joys.

Watch over thy child, O Lord, as her days increase; bless and guide her wherever she may be.
Strengthen her when she stands; comfort her when discouraged or sorrowful; raise her up if she falls;
and in her heart may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of her life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.