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Dear Breathe:

Today is one of the most special days in all the year for me:  it is the day that you turn eight years old. I remember this day from eight years ago very well.  Dr. Moran told me to go to the hospital for what I thought was going to be a routine monitoring excursion.  I stopped at Krispy Kreme first, because I thought it was going to be a couple hours before I was allowed to eat.  What little did I know!   When I got to the hospital, they told me that Dr. Moran had decided to go ahead and induce me that day—he was ready for you to be born.  God was ready for you to be born!  As we walked to the room, we passed the nursery, and I saw all the little babies in there.  I could not believe that in a few hours, you would be one of them and that I would get to hold you!

The moment you were born, I could not get past how perfect you were.  I held you and cried. I wouldn’t let them take you away from me, not even for a few minutes.  I could not believe that you were really my baby.  Everyone told me how challenging a new baby can be, but you weren’t at all:  you were so wonderful. You never, ever cried.  You loved staring at the lights.  You were truly perfect.  And you haven’t stopped being perfect in eight years.

I wish I could tell you all of the things I love about you, but there are too many to count them all.  I love it when you are really, really laughing. You get so tickled, and your whole face seems to light up in one big smile.  The sound of your laughter is beautiful, and it makes me want to laugh along with you. I love that you love being tickled and having me play “This Little Piggy” on you.  I love the sweet notes you write, and how you love writing your stories and talking with you “kids”.  I love stuffed animals because they mean so much to you.  I love how you face your fears, like when you went down the mountain at LIS even though you didn’t really want to, and how you swung down from the jungle gym, even though it frightened you.  You don’t know it, but watching you be brave makes me be brave too.  When Alight was born, you wanted to hold her and help give her a bath:  I remember the three of us on the floor with you putting soap on her and me trying to keep her still.  Today, you love helping her learn to write her letters and reading to her.  The sound of you laughing as the two of you play together is one of the best sounds I’ve ever heard. You are a wonderful sister, and Alight is very lucky to have you as her friend.  I love how you love to draw and color, and how you are so thoughtful.  You love to snuggle at night, and you still love playing silly word games with me like “Knot Not” and talking jibberish to each other. You make me proud in so many ways, like when you made it a point to make someone who wasn’t being nice to you your friend and how you always ask to be the one to say the prayer.

Every day that I get to talk to you, and play with you, and spend time with you is a day that I treasure and love.  I always think about the things you say and nothing makes me happier than when I know that you are happy. There are lots of things that I hope for you.  I hope that you continue to grow into an amazing young girl, with friends and security.  I hope that, when you look into the mirror, you see something as beautiful as gold.  You are so eager to be grown up:  you want to be a mama, you want to have an “office”, you want to be married.  Part of me wants to freeze time until we’ve been able to play Elephant in the Jungle and Human Obstacle Course a million more times.  Part of me wants to freeze time until I’ve had a thousand more hours to watch you sleep.  Part of me wants to freeze time until we’ve had a million more days of picking flowers and dancing in the rain.  Part of me wants to freeze time until I’ve had a billion more cuddles. This year, you’ve lost a couple of teeth and your smile is so beautiful with them missing: part of me is dreading the growth of your permanent teeth.

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But I know that you have so many beautiful and amazing dreams of your own: you want to meet people, you want to be independent, you want to be able to make it all the way across the monkey bars by yourself, you want to drive, you want to be a teacher, you want to vote, you want to be a leader…. and what a fabulous leader you will be!  If I freeze time to keep you small here with me, you won’t be able to make any of your own wondrous dreams come true…. and so what I most hope for you is that you reach for the stars, see how beautiful the world is and always, always know how very much I love you.

Happy birthday, sweet girl. Being your mother is the greatest gift of my life.  Being able to watch as you grow, and as new dreams form and are then realized is the greatest privilege I could ever ask for.  Your hugs make me strong and happy.  I cannot wait to see what this new year brings for you, what new adventures we’ll find together, what new things you’ll learn to do all by yourself. I can’t wait to hear all the musical laughs, see the beautiful sunsets and smell the lovely flowers.  I can’t wait to go places with you and watch as you explore.  I can’t wait to hear what thoughtful, funny or smart things you’ll say. And I hope that, at the end of each day, you are able to go to sleep knowing how much I love, like and adore you. You are my Squinkie, my snuggle bunny, and forever my baby Breathe.

I love you, and happy birthday!

Love,

Mama

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