It was quiet.

The girls? Fast asleep.

The Hubs? Out like a light.

Our out-of-town family? All settled in for the night.

It was just me…me and a clock that read 11:44 p.m. on Saturday, May 19th.

Little O’s birthday was just about over. It had been an amazing day~ really, truly amazing. The kind of day that makes you feel warm & fuzzy about your family, smiley & thankful for all of your friends, and grateful that after months of thought & preparation, the day had finally arrived. Been thoroughly enjoyed. And now was just about ready to be whisked off into the night.

Sitting on the side of my bed, restless, I stared at the clock.

I rose, quietly opened my bedroom door and tiptoed the short distance to Little O’s room.

It was dark & silent, save for the floor fan providing gentle white noise for her dreams.

The birthday girl was curled up on her side, blonde hair spilling down her cheek. Her fingers clutched Lovey, resting her under her chin~ the preferred snuggle spot. Her face was smooth and calm, dreaming happy dreams, no doubt.

I bent down to kiss her head, breathing in my now-three-year-old daughter. Her lavender lotion. Her strawberry shampoo. Her quiet & steady breaths.

And then the tears came.

Stunned, I sank to the floor. And the tears soundlessly streamed down my face as I remembered.

Remembered that day, three years ago, that I became a mother.

Remembered how she felt when she was placed in my arms, a soft, warm torpedo of blankets. I was scared that I wasn’t strong enough to hold her; and yet, my arms ached for her, my lips needed to kiss her sweet face, feel her soft newborn hands, count her tiny little toes.

Remembered the relieved yes that washed over me as soon as I held her. Yes, little one, I am your momma. Yes, you are the love of our lives, and we just met you, at long last. Yes, I will dry your tears and cheer you on and encourage you to grow, fly and embrace this gift of life that you’ve been given.

Yes. You are our brand-new entire world.

And yes. I love you with every inch of my being. And I always, always will.


Staring at my sweet birthday girl, I was overwhelmed at the magnitude of it all.

The tears kept coming, fast and furious, but I didn’t fight it. I let myself marvel over the amazingness of her. Of the moment. Of the chance to really embrace what this 3-year milestone meant to me.

Happy tears over the beautiful, bubbly little girl that is making our days radiate with joy & light. Sad tears that these three years have gone by in the blink of an eye. And scared tears, over the newness & uncertainty that this 3-year-old year will bring. The independent mornings at preschool, the growing insistence to do things all by herself.

The never-ending heartache and joy of having your heart walk around outside your body.

The tears & I quietly kept Little O company on those last few minutes of her birthday. I had an inexplicable need to be with her as those moments ticked by until midnight. Together, we sent the day~ all of the happy memories, the birthday giggles, the hugs & kisses & cake & chorus of voices singing Happy Birthday~ off into the night.

Her from her sweet-dreamed slumber, me from my tearful vigil on the floor.

Then, in those first few moments of May 20th, I kissed my oldest daughter’s cheek, whispered I love you to the moon and back, and said a prayer that this year would be filled with happiness and laughter and joy for our sweet girl.

And then my tears & I made our way back to my room, my bed.

But my heart…

my heart was still beside my sleeping birthday girl.

Counting My Kisses: One of the things that I love most about this blog is that I can capture moments like this one. Capture it for myself, so I can remember exactly how I felt at this moment in time. Capture it for Little O, so when she’s older, she can enjoy these memories. And capture it for all of you, and hope that this story connects to a little piece of your heart. I’ll be linking this post up with Shell from Things I Can’t Say this week~

because sometimes, you just need to pour your heart out.


22 thoughts on “Three

  1. I don’t have any children of my own, so I can’t truly understand the feelings you wrote about, but it did bring tears to my eyes. Good tears though. I could feel the love you have for your daughters in that post. Beautiful.

    • Kristen~ thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so happy you connected with this post, it is something that has been on my heart for a few weeks & I finally was ready to write it down. So happy you stopped by!

  2. I love it! Its amazing how quickly these babies grow up! Its like overnight they age! They’re at such a fun (any trying) age! I’m so glad you shared that little piece of O’s birthday!

    • Erin~ I know, I feel like time is just zooming by, how are our babies so old all of a sudden?! Ahhh. So glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

  3. I cried as I read your beautiful account of a memorable day and remembered doing the same thing ,several times, in our three childen’s lives. You think you know what you are in for before you actually have your own child, but nothing prepares for the first time you hold that tiny little soul. There truly is nothing like it. I thank God every day for allowing me to be a mom, and I thank you for sharing your stories and helping me relive how fortunate I really am.

    • Aunt Diann~ thank you for your kind & beautiful words. I was hoping that by sharing my feelings about O’s birthday, it would help others connect with feelings of their own as well. So happy it brought back memories for you! xoxoxo

    • JDaniel4’s Mom~ thank you so much! So far Little O’s third year is off to a pretty fabulous start, I think it’s headed in the best year ever direction for sure. 🙂

  4. Oh they grow up so fast. I am always taken aback by those moments when I catch my son sleeping and am overwhelmed with love. They take your breath away. Loved this line, “the neverending heartache and joy of having your heart walk around outside your body.

    • Julia~ thank you! I am exactly the same way. I think it’s something about them being so sweet & quiet while they are sleeping that we can really, truly can watch them & be taken aback by the strength of our love. So happy you connected with this post!

  5. I’m so glad you were able to capture this memory in writing – it was beautifully and eloquently written and I know you (and your daughter) will enjoy looking back on it.

    My daughter is 2.5 and I’m up to my eyeballs in the Terrible Two’s right now. It’s not always pretty. I’m not always pretty in my reactions to her terrible two-ness. But whenever I look at her in the middle of a meltdown or fit of defiance and think to myself, “Who ARE you?” I try to remember her as an infant – sweet and snuggly and innocent – and remember how happy I was on the day she was born.

    • Kristin~ thank you for your kind words! I am so happy I was able to capture this memory, it rolled around in my head for a few weeks before I could finally pour it out on paper. I know I’ll love looking back on it one day; I hope Little O will too!

      And I’m right there with you in the Terrible Two’s…Baby H is just dipping her toes in those waters, and Little O is in such a defiant stage, it’s enough to drive me crazy some days. One day we’ll look back on this and laugh, right? 🙂 We just have to keep focusing on the positive {and remembering that this too shall pass!}. 🙂

  6. This is a beautiful post! I just don’t remember who I was before I became a mother, and I’m OK with that. I feel like my life began when my son came into the world.

    • Delliah~ I’m so happy you connected with this post, that means so much to me! It was a challenge to truly capture how I felt that night, but I’m so glad I did. Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

  7. This is absolutely beautiful! Such a powerful moment- and love that it’s captured on your blog for you(and your daughter) to be able to look back on!

    • Thanks Shell! I’m so thankful I was able to capture it as well…something for both of us to look back on one day. 🙂

    • Tanya~ it’s something about those big milestones that just brings out the tears! So glad you connected with this post, wonderful to know I’m not the only teary momma on birthdays! 🙂

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