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~