If my Tuesday child was full of grace, she was generous with me and shared it.
It should not have happened the way that it did. By rights it should have been fear and technology, not laughing and swaying, moving and breathing and napping and joking. It should have ended in surgery or tragedy, not roaring power and my baby in my two hands. I knew that it couldn't, that it could not end the way I wanted. That it would end badly.
I was wrong.
I was gloriously, wondrously, incredibly wrong. And now, a year later, she lies on the couch beside me, sleeping. She walks across the living room, grinning. She dances, clapping. She plays with her sister, laughing. She leans in and presses wet lips against my cheek, kissing.
She is a wonder. She astonishes me. A year into knowing her I can truly say I don't know her well enough. I continue to be surprised by her, astounded by the very way of her. She is so unlike her sister, so perfectly blessedly unique, that I am constantly taken aback. I am always saying, "She is so different." And I couldn't be happier, not because we do not love her sister, but because she is delightfully herself. Fearfully and wonderfully made, one star among millions.
I wish I could describe what she's like. I would so like to paint her portrait in words that could properly express her. How she crawls at top speed down the hall after her sister. How she will look at me, and then bob her head as she looks away, silly. Her two-week period of licking everything in the kitchen. Her high-pitched shriek - fit to shatter glass - that is both an exclamation of delight and of moral outrage. How she crams her mouth with frozen peas, growling like a mountain cat. How as soon as she could move across the floor and pull up to stand she has stood next to her sister at the play kitchen, playing along, insistent that she will be included. How she will always tunnel under furniture or people, even detouring to do so. How, before she was crawling on hands and knees, she would creep along on her belly at an astonishingly quick pace, taking excited breaks to stop, look up at me, push up with her hands, and then drop down to her belly while kicking her arms and legs out repeatedly, only to start creeping again.
She is so ludicrously funny.
I wish there were words to adequately depict the round curve of her cheek, the softness of her skin, the precise shade of pink glow of her face, the downy fluff of her white-blond hair. Her cupid's bow mouth. Her crystal blue eyes. The utter desolation of her sad faces. The hilariously heartbreaking power of her pout.
She is so undeniably beautiful.
Life is not all rainbows and lollipops. Our former morning person has awoken shrieking and angry at the crack of dawn for the past two weeks, ramming her skull into my face in her inexplicable rage. She shows righteous indignation - loudly - when things do not go quite as she'd like. She can unshelve a load of books faster than I can tidy them. She is rapidly demonstrating the vital importance of baby-proofing. She's a hair-puller. She bites a little. She's possessive and fickle and moody and demanding. She's just normal.
But her joy is infectious, her love unmistakable. She is loved and loving, opening her arms wide for Mommy, weeping when Daddy leaves for work, sits at the bedroom door asking for her sister at bedtime. Her sister is her hero and her greatest friend. She looks for her upon waking and lights up upon seeing her. Her first laughs were for her only, and her sister's silliness is still the guaranteed to draw a smile in even her saddest moments. Their mutual adoration is compelling. It is inspiring and heart-rendingly beautiful.
She is in a hurry to grow up, taking her first steps last Friday, saying "Dis" and "Dat" and - I think - "Dance". And with each day that passes, some things pass into history, things I must remember and cherish in my heart, things which - once gone - we will never see again. Her six-toothed grin. The perfect swirl of fine blonde hair on the crown of her head. The creases in her chubby thighs. The darling curve of her fan of eyelashes, laid across her cheeks as she sleeps, reposing in my arms; once a round, neat bundle, now a leggy lapful.
But hers is a future of possibility to be embraced. And we are blessed to be her family, growing her in love and grace and joy.
Happy birthday, darling Scarlet. My first words to you were, "You're real!" an exclamation of delight and disbelief. Now, a year later, I can still scarcely believe that you are here, that you are real. What a year it has been for us, and what more there is to come. Thank you for being all that you are.
Thank you for being ours.