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They say time flies when you are having fun. This year was not all fun and games, did not start fun. It started with fear and pain as I bared you into this world, anxious to see you and anxious of our life together and how you would get along with your brothers and if your daddy could discipline you despite your being a girl. I worried and feared I would not be able to make you strong and brave and confident and that you would not be as easy as the boys.

You weren’t, in the beginning, as easy as the boys. Possibly the first breastfed child I have seen with colic or something like it, you demanded to be held and rocked and would arch and cry and mew for no reason. Nights were dreaded and sleep eluded me at every hour of the night. I cried from exhaustion and you cried from frustration and together we were a sobbing mess at times. But on we rocked. On I loved you and gave you the best of me. I had help along the way and there were moments in those months that I cherished just holding you, breathing your smell in and kissing your furrowed brow.

You grew so fast. You ate like a tiger, ferocious and often. You hit milestones, some of which I missed, and you began smiling. The world was good again when you smiled. The fussy stage passed as quick as it came and you smiled all the time. You rolled over, sat up, belly-laughed at your brothers’ antics, cooed at the dogs. You ate new foods and threw them up too and made innumerable messes. Baths became fun as you splashed and giggled and squealed in delight at your reflection in the mirror, cuddled tight in your towel and looking at wonder at the mommy in the mirror and this mommy who held you tight, flabbergasted that there could be two of me and two of you somehow.

Now you pull up to stand and walk too quickly, gliding along the edge of the couch and trying to take off on your own only to flop back down. You laugh. Oh, how you laugh. Your smile infectious and your giggle joy. Everyone exclaims at your happiness. It’s contagious and we are all happy with you.

As you turn one it still amazes me how fast it came and went, from the moment I convinced myself I would be pregnant forever to your first taste of chocolate cake. Here we are, your birthday, the first of many. One more added blessing to our lives, one more tiny, precious soul to care for through the years. Not a day goes by that we don’t pray for you, thank God for you, and the assurance I have through you of the start of a beautiful mother-daughter relationship we will have. How do I know? Your tiny arms hugging my neck and your giggled kisses in my hair tell me all I need to know.

Happy first birthday Haddie girl, our flower, our star, that came for such a time as this. How you have fulfilled your name!

All my love, always.