I didn’t title this post. Chanelle, looking over my shoulder, insisted I move aside, “I’ll write the title”, she said, and without pause, placed her hands on the keyboard and typed the most perfect title.
It’s something we say often around our house. Whether in response to silly words our littlest speaks, a recent antic performed for a reaction, or the simple quirks of her personality for which we have no response except, “Oh, Meadow.”
Meadow is 8 years old today. EIGHT. My-baby-who-is-not-really-a-baby-but-will-always-be-my-baby-is eight-years-old-today.
And although I know she won’t read these words today, I hope someday, when she wants them, or when she needs to be reminded, or when she needs to remember how much she is loved and celebrated, she will find them here.
Today, is for Meadow.
You are eight years old today! Statements like, it all goes so fast probably seems like something grown ups just say, but they are not just words. The time passes by more quickly that I could have ever imagined and somehow you went from that squiggly little baby who was placed on my chest in a hospital room to a vibrant, full of life young lady who makes me smile every single day.
Meadow, eight years later I still marvel at all you have added to our family. All your tiny frame brought into our lives at a time when we believed, we had all we could ever need or want–at a time when we were told, you have your boy and your girl, don’t mess with that perfection.
We messed with that perfection and I am so glad we did.
You see, Meadow, it is impossible for me to untangle the loss of my mom from your birth. Though, you were born over two years after my Mom died, I was still reeling in a world without her. When we anticipated your arrival the questions in my mind were constant, how can I have a baby without my Mom? Will I be able to do this without her?
My answer came swiftly–with a few pushes, a lot of joyful tears, and a doctor placing your body with a full head of dark-hair on my chest with the sweet words, it’s a girl. In that moment, Meadow, I knew.
Life goes on.
Joy arrives after pain.
Joy and sadness can exist in a beautiful tension and it is that tension, Meadow, that makes life so incredibly beautiful.
Meadow, our family was given such a gift when you arrived–and that gift has continued every day since.
You have brought a vibrancy to our world that we didn’t know we needed. Every day (and this is not an exaggeration) you remind us that there are different ways to see the world–because you see the world so differently.
I’ll never forget the day last year, Meadow, when you looked me directly in the eye and with absolute seriousness you informed me, my brain doesn’t work like everyone else’s.
Even at such a young age, Meadow, you knew what I was still trying to wrap my head around–it’s okay to be different. Even at such a young age, you are not afraid to be who you are.
Your creative spirit spills out into your style, your communication, and in the ways you like to spend your time–namely with your hands buried in slime or paints or art projects.
You are our daily reminder that life is not about conformity, but authenticity. You remind us daily that life is not about becoming someone, it’s about being who we already are.
Goodness, Meadow, we absolutely love who you are.
We love your tender heart. Your passion for animals. Your love of slime and glue and art. We love the quirky personality, your humor and wit. We love your style and your ability to not care about fitting in, but focus on fitting into your own skin.
Meadow, I want you to know that you are deeply loved and celebrated, not only on this day, but every single day of your life. We treasure you for who you are.
We absolutely treasure you.
Today you are eight, Meadow. And someday, you will be eighteen, or twenty-eight, or thirty-eight and I want you to know this. . .
There has never been a time when we are not proud of you. There has never been a time when we have not been proud to call you our daughter. There has never been a time when we have not believed that you have absolutely everything you need to be successful in the world.
But Meadow? If there is ever a time you need to be reminded?
Your dad and I will be here to do just that.
Meadow, I love you. I love you today, on your eighth birthday. I love you always.
I am so, so proud of who you are.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl.