Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sweet 16!

too beautiful

At this time sixteen years ago, I became a mom for the first time. Rachel was the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen, and the love I felt for her was so intense I thought I could die from it. I didn't know before that minute that I could love someone so completely, with every single fiber in my body, that I'd willingly throw myself off a building if it meant saving her from harm. After I became a mom three more times, I understood the feeling better, but there's nothing like the first time, is there?

Matt looks like he's about 16 holding her! She is about 3 weeks old.

In the sixteen years that followed, there have been many ups and downs. There have been times that I have felt like a fantastic mom, and times that I've felt that I was the worst mom that ever existed. I have learned a little about patience--though it has never been my strong suit and probably never will be. I have learned more than I care to about how angry children can make you, and I have learned that I am about as far from perfect as it's possible to get. I have also learned that time is precious and passes too quickly, and that I am so very lucky to have this girl in my life.

loving the swings at 5 months old.

In Iowa, we used to visit these horses almost every day.

On her 3rd birthday

4 years old, camping in Pennsylvania

at 8 years old, on the beach with Julia and Evelyn

What do I wish for Rachel? I wish her every happiness in the world. I want her to find passion in every area of her life, from a career she loves and finds meaning in, hobbies she can pursue with zeal that bring her joy, all the way to finding love and happiness with someone. I hope that someday (far from today!) she will know what it's like to love a child, all the highs and lows included. I'll try not to say "I told you so!" when her child is sixteen and she cries at the drop of a hat, either.

Joy like this, every day!

and a smile like this one.

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