My dearest Isabella,
Today you are 1 and I feel robbed. A day that should be full of celebrations has my eyes tinged red as tears flow down my face. My newborn is gone. My toothless, non-babbling, laying still little person has disappeared. Yes, I am excited for your growth and it is nothing but pure joy to see you become the little person you are meant to be, but my heartaches wishing you were my tiny baby just a little bit longer. See, you’re our last baby. The last one we get to bring home from the hospital and the last one that we get to stare at in awe of just how awesome God is. So yeah, mum, as you call me, is quite sad today.
But I’m also amazingly satisfied and proud. You are 1 and sassy. People that meet you say “she doesn’t take any stuff, does she?” and you don’t. Not from anyone. You stick up for yourself against your big sister, and you give your daddy and I a run for our money. Your giddy smile makes my heart want to burst. It’s contagious. I can’t be melancholy when I look at you. That smile races through my body wrapping me up in the heat of your pure joy.
Some say you look like me, a few say you look like your daddy, a lot say you look like your grandma Sylvia, and that makes me so proud. I pray you always resemble her, keeping her memory alive. Before I knew I was pregnant I had a dream that on a sunny day in a building in DC I stepped out to meet her. She handed me a stack of baby clothes and some money. She was so happy. I asked her if she wanted to come in and meet Johanna but she said she couldn’t, but she was so happy to give me that stack. I had no clue that she was trying to tell me that another miracle was headed my way and to get ready.
Since that day you and I have gone through a lot, including laying up in George Washington University Hospital together. I was so worried about your life, and mine. I had really bad anxiety and panic attacks due to being stuck in one room looking at the same 4 walls every day, rarely allowed to leave since I was on pretty strict hospital bedrest due to preeclampsia. But you still had your nightly dance parties in my belly and they let me see you via ultrasound at least once a week. A lot of times you were sleep, sometimes you turned your back on us, but one time you were laying there just blinking at me as if to say hey lady, when does the party really get started? I’m ready to bust out this joint. And eventually we both did. You had a short stay in the NICU my little IUGR baby, pulling out your feeding tube every chance you got until they finally decided not to put it back in. A fighter. You’ve always been a fighter, a survivor. Now I’m watching you thrive.
You’re still petite and look younger than most 1 year olds, but you are fierce. You are also very loving and compassionate. If your sister is crying you go rub her leg and check on her. Sometimes when I’m upset you’ll lay your precious head in my lap. You could afford to be a little kinder to Pepper though. I know you like him and are intrigued by him, but there are better ways of loving on him than pulling out his fur/hair and chewing on his ear.
Isabella. I named you Isabella because one day God told me I was going to have a daughter named Isabell… I couldn’t figure out if he was saying Isabelle or Isabella. I hate the nickname Belle so I went with Isabella. Oddly enough when I was pregnant your Grandma Sylvia showed up in a dream to your Aunt Carol telling her you would be named Isabell…Aunt Carol wasn’t sure if it was Isabella or Isabel either. But I knew you were meant to be and seeing the meaning of Isabella I knew that you were special and that me having the opportunity to raise you was going to be a great gift that I should handle with care. Isabella – Devoted to God. What a powerful name for such a powerful baby.
I could go on and on reminiscing, thinking about all the great things that make you YOU, but you see, it’s 9am and you are smacking your sister in the face trying to wake her up. Next you will sit on her head, as you normally do, but this morning you’ve already pooed and I just can’t let you do that to her. But I’ll end this by saying I adore you. Thank you for giving me another chance to be a mom to a newborn. Thank you for allowing me to give breastfeeding another shot, even if it still didn’t work for me. Thank you for allowing me to witness a baby’s firsts again. What joy that has brought me. Thank you for the gift of you. You’re unlike anyone I know and I love that. I pray that this year as you grow, I grow too, and that we continue to learn a lot from one another. That you continue to laugh hard and embrace the love that surrounds you from us every day. Happy birthday, Isabella. You’re amazing.