Three years ago today the doctor placed Tessa Jean into my arms. She was so darn pretty, and she looked so bewildered squinting into the overhead lights, trying to make me out, that I burst into tears. And still she takes my breath away. I am crazy proud to call Tessa my daughter. She is incredibly tender and sensitive and so sassy and silly (all eyebrows and pouty lips and crossed arms) that I can hardly reprimand her without laughing. She can make me laugh until I cry, and she has the best memory and is more observant than anyone I know. I'm not the first mom to have a kid who she thinks is special, but I'm the first mom to ever have this kid. And this kid is my heart.
This past year has been my best yet with Tessa. We've had some killer conversations and made some major changes (moving her from crib to big-girl bed, weaning her from the pacifier, potty-training her, giving her a new room across the house from us, and putting her in a mother's-day-out program four days a week. Most life-changing: Introducing her to her baby sister). In other words, she's done a lot of growing up. She won my heart even more by being remarkably empathetic when I was going through months of morning sickness and when the stress of life and work and having two girls to care for has momentarily gutted me. I don't like that she's had to go as many times as she has to fetch me a tissue and wipe my tears away, but I love that she feels compelled to. "Everything's going to be OK, mommy," she says. "Don't cry. I will cheer you up. Watch me dance." And, of course, seeing her become a generous and loving older sister has been so endearing. This year has also brought the joy of watching her develop very real friendships with girls her age; not only is it painfully adorable to overhear them talk to one another like tiny adults, but it makes me see how full of love she is and how extroverted.
I know y'all know, but ... I love her.
Photos from her last three birthday parties...
From her first birthday party:
From her second birthday party:
From her third birthday party: