Dear Ally Claire,
I can't believe you are five, a whole hand today! I never knew the time would fly by so fast! Didn't we just bring you home from the hospital?
I never knew how scared I'd be those first few days of your life. Some people may think we're silly for lamenting that you were in the NICU for 10 days, 5 years ago, but those people have never watched their child struggle for breath, for life. Those people have never been completely helpless, watching a machine breathe for their child for 4 days.
I never knew how different you'd be, even as a baby, from your brothers. I never knew how one child could hate car rides so much she went hoarse from screaming. I never knew a big brother could be completely smitten with a baby sister. I never knew that painting your toe nails once would mean a lifetime of polish and glitter. I never knew that you'd love dresses and high heels and jewelry by your second birthday.
I never knew you would be such a good "tag-a-long", going to and sitting through all of your brothers' practices and ball games, running errand after errand with me. I never knew you'd love camp so much, even at the tender age of 3, but I certainly hoped.
I never knew you'd sleep on the very edge of the bed like me, but talk in your sleep like your daddy. I never knew you'd be so stinking messy, so much worse than your brothers. I never knew you'd talk so big, so fast and know how to add before you'd know how to spell. I never knew I'd be so attached to you that I'd get antsy when you've been away for only two nights at a grandparent's house.
I never knew you'd make me feel beautiful (because you tell me every day) and that I'd believe you. I never knew I'd want to be better even though you think I'm the best at everything already. You say the sweetest things and give the best hugs and kisses.
I never knew I'd be the most blessed woman in the world because you're my daughter and I get the opportunity to be your mama. When I prayed to God to send me a girl, I never knew He'd send me my best friend and that I'd get to have all of your moments from the very beginning. I never knew He'd send me such a fighter, someone so strong (willed) and determined, so smart and beautiful.
Even though by the time you came along and I'd been a parent for almost 5 years to 2 others, I never knew this kind of love. It's not bigger or more. It's just different. I knew it might be. I had your nana and meemaw to prepare me for that. But until you got here and were finally in my arms, finally in our home, my mind never knew what it'd be like to have you.
But my heart knew...it knew because it recognized you. You've always lived there, even when I was just five. You see, I waited on you a long time and when you finally came, I realized that everything I thought I knew was so very wrong. You are so much more. So much better. So much bigger. So much prettier. So much smarter. you are just so much and I never know if I'll be able to take anymore of you.
But every year, every day with you, every laugh, every breath is a blessing. I will never get over those first days because now I really know what I could have missed out on. I'm so thankful for the doctors and nurses and for our amazing God who took you right out of my heart and helped you grow in my belly until you could finally be placed in my arms. I love snuggling with you in the morning. I love tea parties and pedicures and sassy attitudes and sparkles and glitter and high heels and dresses that twirl. I love singing to you at night and listening to your sweet voice singing along with mine about seeking God first and about His amazing grace.
I never knew these first 5 years would fly by so fast. You start kindergarten in the fall and while I know you're ready, I'm not sure if I am. But you will do great. You'll meet your first best friend and have your first favorite teacher and read your first book and so many things. I hope it's God's plan for me to be there for it all.
I love you so much. So much more than I knew I would. You're such a blessing, Ally Claire (Lucy Goose, Sissy, Lissy, Loony Toons, Bitty Girl). If there's anything that you ever know, I hope it's that! Happy Birthday, love angel!!