Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dear Brooke,

On your birthday (was that really two months ago?) we positioned you snugly up against your brother in the little orange bike trailer that gets you around. We put on our helmets (yours covers your eyes, you hate it) and hi-tailed it into town. Passing the park where we played the night before we met you, I was overwhelmed with the sentimental notion that we sat and ate our pizza that same evening, one year ago, not knowing you were soon to arrive. Not knowing you were a sweet girl. Not knowing your name, and not knowing the ways you would change our lives forever.

I saw these simple landmarks, hardly changed in one year's time, and thought of you, sweetheart, and the tremendous blessing that you are. I am so thankful for the familiar sights that grace our days... the park, the pizza shop, the sidewalk blocks we walked, hoping to induce labor that night. A constant reminder of our anticipation, and your arrival.

We took you to the little corner shop downtown where the pizza is carefully crafted and baked in a big dome oven. Hunter and I watched as the man with the apron carefully rolled the dough and layered it with fresh mozzarella and sauce before sliding it in the oven with a long-handled peel. Sixty seconds later we had a perfectly toasted crust. What a difference a year makes! Last year it was me who ate the most pizza, this night it was you who polished off the tray!

We all joke that you need to be hosed off at the end of every meal, and this night was no exception. Your dad and I used to try to keep you neat... a bib here, napkin there... but you just won't have it! Sauce in your hair, plate upside down, and cup on the floor (across the room?) is how you prefer to end a meal. I am starting to take it as a compliment that you liked what you were eating.

After dinner found us at the little ice cream parlor on Main Street with the park benches out front. It's the only place in town that writes an I-owe-you on a napkin if you forget the cash to pay. The ice cream is delicious, the atmosphere endearing. You love it. Your little mouth curves into an "o" when eating ice cream... like a little bird searching for the next bite. You lean in towards the cone that is supposed to be shared, mischievously grinning when we catch your eye. You are irresistible.

We rode home that night, eyes closed, your head bobbing side-to-side by the time we reached the driveway. We put you to bed, our eyes lingering over your room a little longer than usual, memories on our minds. We reminisced and congratulated one another on a year well lived... a year of laughter and smiles, a year of throwing food and tantrums, and days full of magic and meltdowns... you've had them all.

We wouldn't change a thing.

We love you.

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