I had a lot of dolls when I was a girl. I loved dressing them in clothes my mum made and it was so fun to actually have real baby diapers to use, and a bottle that  looked like the baby was drinking the milk. I carted them around in the doll pram and carried them with me. I imagined one day being a mom to real babies.

For the last few days, Ruby and I have been talking about the days before she was born, when I was on absolute bed rest, trying to make it to 37 weeks so I could have a homebirth.  I showed her the first picture I have of me holding her, where she was probably seconds old and I was crying (big, weepy, messy crying). Ruby laughed and said, "You must have been crying because you were so glad the pain was over." I told her that wasn't it at all.  As long as I live, I'll never forget being overwhelmed by that tidal wave of crazy love that crashed over on me as I held those six pounds and eight ounces of  baby girl that I'd waited for my whole life.

And now for twelve years, she's been mine, and I still and always will love her with all my heart.  I can see her beautiful long fingers that play the trumpet and remember when they were chubby and clutching her bunny.  I love her big, unreserved smile which used to be filled with baby teeth.  I remember all the sweetness of her being little but I'm so very proud of the young woman she's growing to be. I'm thankful that not only have I had the blessing of being her mom when she was small but now I get to watch her grow right up to be a woman.

She's outgoing and vibrant. She's clever and creative. She's friendly and inclusive. She's loving and filled with faith. She's funny and delightful. She's our treasure and we will always, always be grateful that God gave her to us.

We took a few portraits the other day after dinner.  I see some lingering reminders of her as a little girl and glimpses of the young woman she'll be. But I'm glad that I get to watch her now be twelve years old. It's a gift to be her mama.

Happy birthday, Ruby.

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