I feel as though I am writing this letter far too quickly.

364 days have passed since I anxiously woke before the sun came up to head to the hospital with your daddy.

364 days have passed since you were yanked into this world and laid on my chest.

364 days have passed since I felt the hot tears well up in my eyes as I heard the words, “Here is your daughter…isn’t she beautiful?”

364 days, and each one has been filled with the joy of you.

Everly Neriah. Born May 28th, 2015 at 5:15pm

Everly Neriah. Born May 28th, 2015 at 5:15pm

I have said it before and I will say it again, you fill a void in my heart that I didn’t even know existed until you arrived. I was afraid of you, little girl. Afraid that I was too broken in my own womanhood to guide you and protect you. Afraid of all the demons of my own past resurfacing in your world. Afraid I couldn’t teach you to be strong enough because I wasn’t strong enough. But here you are and I cannot imagine my world without you. You have quelled the fear in me that has been too loud…too punishing.

From the moment you took your first breath in this world, you showed us that you were wild, spunky, independent, and opinionated. That relentless scream you gave the nurses was proof enough of those things. But you stopped almost as quickly as you had started when your daddy snatched you up in his arms and brought you to me. You opened those beautiful blue eyes of yours and looked, what seemed like an eternity, into my heart. It’s as if you had so much to tell me, and your eyes spilled with words.

I never wanted to let you go.

You are also joyful, content, gentle, and hilarious. Every day you wake up with the biggest smile on your face, jumping into the arms reaching for you, and you begin your daily “conversation” with us with a laugh and on special occasions, a big sloppy kiss. You have no barriers to your love and it makes each day so much fun to wake up with you for.

I love watching the little moments between you and your daddy. You two have such a special relationship and I know he would lay his life down for both you and your brother without a second thought. You light up his day in a special way. A way only daughters can do.

When I was pregnant with you, I talked to Jude about you all the time. I told him he was going to have a little sister and it would be his job to love her and protect her. From the moment he bounded into the hospital room, he wanted to see you and hold you and talk to you. When we brought you home, you would lay in your bassinet and he would stand over you talking to you and showing you all of the important things in his world. He would even scold those who would make you cry or get too close. He taught you to sit up, roll over, crawl, go up the stairs, and even encouraged you to walk. He also taught you where the toilet paper was, how to get Cheerios from the pantry, and just how much fun the bath can be. He loves you and shows you in the most toddler of ways. But he will always say that his job, if you ask him, is to protect his sister and to love her. Never take him for granted.

It’s hard for me to imagine what the coming year between age 1 and age 2 will hold for you. You seem to bloom faster and faster and there are moments where I wonder where and when you learned some of the things you do. But in the next year I have so many prayers for you. (I have prayers for your whole life, but I like getting specific from year to year).

In the next year, I pray that you will continue to grow and learn just like you are already. Soak it up. Feel the freedom to explore and challenge and create. Never be afraid of anything. Never let anyone or anything intimidate you. Stand tall and run free. Never doubt that you are loved or cherished, even if you are scolded by us. Know that you are beautiful inside and out. We give you boundaries to keep you safe and help you thrive. Lean on your family. Feel safety there.

Thank you for these 364 days. Thank you for opening the doors still closed in our hearts. Thank you for teaching us to laugh a little harder and be a little more content. We are better because of you.

I have inadequate words for how I feel about you and just how much I completely adore you. You make me better. You are my daughter and I am so thankful for our special bond. Tomorrow, May 28th, you turn one and I couldn’t be more excited to celebrate you. Keep us laughing little girl.



{{{Photos by Jessica Gann at Blue Vinyl Photography}}}

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