Okay, so I didn't wait until tomorrow....
Because we already had one boy and one girl, and we were prepared for you either way, your daddy and I decided to let your gender be a surprise. We went to the "big" ultrasound and informed the technician that we did not want to find out the sex. (Well, I didn't want to. I'm not sure your Daddy was thrilled about the idea, but he humored me.) As a result, for nine months, you were known only as Shep 3. Despite the progressively worse aches and pains of subsequent pregnancies, I can honestly say that I felt more connected to you as a precious gift growing inside of me because I didn't know what to expect. I could only imagine. You may not know this now, but my imagination is a little wild.
I guessed that you were a boy with every passing steak and pizza craving. Then guessed that you were a girl with every passing chocolate milk craving. Your daddy and I made list after list of names, trying to decide on one for both genders. (If you thought settling on one name was hard, try agreeing on two!) We still have the boy name in reserve for someday, just in case, but the girl name was particularly hard for us. We finally settled on Sarah, which means "princess". And it couldn't be more suitable for you.
Your birth was an exciting one. Grandmom & Grandpop were preparing to fly to Scotland for their first ever international trip, which just so happened to coincide with your due date. Grammie had one foot in the door of a bus about to attend a field trip with her second grade class. No matter. You were ready. A mere six hours later, you were here. My smallest baby yet weighing 8 pounds even. (True story, I told my OB that I knew you were smaller. Moms just know these things.) Your hair was a sandy blond color, and I swore you looked exactly like Ben. Time would change that, but it wouldn't matter. You were beautiful then and you are beautiful now.
Thanks to your two older siblings, I had a lot of previous on-the-job newborn training. So I feel like instead of being all angsty and stressed, I was truly able to enjoy you as a tiny baby (yes, even when you were crying, crying, crying). Instead of trying to fix things on my own, we worked through them together. We make a great team. Here we are practically on the eve of your first birthday, and I have a whole heart full of memories with you already. Some of them are funny, like how Daddy got you to sleep propped between pillows on top of the dryer of our rental condo because we refused to give up our annual trip to Destin, Florida when you were but one month old. Some of them are sweet, like how I used to wear you in the Sleepy Wrap and do step aerobics on the Wii Fit, determined to lose some of that baby pudge, only for you to inevitably fall right to sleep from the up and down motion. Some of them are bittersweet, like how I watched you crawl under your crib and giggle with delight last night, having such fun but acting so suddenly grown up.
It's always been somewhat easy to provoke a smile from you. Laughs are a different story. We are slowly figuring out that you prefer rougher play, in the form of Daddy throwing you up in the air and catching you. We are also discovering your tried and true tickle spots that guarantee a smile, and sometimes your signature "heh heh". That's as big of a laugh as you give, but we will take it!
You don't say much yet, but your daddy and I joke about your full body "Uhn" noise. It's usually the result of you seeing someone else eating food. Oh yes. You've inherited your mother's love for all things edible. It was touch and go for a while when we first started you on solid food, but you quickly came around and now there's nothing you won't eat. Nothing. This includes whatever dried up pieces of week-old, unidentifiable chunks you find in the crevices of your high chair. So, thanks for not being picky. I guess. You have a reputation to uphold after earning the nickname "The Shark" from one of the church nursery workers for virtually attacking the other children upon catching the scent of an open snack.
While you do tend to want down more and more often with each passing day, I am thankful to be able to tote you around a bit longer. You remain a snuggle bug, freely offering hugs to anyone who will take them. And, I'm afraid, you seem to have learned the "princess kiss" from your big sister. We'll have to have a talk about that with you girls sooner or later...
I'm convinced that you are the perfect combination of your big brother and sister. You carry a bit of Ben's determination, some of Abby's mischief, Ben's body type, and Abby's eyes. Your hair color is somewhere in between theirs and the tips sport a bit of curl. You surely didn't get that from me. In noticing all of your similarities to both of them, we can draw but one conclusion. You are uniquely Sarah. And it is so awesome to see that. Yet again, I am witnessing my ability to love someone grow, not diminish or transfer. You are so very lovable.
Thank you for showing me that we do grow wiser with age, and that with wisdom comes the freedom to relax a bit more. I cannot wait to see what this world holds for you, my beauty, my Sarah-Bear, my princess.
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2 days ago