Our Carli is a Blessing - A Gift From Heaven Above

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

One Amazing Year...

Dear Ava -

From the day we found out you were one your way, you have been a true gift from God. You have challenged me in ways that have helped me grown, as a mother and as a child of God. And for that I am grateful. I always knew that being a parent was one of the hardest, yet most rewarding things I could ever do. Knowing you were on your way challenged your Daddy and I in many ways. We were anxious for you to get here, yet we were so unsure about how we would handle two little girls. We prayed a lot. We asked your grandparents for lots of advice and prayers. And most of all, we thanked God for trusting our ability to raise another wonderful, beautiful little girl.

We have been so blessed to have such a wonderful support system. Your grandparents set forth amazing examples for us to follow and admittedly, they were big shoes to fill. We knew that the first year would probably be hard, with two babies in diapers and little sleep. How God blessed us with such a beautiful little angel, whose eyes shine with joy and whose smile brightens an entire room – who needs sleep when this is what I am blessed to see every morning?!

On May 14, 2010 – just one day shy of your Great Grandparents 62nd wedding anniversary and your Uncle Tone’s 23rd birthday – you made your grand entrance. You were beautiful. You weighed a mere 7 lbs 5 oz, almost a whole pound smaller than your sister. I thought you were the tiniest, most perfect baby I had ever seen. I could not believe you were mine. You were an amazing gift from God.

Your Daddy was in heaven. He had the two most beautiful little girls and he knew he was in trouble! From the first night, you loved to cuddle and your Daddy was not one to deny you. Even at one year old, there are nights when you cry out and it is your Daddy who goes to pick you up and cuddle with you until you settle down once more. You already pull his heart when he leaves for work every day and you crawl to the door saying “Da-da-da-da” over and over again. Your smile melts his heart – and he loves you for it!

My biggest worry was how Carli would react to having a baby sister. She had, after all, been the center of attention for all of her 20 months of life. I so badly wanted her to love you, protect you, and be so proud of you. I was prepared for the worst though – but once again, God answered my fears. From day one, Carli has been so amazingly in love with you. You started off as “Baby Ava” and it quickly evolved into “B-Ava.” Just so you know, on the day you graduate high school, we call you “B-Ava” because your big sister told us to! J Carli loves to give you hugs, she loves to bring you toys and even more she loves to take them away from you (in complete love, I am sure!). Anytime we are out in public, Carli is the first to tell anyone who talks to you or attempts to touch you, to leave you alone! That is her “B-Ava!” One day, I hope when we go through the inevitable WWIII on female/teenage hormones that you will look back on this and know, despite whatever is going on, your sister loves you with all of her heart and there isn’t a thing in the world that can change that fact.

I can tell you, that you have challenged me as a Momma in more ways than one. I struggled for a good two months with nursing you. I even went to a lactation consultant, I endured pain that I was pretty sure was equivalent to that of labor, all in an effort to feed you. Our perseverance paid off, and as of May 14, 2011 we have made it one year nursing and tonight will be our last time as I have to travel on business and it is good timing to wean. L I am a bit glad, but sad because I will miss my special bonding time with you. You rarely sit still. Even in your sleep you are constantly moving. I am convinced that this is why it took you almost 11 months to even sleep through the night! But when I nursed you at night, there was that 15 minutes that you were still and I could hold you and enjoy my baby.

It is amazing to look back over the last year and remember the many nights I sat rocking you sleep – or those long car rides to Alto where you screamed the whole way. And then I remember seeing how Pawpaw held you and talked you and knowing those bright blue eyes of yours, came from him. I remember Naggy coming to stay with us just so we could get a little rest, and Grammy calling to just check on “her girls” and make sure we were all okay. I remember smiling when we walked into Grandma’s house and hearing, “There’s Grandma’s Darlings!” and thinking she probably doesn’t mean me anymore! I remember stopping by Pa’s office, just so he could show off all his girls and Pappy being perfectly content to sit in the floor and let you crawl all over him. And I remember knowing even now, that you are the biggest Momma’s girl and I absolutely love it.

It is an unbelievable scary thing to be a parent. I know that your Daddy and I are not perfect. We have and probably will make our share of mistakes. But I hope that you know, we are trying our best to give you the best that we have. We love you so very much and there are so many people who love you as well. We have an amazing example to follow in your grandparents and great-grandparents. We have a wonderful support system of Aunts and Uncles and friends. And most of all, we have the unconditional love of God who has given us the daunting task of being your Momma and Daddy – and we accept it with humble hearts.

Thank you little Miss Ava Ruth, for an absolutely wonderful, challenging first year. You have made me a better mother, a better friend and a better person. Thank you for making me smile. Thank you for making my heart swell with pride. Thank you for being Ava Ruth – just you. Thank you, my baby girl, for loving us unconditionally. You are an amazing, beautiful gift from God – today, just as much as you were one year ago.

With all our love,

Momma and Daddy

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