My dearest Isabelle,
Three years ago today, almost down to the minute, you changed our lives forever. In a single instant, you made life before you so inconsequential as we fell madly, deeply in love with you and with the little family you helped us become. When I looked down at you for the very first time I couldn’t believe you were real, that you were ours. I remember exclaiming “there’s a baby!” The sight of you was just pure magic. You were perfect. You are perfect.
You were as full of personality then as you are now. In fact, how you chose to enter the world (screaming in fierce defiance of being evicted from your warm, cozy home), was our very first glimpse into the strong-willed and fiercely determined little girl you would become. Your aunt and grandmother were visiting from Toronto and had already arrived a few weeks back in the hopes that you would arrive early. But your due date came and went and still no baby. It wasn’t until they left for a quick trip to Stuttgart for your great-grandmother’s 80th birthday party that you considered coming out. It was meant to be a quick trip, just one day of celebration, but you had other plans. Only hours after they arrived, the night before the party, my contractions began. I wasn’t sure at first but by 3am it was pretty clear that this was it. I called your grandmother, told her the news, and the two of them sprung out of bed, packed their bags and raced back to Munich. You weren’t going to let anybody else’s schedule dictate your own.
You’ve grown up up to be such a sweet, kind, gentle little soul. You’re shy with people you don’t know all too well but, once you’ve had enough time to let someone in, you’re the funniest, loudest, most charming girl I know. And for the lucky few who get to be on the receiving end of your love, it is the absolute best feeling in the world. Your screeches when I come through the door after a morning gym session or a day of work make my heart skip a beat.
You are slowly coming out of your shell. At your first birthday party, you clung to me the entire time and cried whenever someone tried to give you a birthday hug or even just to say hello. At your second birthday party you played with a few of the other kids but kept your distance from all of the (seemingly) new adults. And now, at your third, you were thrilled that all of your little friends came over and you happily (even if somewhat reluctantly) high-fived the grown ups. Hugs are still out of the question for most, which is completely fine by me. You’re a hugging machine with those that matter.
You absolutely adore your baby brother. I was a little bit worried that bringing another baby into the family would be hard for you. You are such a mommy’s girl, I thought for sure that you would be jealous of the attention he got from me. But you have surprised me with your curiosity, love, and understanding from day one. You want to do “baby hugs” all day long (even when he’d much rather escape) and you find everything he does hilarious (well maybe except for him taking your toys now that he’s walking). And when you call him your best friend it melts my mama heart.
You are such a good little helper. If I’m doing laundry you help spray the dirty clothes and fold the clean ones. If I’m vacuuming or dusting you want to do the same (usually with the big vacuum instead of your toy one which is maybe not quite so helpful but super sweet none-the-less). If I’m cooking, you’re right there next to me, helping me measure, dump, and stir.
You know what you want. And you know how to get it. You butter us up with sweet requests of “maybe I can have another gummy?” in the most angelic voice. Or, if you want someone to do something, you ask ever-so-gently, “maybe you want to play ball with me?” It might sound like a request but it’s definitely more of a demand because you’ll just repeat the question until the other person gives in.
You’re super smart. You remember absolutely everything someone says or does, even when I sometimes would rather have you forget (like when I buy yet another oat fudge bar and you feel inclined to tell your father every. single. time.) You’re an observer. You love to watch what’s going on around you. When we’re doing organized kids activities, like music class, it might look like you’re uninterested because you’re not participating. But it’s because you’re busy taking it all in. And then when you get home, to your safe place, you park yourself in front of the mirror and practice until you’ve mastered whatever it is that you were observing. It’s the sweetest thing to watch!
Speaking of music class, you loooove to sing. You’re constantly singing all day long. You especially love to sing when you’re procrastinating, like when you’re trying your very darndest to not finish breakfast. (Or lunch. Or dinner.) Your favourite song is “Wheels on the Bus”. In fact, whenever I turn on music, you always request “Wheels on the bus” on repeat. (I have a playlist with 7 different versions of that song just to get a little variety into our music listening.)
You also love sports. It doesn’t matter what sport, if there’s a ball involved, you’re happy as a clam. And you’re so talented as well! You kick a ball 10 times better than I ever could and can already dunk a basketball like you’ve done it all your life.
My dear, beautiful Isabelle. You make me me so incredibly happy and I thank the lucky stars that I have the privilege to call myself your mama. These past three years have been the best (and hardest!) years of my life and I wouldn’t change a single minute. You (and your brother) give my life such meaning and I embrace and cherish every minute of every day that I get to spend with you.
Happy birthday my little sweetheart. I love you times infinity.
(All photos by Ishtar Najjar from Pure Baby München in Munich, Germany.)