I’m not sure how four years went by so quickly. I remember the day you were born so clearly. Grandma and I thought you were on the way sooner than you were, so we drove down to meet you. It turns out you wanted to wait a little longer, but not long enough that we had to return home. Your mama is one amazing woman. She worked so hard and carefully to bring you into this world. One minute she was sitting in her birthing tub eating a banana and the next you could see the focus and silence enter her body. She put all of her energy into feeling you, noticing you, recognizing what you needed. Then, when the moment passed, she would jump right back into conversation as if no time had passed.
When the time came for you to be born, your mama and daddy went into the other room with the midwife and doula. The lights were low, the noise was minimal. They created the perfect space for you to first experience this world – a place of peace and calm. They knew you would discover bright lights and loud noises and lots of opinions soon enough – this first moment of yours deserved something much more special. The rest of us waited in the kitchen, crowded together, anxious. Any sound we heard caused us to look around the corner in case the midwife left the bedroom to tell us something. But no one was ever there. And then, then at just the right moment, we heard you. Rosemary Sunshine, we heard you. And, we loved you. Before we saw your face, before we heard your cry, before we knew you’d have your mama’s chin and your daddy’s eyes, we loved you. And we still do. Oh, I love you so much that it makes my heart hurt.
Rosemary, you gave me the best role I’ve had so far in life – aunt. Being your aunt has been the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. Seeing your first smile, watching your eyes light up, hearing your laugh – sometimes it’s just too much. I know you know what I mean. Sometimes you get so excited, you get so filled with joy and anticipation that you can’t handle it either – so, you wave your hands and arms in the air, you’ve done that since you were itty bitty. Other times your whole body just fills up with joy and you think you might explode, so you cover your mouth with your little hands and the joy stays in just a little longer. There are times that when we both see each other after a long time a part that I think our joy might squeeze us both to death!
A few weeks ago I Facetimed your family and when you saw me, after you covered your mouth in excitement, you exclaimed, “I’m so glad you’re here!” Although hundreds of miles away, I’m so glad to be here too, my little girl! I’m so glad that my face brings you as much joy as your face brings mine.
Things have changed a bit since the first time we met. You now have three sisters. The funny thing is, I was worried that I might not have as much love for you once your sisters were born. Just the opposite! I love them as much as I love you – I think the four of you have made my heart grow to the point that I’m not sure how it still fits inside my chest.
As you’ve grown, I’ve watched you walk and run, talk and laugh, draw and write. I’ve seen you pretend and create scenes for you and your sisters to play in. I’ve watched you discover the strength of your body through somersaults and twirls and jumps. I’ve seen you get in trouble and cry – oh, that little face of yours is the saddest when you get in trouble. I’ve even gotten irritated with you a few times, but then after a little time apart, we come back together and hug and love each other even more.
Some of my favorite moments with you are waking up next to you in the morning. Now, sharing a bed with you is NOT a favorite moment! However, waking up with your sweet little face on the pillow next to mine…you are an angel. You aren’t perfect and never will be. You don’t always make the right choices, but you are an angel. You added new life to our family – we didn’t even know you were missing until you showed up. Then, all of the sudden, there you were and we realized what we were missing all along. Your Aunt Anne will love you today and all days. When your mama and daddy just don’t understand you. When your sisters talk too much or annoy you every second of every day. When your friends let you down. When you’re confused or scared or unsure. When the best thing in life happens. When your heart breaks. Any time, any day, any moment. You call me. And I will listen. I may not always agree. I may not say what you want me to say. But, I will always listen to you. I will always love you.
You are my sunshine, Rosemary Sunshine. Happy birthday, little girl.