Today you are eight years old.

Ella 8-2 NST

I can remember the terrific, terrifying thrill of knowing I was pregnant with you…the moment I knew.  For weeks after, I would lie in bed at night and listen to the life within me…you. I held my breath until I could hear the sounds…the rhythmic, rapid, whooshing of your tiny little heart.

You are a perfect little miracle.

And now eight entire years have gone by.  Sometimes I sit in my big yellow chair in the bedroom and watch you dress in the morning.  I am there mainly because you require reminding.  Usually, that is frustrating.  But every once in a while, I will just watch.  I just watch as you are enveloped in that other world you inhabit…the make-believe world filled with buttercups and dragonflies and sparkling sunshine. You are somewhere else entirely. If only I could go there with you just once…I believe it must be magical.

Ella 8-3 NST

I wonder, as I’m watching you in those few precious moments, how I am ever frustrated with you at all. Those little freckles and those little strawberry eyelashes.  Those eyes that laugh when you smile.  Your little voice, and your laugh.  Your hands, and how they feel in mine.

Even the way you throw your head back and whine…the way you stomp up the stairs when I ask you to do your chore or clean your room or brush your hair.  Yes, even those things make me smile.

The way you hold Jellycat, how s.l.o.w.l.y you eat and how absolutely horrified you are that most bugs exist at all.  Your tendency to fabricate the truth about what really happened to your toothpaste, or whether you really washed your hair.  Your horrible, horrible handwriting. Your beautiful, generous heart. Your crazy, wonky teeth.  The way you push up your glasses.

Ella 8-4 NST

You are a better story than I could have ever written, Ella Louise.

I still watch you sleep most nights.  I cover you, and brush the hair from your forehead. I kiss your crown and breathe in the scent of you. And I just look at you.

Ella 8-5 NST

From the first moment I knew, I have loved you.  Deeply, madly, and with every thing I am, I love you.

Happy birthday, baby girl.