And everyone teases her, "Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed." (She's had a marriage proposal, but never been kissed. Hunh?) Tonight Julia said, "Yes, you have too been kissed. Mom kisses you all the time." Maria threw back her head and laughed. That's not the kind of kissing we're talking about.
Sixteen years ago she was born. (And yes we all kissed her. Many times.)
That's her in the funny hat on Little Jay's lap.
This is a picture my mom says she loves. I look like crap. It was a very long night before this little girl was finally born. After I saw these pictures, I threw that window shade away and bought a new one. Good grief on that.
But this was us dressing Maria for the first time, and she was so beautiful. Between Little Jay and Maria we'd had three miscarriages, and honestly, the day she was born was one of the most perfect days of a lifetime. She felt like a promise come true. Her dad chose her middle name Chantal, and it was exactly right.
It was not an easy labor. The level of pain seemed unnecessary--a blow torch out the iliac crests hour after hour. I considered jumping out the window while Jay was driving John to school, but we were only on the first floor. I threw myself around and thought bad language, desperately unhappy things. Maria's heart rate was strong, she was responsive the whole time. I couldn't identify a problem other than my miserable bitching.
Yet after she came out, I was completely overjoyed and exhilarated, no matter how cross I had been in those last hours. Part of it was finally having gorgeous Maria in my arms. But also in the process I found out how strong I really am, and that's not a small thing to know.
Heidi and Kirsten were soooo excited about this baby sister. Plus, she was like even extra beautiful with chubby lips and round cheeks, and soft, curly hair. They took turns holding her and brushing her hair. Finally, at two they left for a birthday party, and I could have Maria all to myself for a couple hours.
And here she is, just for fun:
That's her in the middle in the fancy dress.
Getting teased by her brothers
With her precious little dog
Maria with Kari and James
Meeting their first nephew
At John and Dannell's wedding
Julia and Maria
Finally, here's this one. She's about two months old here, and Jay has unzipped his Barney pajamas, offering to nurse her. She might be tiny--look, her little bitty hands don't even really work yet, but she's MASTERED the dubious expression, oh my gosh.
Time for bed. Happy Birthday, Most Beautiful Girl. Sweetheart, this whole darn family is better with YOU in it. YOU. Nobody else could ever be you. love, Mom and Dad