Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Year Ago Today...

... our lives changed forever. I remember the shock of going to my appointment with my mid-wife -- my 38 week appointment, no less-- and finding out I was already dilated to a 3. I remember the sheer panic. I remember trying to push the panic away in favor of the organized, color-coded version of myself but feeling like I had lost my highlighter. I remember staring at my tiny blonde daughter, trying to memorize her smile and how she fit into my lap knowing that life with her would always be different from here on out. I remember it all.

And yet, in the whirlwind of emotional ups and downs during the 12 hours (wahoo!) I was in labor, I could never imagine what the next year of my life would bring and the intense beauty and joy that has filled my life in having a second beautiful, perfect daughter.

Isabel Grace Kershaw, it has been an honor watching you grow. For those first few months, you constantly surprised us. After all, you were the first baby we had that was not Evalee, and it took us months to get it through our heads that you are, in fact, entirely different people. In fact, it seems as though that has been the echoing song of your first year. You were the calm to your sister's rage. You ate the peas she spit out. You threw the books she loved to read as far away from you as you could. You were cruising around the house before your sister had even made her mind up to crawl. For a while, we were concerned that you might never get teeth, as your sister had 5 before you had one. It's these very differences - - insignificant at best when standing alone but stronger as they join together -- that help me realize what a wonderful gift we have been given in you. You are a bright and shining star, and there is not a single one out there like you. Not even the one who wore your jeans before you.

What I want most to remember about my daughter on this day - her 364th - is how despite the fact that she is still my tiny little baby, I can start to see the person she is slowly becoming and the abilities that she is starting to develop. I want her to know that I can see who she is even now, as this tiny curly-haired toddler with 3 tiny teeth and an unreasonable hatred for socks and shoes.

Izzy, you are such a funny little baby. You are constantly trying to find ways to have food as an option nearby. Not necessarily to eat right now, but maybe in a minute or two. I think you plan your life and your mood according to how close it is to the time where you get to eat your daily Popsicle.

You are kind - often thinking of your sister and offering her a bite of your snack, a corner of your blanket,  or a turn with your toy.

You love to make people laugh: poking your head around corners, insisting that you eat the plastic food handed to you with the appropriate Cookie Monster noises, and making ridiculous noises if it's been a minute or two since someone glanced in your direction.

You are going to be a little Diva, though, that's for sure. You do NOT like to be told "no" in even the most gentle of voices, and when you get mad you make sure all of the neighbors know.

We are amazed by how STRONG you are. You can lift things that seem way too heavy for you, hoist yourself up on furniture (or the cement porch at Grandma's house), and perform ridiculous back bends and crunches whenever necessary to get where you need to go. You had the strength to hold up your own head early, to sit early, to crawl early, and to be chasing your sister and your cats around well before your first birthday. I think this is because you are always, always on the move and can never settle to sit on the sidelines no matter where you are.

You laugh from deep in your belly when someone tickles you, surprises you, or covers you with kisses.

You are determined and dextrous. You were using a fork and spoon to feed yourself food when you were only 10 months old. You can fit shapes in their correct spaces, move letter tiles onto the correct matches on the iPad, stack soup cans into an impressive tower, and dunk the basketball into the toddler basketball hoop.

Whenever we take you anywhere in public, we almost always get stopped at some point and complimented on those beautiful eyes of yours. They shine, and you can't help but smile at the light and life behind them.

 You are a wonderful and amazing little baby, Isabel Grace, and we are so lucky to have you in our lives. Thank you for making this last year one that I never want to forget.

About one or two months after Izzy was born, a friend of mine asked me what it was like to have two kids. She and her husband were on the fence about a second child, and she was nervous and how a second child might change the dynamic of their otherwise happy little family. I didn't have a great answer for her. Some days, I told her, it was awesome. Other days, I felt, it was not.  But then again, that's true about just about everything, isn't it?

But today, I have my answer for her. It has been a crazy, challenging, hilarious, stressful, amazing year. Having a second child did totally change everything about the way our family functions, sometimes for the better and sometimes, briefly, for the worse. There are some days that my heart is filled with so much love I feel like there couldn't possibly be someone else in this world that feels as loved as I do. There are other days where I feel like I am swimming in a sea of cracker crumbs and Legos with my hands tied behind my back.  In an essence, the highs are higher and the lows are lower. But there are no equations needed here, not a pros and cons list necessary. This past year of getting to watch those two kids grow and change has been the best year of my life. I can't imagine my life without them.
So thank you, Isabel Grace, for adding another piece into our puzzle. In the words of my Grandma Dorothy - I love you more than you'll ever know.


  1. Beautiful She is so adorable and those eyes do shine

  2. This aunt and mom crying!! Well written Sara, as always!! Happy Birthday Izzy!! Aunt Molly loves you!!