I don't know if there are words to describe your relationship with your first-born.
It's a mix-up of such crazy intensity that it only pails in comparison to something otherwordly and neon.
While we jokingly call them the experimental model, they are so much more.
They are loved and cared for and watched over with such a deep passion that at the end of the day, they leave us spent.
It's why mothers worry about having enough love for a second child.
When you are so wrapped up in the relationship you have with a first-born, it doesn't seem possible.
My Ella is all of the above and more. She was who I'd prayed for for years: The baby that would make me a mama.
And when she came splashing into my arms two years ago tomorrow, I was forever changed.
I have never worried more. Cried more. Given up more. Rejoiced more than I did over this child.
Even now, with my heart as equally in love with her little sister, she still is the primary source of my anxiety and tears and sacrifice and joy.
Glory has a relaxed mama. A mama whose done it before.
Ella gets the intense version of me; the mama who has never done any of this before. Ever.
And for that reason, I will forever worry I am never mom enough for the spitfire that broke me in on June 12, 2011, and continues to do so every day.
There are so many words to describe my first-born.
Fiery. Intelligent. Precocious. Talkative. Social. Motivated. Earnest. Kind. Charming. Strong-willed. Precious. Spirited. Independent.
She earned that nickname almost as soon as she opened her mouth.
She thinks the world is hers. It is bright and beautiful and amazing and approachable, just like she is.
She has always done things as exactly as she saw fit. There is no rushing her, and at the same time, there is no catching her, either.
Nursing. Sleeping. Eating. Walking. Potty-training. All of it was done to her specifications when she saw worthy.
And with that stubborn streak, she makes me laugh uncontrollably. She makes me angrier than anyone else ever has. But she makes me love outside my potential over and over and over again.
Last night, before bed, she was doing her typical "If I just keep talking and moving, I won't fall asleep" routine. I was next to her in bed, rubbing her back, singing. But she wasn't having it.
She sat up and sidled over to me and her sister, who was perched on my chest.
She wrapped an arm around each of us and planted two kisses, one on my cheek and one on Gloribeth's, then grinned her sly little grin and proclaimed in the only tone she has - loud and distinct - "Sissy! I wuv you!" Mama! I wuv you! Sissy and Mama! Efferbody here!"
And that is my Ella. Loving. Striving to maintain that social connection. Opening her heart and loving so strongly everyone within arm's reach. And talking about it. Effusively. All while charmingly attempting to wiggle her way out of something she never intended to do.
And tomorrow, that Ella turns 2.
A big girl. A kid. Not a baby anymore.
I hoped to raise his spirited little lady, and though every day, it's a test and a challenge, I am so immensely proud of the fire plug she is.
She amazes me what she's capable of. What she says. What she does.
Her freedom and little dancing soul. The tiny person who, after her birthday party last week, tromped about the house for several hours, butt naked save a pair of ladybug rain boots, dragging about a bouquet of leftover balloons, yell-singing, "Happy Birfday to lou! Happy Birfday to lou! Happy Birthday to Ella! Happy Birfday to lou!"
She isn't the sweet baby I cradled two years ago. She's my full-grown child. My toddler. My newborn.
She's my 2 year old.
I love you, my sweet girl. You'll never know how much until some day you have a child of your own, your first-born, who makes you pull out all the stops and gets the focus of all your new parent intensity.
You will pour your entire soul into him or her, like I did to you.
And you will blink and find him/her walking and talking and dictating their own little life like they are more than 2 years removed from infant-hood.
It's the most heart-wrenching, amazing paradigm I think I'll ever encounter. I think it's that way on purpose, so we welcome your growth instead of fear what happens when the baby in you is gone.
And, my girl, it is indeed gone these days. You are skinned knees and dirty face and full sentences. You aren't even close to being a baby anymore.
So, happy birthday to my big, grown girl, Sassy. I love you so much it hurts.