Unlike my first go-round, however, I didn't cry in the days leading up to her big moment. I felt relief, almost - something telling me I could stop holding my breath and start putting those months behind me.
It will no longer be the "first" Valentine's Day, sunny spring afternoon or otherwise notable happening, but the days ahead will be the first I remember. The first that really count.
|A fashion show in her last "baby" days.|
This year, my darling girl's second, is a fresh start. She's growing fast, becoming a tiny girl instead of a squishy, happy-to-snuggle bundle of baby. She's a whole new creature.
|Valentine's Day mornings, 2012 and 2013|
Throwing together a party the weekend after Valentine's Day is easy as pie. Toss up a few pink and red decorations, lay out a table of food and another (even larger!) one of sweets and voila: a lovefest.
|This beauty tasted even better than she looked!|
|We had a few desserts leftover for small group that Sunday...|
|Our best attempt.|
|She refused to eat a bite! How is she mine?|
|The best gift for every occasion!|
Twenty days after her birthday, March 5, marked a year since Mary Brooks' surgery. I anticipated a flood of emotions, of difficult flashbacks - but they never came. From dawn to dusk that day I rode a wave of gratitude with every memory, every attempt at recalling those hours, every text message I reread that I never remembered writing in the first place.
It was an out of body experience, replaying the day in third person, feeling only a down-to-my-bones kind of thankfulness. After an excruciatingly long season of heartache, it was miraculous to feel just the upside of things - to see what the girl living that experience last year couldn't yet know.
|What a difference a year makes.|
Mac and I ventured over to our favorite bakery just before a monsoon kicked off downtown that evening. We had no raincoats or umbrellas (mom fail), so I found a fleece of Bradley's and put it over his head as I whisked him down the sidewalk.
Mac couldn't stand the idea I'd get wet in his place, so he kept tossing the fleece over my face; I nearly ran into a brick wall with a forty pounder on my hip as a result.
We couldn't stop laughing, and the pair of us arrived home soaked to the bone, with four delicious cupcakes safe and dry in their box. I hope I never forget that little excursion with Mary Brooks' big brother; it epitomizes the utter giddiness I felt all day long.
After the birthday cake boycott at her party, I didn't anticipate Mary Brooks' reaction to her ReBirthday cupcake:
Her enthusiasm brought me back to Mac's very first cupcake, and it was just one more way March 5 felt more like an actual birthday than some medical anniversary. I hope we always celebrate it so whole-heartedly! (And with cupcakes, obviously...)
Mary Brooks' surgery gave her a new lease on life; medically it was considered a "near miss" with an uncertain outcome. We praise God with every breath that our story has a happy ending, and that all four of us have healed from the experience.
Thanks for celebrating with us, y'all!