When Lou Lou was born, it was with little to no fanfare, so drastically different than my first birth full of medical drama, including the minor detail that Annabelle wouldn't breathe when she first arrived. Lou came out plump and red, covered in baby fur, with a proper wail, and the doctor's exclamation: "Whoa! She's a big girl!" I remember very distinctly the first minute I held her. I knew instantly that this baby was not the same as the first. There was something about her, in her eyes I think, a deep sense that she knew me better than I knew her. And there was something of a stubborn will in those eyes, and I loved it. Before she could even sit, I knew that our family just got a little spunkier. I knew things around here were going to change. And they have.
Lydia Lou is the storm in the calm. She is the giggles in the tears. She is the READ IT NOW in the I JUST READ THAT. TEN TIMES. She can do everything we can do, and show us she will. She is determined and stubborn and smart as a whip. She's observant and funny. She's kind and loving and purposely tries to make us happy. She takes risks and isn't afraid of much. She is everything we didn't have yet. And I think that's just so amazing. Our lives were total and complete with Annabelle. But then Lou Lou came along and showed us that life could be even more lovely. And loud. And different.
I'll be posting my final yearly letter to her as soon as I get the photos ready (read: as soon as I recover from her epic birthday party). But today she officially turns one. She's had a head cold (or teething?) for the past few days, and she's been the snuggliest bug ever. And while I hate that she's rather miserable, I've simply relished the minutes that she's burrowed into my chest, just the way she did when she was a newborn. I take the time to let her fall asleep in my arms instead of rushing her to her bed to get to the next task. I stare and stare and squeeze and kiss those perfect plump cheeks, and I attempt as I often do with my girls to memorize that face, to somehow etch the days into my mind. Many of them flee, but there are some pictures, clear and happy and full of love.
I'm so grateful for her first year of health and happiness. And pure joy. Lou Lou is joy. She brings it to a room instantly. And to our family just the same.