SEVEN

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It’s early. The dark has just given way to the first light of day. It’s peaceful and quiet and the hum of the noise machine in Adellyn’s room fills the whole house.

It’s her seventh birthday today.

The balloons are hanging by streamers on her door, presents are on the turquoise table ready to be opened, and waffles with melted chocolate chips are on the menu for breakfast.

Over the weekend, she wanted to know when she could get a phone, and last night she was asking how old she had to be to drive a car.

While she’s grappling with the idea that she has quite a few years to wait for both, I still can’t believe the baby I swear I was just rocking to sleep is growing up into a her own little dream-filled, wonder-filled, complete with her own quirks, tiny human.

Seven years ago, this very moment, 4:56am, I was holding a two-hour old little girl named Adellyn Grace. “You don’t have to bounce her while she’s eating,” the midwife told me. “She’ll get an upset stomach.”

“Oh,” I said, realizing I hadn’t a single clue about what this gig called motherhood was going to take.

I remember how the exhaustion took over when she was three days old, and for a brief moment, I wanted to give her back.

How she peed in the aisle at Home Depot when she was learning to use the potty the week before she turned two, and how she threw up in the grocery store on Mother’s Day when she was five.

She loved bananas and avocado when she was six months old, to be replaced with macaroni and cheese with tomato soup by the time she turned six.

I still smell brand new baby girl on her in the morning sometimes.

When she was really little, I remember folding her tiny jammies and wondering if the laundry would ever be done and if the bottles would ever be washed and if the nights would ever again mean more than four hours of sleep.

While I’ve been teaching her how to brush her teeth and tie her shoes, and answering questions like when can we get a dog and where do babies come from for the past seven years, she’s been teaching me about the width and depths of love.

So today, with the car and the cell phone still on her list, as six becomes seven and our adventure continues, she’ll get what every good adventurer needs: a new pair of adventure shoes and a new dress with a matching outfit for her doll.

Happy Birthday, little peanut. I couldn’t love you more.

Picture credit: The incredibly talented @Carly.Smaha

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