It was three years ago that you eagerly joined us. We were planning on you arriving October 26, but you had another idea, surprising us by being early. You’ve always been like this – full of surprises, contradictions, trying to test us maybe, or throw us off our guard, or keep us on our toes. Family lore has it that once you heard my voice again after being apart for several weeks, you decided it was time to leave your cozy belly-home and meet us, never mind your due date. Just six hours after I arrived home after an overseas flight from Skopje, Macedonia, your mother’s water broke and she began labor. And four hours later, at approximately 10:03 a.m., on October 12, you said your first squeaky hello to this world and joined me in my ready arms. You were and remain my best and greatest catch and hold. I was the first to cradle and cuddle you; the first to squeeze you. Not to be released too soon. You wriggled around a bit. It was and still is the single most exquisite moment of my life, gently swaying you briefly in my arms before handing you back to your waiting mother. Some cheesy stuff, not too blue, not too much molding, they said. We had so many names for you over the previous ten months. Today we called you “Baby Early”.
There are many things to remember and think about, many things to write about, so many memories from the past three years. But none so deeply memorable, moving, and transforming, as the day you joined us. Your grand entry to a journey we would all take. You made us all so very happy as we welcomed you with arms open, early arrival and all. Happy third birthday, my sweet little girl!