Oh my God. Somebody pinch me. Has it really been four years since you graced our family with your arrival?
The day you were born, I was sure the entire world was bathed in light; your light. I looked into your eyes, still scanning, unable to focus yet, and I promised to teach you everything I knew
I had so much wisdom to impart on you, darling Natalie! So many life lessons to pass down and I couldn't wait to get started.
But you; you had other plans.
It is you who is filled with wisdom; the kind of wisdom that cannot be gathered from textbooks or fancy degrees. Rather, it is the kind of wisdom inherent in a child who looks at the world through unfiltered lenses, whose spirit is not diluted by materialistic matters or ego.
It is the wisdom of a girl who finds pleasure in the simple things; things that I may have otherwise overlooked had you not been around to show them to me these last 4 years.
The way a bubble you just made can catch the light perfectly as you blow it up into the air.
The magic of being able to refill a plastic yellow cup with holes full of water over and over again just by dunking it back in the tub and watching it drain over your hand and the way it makes you feel as it pours against your skin.
You have proven to me that less is more.
You playing at the kitchen sink is a perfect example. There are no toys involved with this favorite activity; there is nothing made of plastic, nothing with batteries, nothing pink. You like to sing to yourself while you pour water from cup to cup, or cup to sink, or cup to floor.
The scene in your favorite Disney movie, Tangled, when Rapunzel says "Are you tired of chasing the bad man all over the place?" Then Flynn says "Excuse me?" Without you my sweet Natalie, I would have never thought a 10-second segment in a cartoon could illicit two straight years of continuous laughter and squeals, but you have shown me that it’s possible and made a believer out of me.
The list is endless, my dear daughter, but my point is simple: You have taught me more about the meaning of life in this last four years than I could ever hope to teach you. You have given me the priceless gift of perspective and I can never repay you for that. You have challenged me in ways I thought would undo me but instead it has made me a better human being and I am eternally indebted to you for that.
You fill my life with meaning and purpose and even on my worst days, when I feel helpless to help you through the pain and the tears and the discomfort of trying to fit into this imperfect world, you still manage to love me, mistakes and all. You climb up into my lap, flash your amazing grin, and for a moment we are one again and I know that I am enough.
I wish so many things for you baby, above all of course, health.
But a close second is continued happiness.
The kind of happiness that comes from an unlimited supply of shiny bubbles and enough 'Tangled' scenes to last you a lifetime.
Happy birthday, Natalie
Thank you for making my life whole.
Thank you for dancing to the beat of your own drum.
Thank you for making the world a better place.