I held you in utter disbelief that you were in my arms. Less than two hours before, I had driven myself to my last doctor’s appointment, having to pull over every few minutes for contractions. And now, you were here.
The delivery was so calm, so smooth, so different from your sister’s. I remember in the operating room we were talking about how warm the day had started, but now the temperature was dropping quickly. By the time we fell asleep that night, it had dropped thirty-five degrees. Fall had arrived, and so had our little pumpkin.
Our favorite L&D nurse, Lauren, asked your daddy if he wanted to announce what you were… girl or boy. Our bets were all pink. We just knew you were a girl. And when Dr. Miller held you up, Daddy squeezed my hand and proudly announced, “It’s a girl!” You cried for the first time and sounded just like your big sister. Daddy and I sobbed big huge tears, so thrilled to have another daughter, so thrilled to have you. Your daddy held you while Dr. Miller stitched me up. I kept expecting them to take you away, to the NICU, like they had with your sister, but we got to keep you the whole time. They moved me to the recovery room and I held you in one arm and used the other arm to call everyone and tell them, “It’s a girl! Charlotte Anne is here!” Pure joy. That’s what I felt in that moment.
And this past year you have brought us so much joy. You are the snuggliest baby I’ve ever known. A million times a day you will crawl over to me and hold your arms up for me to hold you. The moment I sit on the ground you quickly come over and crawl in my lap. And at nap time, I love to rock you and read Charlotte’s Web while you rest your head on my shoulder. When you were about six weeks old, you started sucking your thumb and, while I know it will probably be a hard habit to break, it melts my heart every time I see that sweet hand up next to your face, with your thumb in your mouth and your other fingers wrapped around your little nose.
You are mischievous. We call you our little Gutenberg because you are fascinated with the printer and love to push all the buttons. I’ll often find you splashing around in the dog bowl or pulling the toilet paper off the roll into a massive heap. We have to keep a close eye on any electrical cords or outlets and the fireplace because you love those places too. But your favorite place to be is in the bath tub. You would stay in there until your toes were wrinkly like a prune if we let you.
I love to run my fingers through your little honey-blonde hair, just barely long enough to form a single curl in the back. And those blue eyes… that sparkle like a pool on the first day of summer, brimming with possibility and laughter and, yes, a little mischief. When we pray for you at night, your daddy often prays that you will be like Esther, brave and beautiful, willing to be used by God to rescue His people. When we chose your name, Charlotte Anne, I didn’t realize at the time you would share a name with two of the most influential female missionaries, Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. I pray God will use your mischievous spirit, your fearless personality and your love for people to change the world. You’ve certainly changed our world.
Happy 1st birthday to our little pumpkin, our Lottie Dot, our Charlotte Anne…