I planned her first birthday party for weeks, probably months. She wasn't walking yet and when she held my finger and toddled in the room - birthday crown perched on top of that silk blondness - I think I felt like the most important person in the world - being her mama. Oh, the pride.
What followed were birthdays at the park and the pool and the western ranch and with each one I could close my eyes and remember how hair silk felt each time I tied ribbon.
But with all that goodness I will never need to ask her favorite birthday. Because I love a man, so I know exactly what she would say.
Concerns are natural for a mama at a time like this. It's not personal or protection or hovering or any of the adjectives one could give it. It's just natural. But there is something about harboring a secret that your baby love is moments away from experiencing one of the happiest moments of her life that pushes that back into the far corners of the mind.
Everyone was pretty much giddy all night trying to keep the secret. Her birthday was celebrated in its normal grand style - at Nana's house side by side with whom she had always shared birthdays with. Sometimes it's easy for her to forget he's her uncle because he's always her friend. And to me, he's always ten.
With a Chick-fil-a diet coke and seeing a new house seperating her from us we all hid in the bushes. Yes. Yes. We. Did. We hid in the bushes. And I prayed. In those moments I prayed for that young man I love that will be my son. I watched him pace the deck and knew seconds must be feeling like minutes and minutes like hours and knew that he knew she'd say yes but what does that feel like? To already have lost your heart but still feel it quickly beating while you wait to do what makes you a man?
And I knew she had been trying to wait patiently until the moment was perfect for him. And I was in on this little secret and I tried not to close my eyes and feel the silk and tie the ribbon because I'm still not sure they know that tears don't always come because of what my darlins' are doing in the moment - tears sometimes come just because of the moment. No one understands bittersweet more than a Mama.
He made it lovely for her and I watched the moment unfold and didn't need to see her face to know her joy.
For in that moment I was back to before baby girl. I was sitting on the floor of my childhood home when laughter turned into the moment he pulled me close and asked words I didn't expect. Back to when I laughed and asked him if he was serious. Back to when I wasn't in on the secret and our moment was spontaneous and beautiful and I asked him to ask me again. Back to when I said yes and kissed a smile I'll never forget and began a life that led me to here.
And here is beautiful. And the pride, oh my.