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The first time my daughter smiled it brought tears to my eyes. It was early morning and we were lying in bed, just learning each others faces enjoying those magic moments of complete consumption that can only occur between a mother and her child. “Mommy loves you!” I told her with great enthusiasm, and just as the words slipped from my lips she smiled, and that fire in my heart that ignited the first time I touched her grew and as tears ran down my face I felt the flames rise as her happiness stoked the love I held deep in my core.

A few months later we sat on the front porch, my SweetPea resting on my knees as she looked out at the world. A rampant wave of energy coursed through the air as our overgrown puppies began to wrestle their way through the parking lot. The stir of yellow and black fur caught her attention and she focused her gaze on the two thrashing dogs rolling across the dirt closely followed by our curmudgeonly old man of a dog indiscriminately barking his protest at the fun these youngins were continuing to have. And then it happened… She laughed, just a few short rich chuckles followed by a giant unabashed smile. Like someone took all the Love and Confidence in the word swirled it around and topped it with a healthy drizzle of Pure Joy and just a hint of magic. It was amazing, heart wrenchingly beautiful, and the most wonderful sound I have ever heard in my entire life.

Laughing came on slow. A little chuckle here and then nothing for weeks, and then during a diaper change or a play session with daddy we’d hear that little giggle again. At this point I was hooked. I was hooked on the joyous cadence that I knew could erupt from her tiny lips at any moment. I tried everything, but she never laughed at the same thing twice; it was always something new and exciting that would spark her next burst of joy…

… Until yesterday

We’d just arrived home from a long and grueling day in town, shuffling her in and out of her car seat as we went from store to store, SweetPea trying to nap the whole time only to be woken up at the next stop just as she nodded off, but as is almost always the case she was a good sport about it, and arrived home ready to be out of her car seat but happy. After the car was unloaded she sat in her dads arms on the front porch once again; the dogs running about playing and barking, and then it happened. She laughed, and it was as if her little heart overflowing with bliss unleashed its happiness upon the world and gushed exquisite pleasure as beat after beat continued to flow into the vibrant air surrounding her, and as she laughed the seconds strung into minutes and my heart was filled with love for this little person whom I’d made from my own flesh, and the happiness she was so freely sharing with all of us.

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I started a baby journal when I first learned I was pregnant. It was short lived and only has a few entries, but I found it today and wanted to share some of the words I wrote to her with all of you.

August 11th, 2010 – 12weeks 5days

Dear Baby,

The things I find myself wanting from life are so very different than they used to be. I no longer feel the need for a large house and a new car, but I instead long for experiences with you and your Father; a small cabin in the woods with a dog and a goat, watching bugs crawl across the floor in the living room with you and I giggling together as our puppy tries to eat them up, playing outside and teaching you about nature, mud pies and flower cakes, fresh veggies and the smell of ripe blackberries in the sun, cold rainy days spend by the fire reading books and playing games with you and your Daddy, being happy just to be alive and near the ones I love. What sweet happiness one could have with so very little.

Sometimes it’s nice to look back and be reminded of the things that were most important. I’d forgotten how deeply I felt about just having the simple things in life, and enjoying the moments made with my family over the things I can(or can’t) buy at the store. Today I am grateful for the things I have, and that’s a wonderful way to start the day!

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Eyelight Studio

My Parents have been together for 25 years today, and they’re still in love.

Still so in love that they can occasionally gross out their 21 year old daughter by holding each other close, staring deeply into the familiarity of their partners eyes… and for lack of a more dignified adult word… making out!

I love you both so much! and I can only hope to still be grossing my children out 24 years and 4 months from now!

Thank you so much for teaching me about love and marriage, and being one of the few remaining examples of how both can work in the world we live in today!

I Love You.

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