Twelve months ago today the world – our world – tilted a little. Spun crazy with joy. Panted, breathless, with the news.
And your grandpa and I dropped like stones into chairs on the patio as I squeezed the phone tight, jabbing at the speaker button. Not allowing the smallest of words to escape into the humid summer morning. Not letting the thousands of miles keep us from such joy.
I’ve told you before how it was when you slid into the world with a whoop and a holler and amazed us all.You can’t hold those memories yet like we held you later, lying on your grandpa’s strong arms like an offering, swaddled with your daddy’s warmth and fragrant with your mama’s milk.
You didn’t do anything to make us adore you. You were only blueberry-big when the loving began. Maybe before that even.
And when the summer slept and you woke, smiling, your eyes fixed on my face, I started you on the stories. About your mama, how she was like that too when she was wee. And your daddy, how he sidled into our family some years back with his shy smile so that everybody loved him from the start, not just your mama.
Snow was coming down around the time you first sat up, reaching for anything you could pilot to your mouth. It wasn’t but a minute before you started to wave when our faces came on that computer screen, your fingers closing and opening, grabbing a little more of my heart each time.
Spring’s green ovation brought the clapping, your chubby hands meeting each other in the air as we looked on, goofy with gratitude. When was the last time your mama’s parents received such applause, and when did it ever matter before now?
You knew that your grandparents will do all manner of Silly to earn that smile. You still do.
And now the gladness is here that’s summer again and a year’s come round full circle. Your very first birthday, babygirl!
So how could it be that this very morning it was your grandparents who got the gift? Your mormor and your grandpa’s eyes blessed with the sight of you crawling towards us from a thousand miles away.
Reaching up to stroke our faces on the screen.
Pulled back into your mama’s arms as she smoothed your curls.
Grinning your daddy’s shy grin as you brought your fist for the first time just below those wide blue eyes, kissed it, and blew.
We felt that love all the way to Chicago.
Then, gift bestowed, you crawled away, off camera and out of sight.
It was the best birthday gift we ever did receive.
We love you Infinity, Libby.
Your mama will tell you just what that means.