It seems like only yesterday that we brought Hope home from the hospital.
I had waited so long to hold her in my arms. Holding my sweet baby girl opened my eyes to a love I never knew existed.
Every time I looked at her tiny hands and fingers, I would envision her growing up: crawling, walking, going to school, learning to ride a bike, learning to drive. Then I'd wish that she could stay a baby so I could hold her close to me forever.
But she had other ideas.
As the days and weeks passed by, she observed the world around her. She grew a little each day and started doing things on her own.
She lit up the room when she laughed for the first time when she was 3 months old.
At 5 months she sat up all by herself.
And at 6 months she began to crawl.
Then she got her first teeth. She wanted to bite into everything she saw. Cookies were her favorite.
So it was no surprise that her first words were "ma-ma", "da-da", "no" and "cookie".
She took her first steps just days before her first birthday.
She loved Angelica from the Rugrats cartoons and Elmo.
Then she became a big sister. I could see that she too had discovered a love like no other when she watched over her baby brother.
The older she got, the more curious she was about everything she saw, heard or touched.
Weeks before her 3rd birthday, she moved to a land far, far away, with Mommy and Daddy. She learned a new language. And embraced her new way of life.
Then came kindergarten. She had a hard time separating herself from Mommy and Daddy, but ultimately loved the time she got to spend with her favorite Tia (aunt) and the new friends she made.
Once she was in elementary school, she learned even more, like reading and writing. As the years passed, she became even more independent.
And now, all of a sudden she's in Junior High, almost as tall as I am and has even started to wear a little make-up. My baby girl has grown into a lovely young lady. I see a lot of Hubby and myself in her, but she is her own person. I admire her strength and confidence.
Today, my baby girl is a teenager.
Happy 13th Birthday, Hope. I couldn't have asked for a better early Christmas present. I love you.