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We are so very proud of you, sweet 13-year-old.

living in gratitude©

living in gratitude©

We won’t embarrass you with baby pictures, but we remember your birth with soul clarity:  You were born just before we were married.  (That’s why your dad traveled thousands of miles in the snow to be at our wedding; your Mom was occupied with you, sweet girl.)

Your arrival was one of the best moments in our family’s life.  A baby girl!  A daughter! A third granddaughter!  Our niece … it had been some time since there had been a baby in our family, and we were all lovestruck at once.

I am grateful for the way those big dark eyes welcomed us all.  I’m grateful for the way you snuggled in our arms.  I am most grateful for the way my husband looked when he held you — nothing is so precious as that.

You brought wonder into our lives, sweet niece.

You have always brought us joy, each of us, and it was with heavy hearts that we kissed you, that day by the waterfront, and left for India.

Love has a way of bringing us home.

I am ever-grateful we came back to you, to your cousins, to all the nieces and nephews who enrich our lives in so many ways.

Happy birthday, 13-year-old.  Thank for you being such a delightful niece.  Thanks, especially, for keeping the wonder in our lives.

(And we’re still “scared” of you, martial arts instructor!)