When I think of the past year, the first thing that comes to my mind is one of Julia's favorite books: Olivia. Olivia is an adorable little pig whose mind is constantly in motion and in a perpetual state of discovery. Julia now reads this book to us at night. The first lines of the book sum this year up perfectly!
"This is Olivia. She is good at lots of things.
She's very good at wearing people out.
She even wears herself out."
What a year it has been. So much growth and so many new experiences, how could she not be worn out? As I look back on some snapshots this year, it is fun to realize how mature Julia is becoming as she encounters some new things and masters different challenges. My most favorite image from this last year is an image that will be forever embedded in my mind: my little girl walking in to our hospital room to meet her brother for the very first time - hands in her pockets, not quite sure what all of the commotion was about. Although it took her a moment, she had a permanent grin on her face from the time she met her baby brother. Though he will drive her crazy at times, this smile surfaces whenever she sees baby "Cha-lee". Sisterhood was a new role this year. She has literally embraced it (as I have to often tell her to give Charlie some space). Luckily Charlie has perfected the art of the stiff arm.
The following shots were taken month to month. They are a random assortment from playing at the park to meeting a butterfly for the first time. Each tiny moment swells in her heart. I watch her take in the world with such wide eyes, eager to figure out how things work in her mind and eager to tell her friends all about it. Lately when we come up with a good idea together (typically one that involves Julia getting a treat) Julia exclaims, "You're a genius!" When she doesn't like something she says, "I'm not so sure about that." Her colorful statements reflect how she is figuring things out for herself. Her latest accomplishment is her self-appointed role as a comedian. She makes up jokes that often make little sense, but are hysterical to her. She is the best kind of comedian. One who laughs at herself and demands her audience to laugh with her.
Precious Julia, these snapshots capture you beautifully! I was humbled the moment that you arrived on June 13th, 2009. I was honored to hold you and take care of you and think about all of the things you would become. Little did I know how quickly a beautiful, talented, compassionate little girl would emerge. Every day with you is an adventure. An epic, exhilerating, (and sometimes exhausting) adventure. Some days I'm not sure I can keep up with you, but most of the time I realize we're pretty content to figure it out together as a family.
"When we've finished reading, Olivia's mother gives her a kiss and says, "You know, you really wear me out, but I love you anyway."
And Olivia gives her a kiss back and says,
"I love you anyway too."
-Olivia, by Ian Falconer