[Edited 10/27/06. It seems that some sick folks have taken to visiting mommyblogs and other blogs, taking the pics of the kids and photoshopping them into something they call parody but I call cruel. For this reason, and because of these asshats, pics of my kids will no longer be posted.]

Twelve years ago, something amazing happened to me. I had thought, up until then, that my life was complete. The house, the marriage, the little boy. My life was just as I had planned. I didn’t think anything was missing. I didn’t think there was anything that I needed. And twelve years ago, I was proven wrong. The doctors handed over my 8 lb., 13 oz. baby girl. They joked about my barely 5’0 frame and the total of eleven, yes eleven, pounds I had gained, and wondered if there would be anything left once the delivery was complete. And my fat baby girl smiled. For the first time.

For the last twelve years, she has not stopped smiling. The ladies that loved her at the daycare always said that her face wasn’t big enough for her smile. The child was always happy.

The child is still happy. And she has made my life more complete than I could ever have imagined. Her intelligence, her ability to love, her spirit — they are such a gift to our family that I find myself shaking my head at her ability to keep us going. Strong of will and strong of faith, she makes me stop and think time and again.

A friend of mine describes her as an “old soul.” There’s just so much good, so much compassion, so much life in her that it defies her twelve years.

I know she is destined for greatness, and I know this without vanity, without conceit. She is who she is entirely of her own doing, and her father and I had nothing to do with it. I sometimes believe she is who she is in spite of us.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl. The best gift given on your birthday was the one given to us.

We may have given you life, but we did not make you the person you are.