Dear Avery,

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Tomorrow, you will turn three. And I'm certain that your arrival three years ago somehow made time speed up unusually fast. You may be the third child, but you're our first daughter. You're the big sister and the first little sister all at once.

While there are no favorite children to this mommy, I must say that considering the circumstances your arrival ignited, I have always felt a very protective, sacred connection with you.

I want to say it's because I wish there was a way I could somehow take back all of the time that was stolen from you and I while you were being cared for in the NICU.

I remember there was one day I couldn't come and see you at all. The interstate was literally flooded and I sat there all day in tears and cried myself to sleep that night. I had never missed a moment of the boys newborn days and now I was missing almost all of yours.

The two hours a day I could spend with you were filled with joy and completeness and I knew you knew when mommy was around.

You were so good in there. So patient. So sweet. And I will never forget the time I had to leave you to go home to be with your brothers and placing you in that incubator was like ripping off a very stuck on bandaid. As I closed the latch, you made complete eye contact with me and stretched your right arm completely out towards me as if to say, "mommy, don't leave me again." You didn't cry. You didn't flinch. You just gazed at me with such innocence and I could've sworn that you were looking right through me.

Since those moments I just want to reverse the clock. Make your growing up slow wayyyy down. Now that you're potty trained, can carry on entire conversations, and show up your older brother sometimes when it comes to homeschooling, it's makes me realize that my time with my firstborn daughter is moving at the speed of light.

You're quite honestly the most beautiful little three year old girl I've ever seen. Your hair is what all women desire to have. Your blue eyes and flawless fair skin is breathtaking. But more than that, your heart is "giant" as you would say. It's filled with love for others as you willingly share joy and laughter with complete strangers on a daily basis. Your laugh is so contagious and your zest for all things girly is what I always pictured my daughter being like.

I'm glad I get to be home with you each day to love, nurture, and teach you. Although, you have taught me far more than I have you. The time I long to get back for your big brothers while I sent them to preschool, I haven't made that mistake with you and your little sister. You and your siblings are the treasures of my whole heart. Each one of you contributing to the symphony of our home. You are all so different and the differences are what make our home an amazing energetic diverse place to be.

I love you, my precious Avery. The girl who stole our hearts when she came too soon has given back much more than she stole. I am beyond humbled that God saved you for your daddy and I. Happy Birthday, Aublebaubles.

And Happy Easter too! Xoxo

Love, Mommy

20140717-141249-51169634.jpg Avery and I. August 2011 20140717-141248-51168922.jpg in the NICU 20140717-141249-51169090.jpg with biggest brother, Hunter. October 2011 20140717-141249-51169766.jpg May 2013 20140717-141250-51170151.jpg August 2011 20140717-141249-51169380.jpg October 2011 20140717-141250-51170227.jpg July 2012 20140717-141250-51170361.jpg July 2014 20140717-141250-51170575.jpg Easter, 2014 20140717-141250-51170806.jpg with little sister, Olivia. June 2014 20140717-141249-51169983.jpg

September 2012

20140717-143529-52529447.jpg daddy and Avery. Spring 2012