To my darling Willow on her first birthday:
There are so many moments that lead to us having you that I will never forget. I will never forget the months leading up to getting pregnant with you, River and Lincoln used to pray for you before they’d go to sleep ( Shiloh was only 1) . River would go into so much detail too.. asking me to look at bed designs on Pinterest so daddy could build her a bunk bed in her room for her and her baby sister. She would tell me that you would sleep on the bottom bunk and she would sleep on the top, and that if you started to cry she would come down, lay with you and sing to you until you fell asleep. Having two brothers already, she longed for you and it made my heartache.
We knew we wanted to have at least one more baby to add to our little house filled with love, but so much anxiety started to consume me. I would tuck in the older two kids every night and it was always the same thing, we would say prayers and when i’d finish, “ and we pray for another baby” River would always add “ a baby SISTER”. I would have conversations with her during the day about how we couldn’t choose if you’d be her sister or her brother but that I promised whoever we were blessed with would be the perfect addition to our family. Telling this to a 5 year old was exhausting, it was a hard lesson to teach to someone who was so strong willed and wanted a sister so badly.
River then even started including you in family drawings. She would have 6 people drawn out and when she’d point to my belly ( where she put the picture of the baby) she would always make sure to tell me “ thats my baby sister”. It made me sad. It made me sad because I didn’t like the unknown, and although I trusted God to provide us with the perfect little addition, I didn’t like that there was so much worry surrounding this time that was supposed to be so joyous. I wanted to trust, but was scared of my little girl having to learn that sometimes what we pray for isn’t is meant to be and that God knows best. I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with you. It was fathers day 2017. River and I went to go see the new smurfs movie at the rainbow centre theatre while Daddy spent some quality time at home with Lincoln and Shiloh. There was a smurf named Willow which was a name we already knew we wanted to use if we had another baby girl, this lead me to feeling like I should pick up a pregnancy test on my way home. I was so excited to find out we were expecting you that day.
Fast forward to the 18 week ultrasound that felt like it would never come! So many tears were had everyday leading up to this day as the hard conversations had to happen with River so she could be prepared that she MIGHT have a third brother.. So when we left the ultrasound with the news that you WERE the little girl that was prayed so hard for…. the feelings that memory holds are still so emotional to feel.
The weeks leading up to the ultrasound I made a volcano with your three older siblings and planned to tell them if they were having a sister or a brother by making the volcano erupt pink or blue. The kids loved the craft and had fun with the reveal as well.
The days leading up to your birth I remember thinking about labour. I always had dreamed of having a home water birth, but after having a Caesarean with your sister River, an assisted delivery with your brother Lincoln, and a medical induction with our brother Shiloh, I didn’t want to get my hopes up this time around. However, you surprised me. Your birth was the home birth I had always dreamed of. Being able to be in the comfort of my own home, listening to my body, and trusting the birthing process, having you delivered by midwives the way I always wanted…. i’m speechless, the experience was something I would happily do 100x over.
Then you were here, the baby girl that our family had been waiting for for months, the one your sister prayed for from heaven since we brought her home a second baby brother… ( in 2016 when Shiloh was born she was only 4, but even then wanted a sister) but Willow, you were so worth the wait!
What a precious little one you truly are, just like your siblings, you’re perfect. Even though you weren’t my first, you let me go through the motions again and enjoy every moment of each stage.
When you learned to laugh, I was reminded that a child’s laughter is one of my favourite sounds in this life.
When you learned to crawl, i was reminded that nothing could ever get in the way of a baby on a mission…
When you learned to push your little cart walking on your own, I remembered to let you go, my strong baby girl.
This past year has gone by just as fast as all the others have since River was born. I tried to absorb every second and cherish every first with you, just as I did with your sister and brothers. The truth is, even with being extremely intentional, time travels just as fast!! You have filled my heart with even more wonderful memories, moments I will cherish forever. I feel so lucky to be your mom!
Happy 1st birthday Willow, our sweet little one! <3 We love you so so much! "Kid you'll move mountains! You're off to great places! Today is YOUR day. Your mountains are waiting. So. get on your way." - Dr Seuss