A letter to my Ramona Moon on her first birthday.

My sweet Ramona,

Today you are one. Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about the year–what a crazy, beautiful whirlwind it’s been. How you’ve grown from a helpless little bundle in my arms, to a willful, vivacious little moon who has opened my eyes to all the wonders of the world. How do I write you a letter when my heart is so full, and my words, so few? I love you. I love who you’re already becoming at just 12 months of age. Your thirst for life astounds me. Your sense of humor, already sophisticated, intimidates me, and your compassion breaks my heart. You are RAMONA the REMARKABLE. You are everything I could have imagined you would be a year ago and so, so much more. When I watch you with wonder, I am constantly reminded that you are not even mine. “You are the daughter of life’s longing for itself. You are with me, but do not belong to me”. I am honored to be your mama. And I will forever cheer you on as you both dance and stumble through this life.

You are just one year-old and I am convinced, you have more life than some adults.  I love that the second you wake up, you point to 10 different things in the room, ready to take on the world.  I love that you wave your little hand and say “hi” to everybody that passes by.  I love that you laugh to yourself randomly, knowing that you must have something brilliantly funny going on in that little head of yours.  I love the shape of your head–that it once  fit perfectly  in my palm and is now heavy in my lap.  I love that you have long pieces of hair that grow over your ears and that you have none on top.  I love your bottom little teeth that you show off with pride.  I love that your smile sincerely brightens a random stranger’s day.     I love your chubby little hands and your finger that is pointing and questioning everything–  “Sthat?”.  I love that you love animals–both stuffed and real.  That you scramble on to “Big Bear’s” lap when you’re scared and that your first clear word besides Mama and Dada was “chicken”.  I love that you hate shoes.  I love that you love taking baths with me—laying on my chest some nights and splashing me on others and then laugh hysterically.  I love that you can dance the hokey pokey and have horrible taste in music.  I love that you love to make coffee with me in the morning. That you’ve learned to smell the fresh ground beans.  I love that you have only wanted to face forward since the day you were born.  That you want to see the world out front, even though I wanted you to snuggle into me.  I love that you have preferences–that you like “Goodnight Moon”, but not the “Little Engine that Could”.  And more than anything, I love your ability to laugh when others are laughing and crawl up on a lap when somebody is crying.  You are incredibly gifted when it comes to matters of the heart and the ability to read people.

One of the hardest things about being a mama is knowing that I can’t always protect you.  You will experience pain in this life  and it kills me.  I wish I could stand in the way of this, but it’s part of life and I do believe that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.   But I can promise you this.  I will always tell you the truth.  I will always listen.  I will always put your life before mine.  I will always sing you to sleep if you need it, always stroke your hair when you want it, always kiss you on the mouth, always hold your hand when you want it and put it in my pocket when you’re embarrassed.  I will always laugh with you, cry with you, and support you in whoever you choose to be.  I will always be your biggest fan.  I pray that you will never lose your confidence.  I will guard it with my life, if you will.  I pray you will know that your smile is like gold, that your heart is like God’s.  That you will continue to thirst for life, try new things, make new friends, scrape up your knees and get back up.  I pray that fear only protects you, never inhibits you, and that you’ll climb mountains like you climb the stairs now–never looking down, but always looking on, as you squeal and praise yourself.  I pray that you will be wise and defend the good in life.  That you’ll drink wine in celebration and not in woe.  And I pray that you’ll let yourself fall in love with many things and places and people. Love is truly the nectar of life.    You are special, Ramona.  You are here for a reason.  I believe that will all of my heart, and I am the luckiest mama in the world to get to hold you in my arms and kiss your toes every day.  I promise I will not take a day for granted.

Happy Birthday, my brave, wild, fun loving daughter.  You are my light in the dark.  I love you.

Watch a slideshow of our little lady here (sorry for the incomplete black border and lack of video controls… I hate Showit!)

mom - Thanks, Julie — Beautiful slide show. (Now you understand why I always wanted slide shows at birthdays in our family.) As I’ve said to many…falling in love with Ramona was not a surprise to me….I KNEW I would be head-over-heels about her. The greatest joy has been watching you and Jesse as parents. She is one blessed child!! I love you 3!!
Happy Birthday, Mona-Baby!! I love you ~ Mimi

Linda - oh …. What a doll! I know she will treasure your “gift” of words as she grows up. YOU write beautifully. Your mom says that she looks like Jesse … but, I see all of the Harris’ in her expressions. She sure is a lucky little girl .. Blessings for all of you. xoxo, Linda

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