And here she is today:
And I tell you the truth: I could not have imagined how much my love for her would grow in one year. Oh, I loved her the first minute I saw her, but the more I get to know her and the more she reveals herself to us, the more in love I fall.
I can hardly remember what it felt like to be pregnant and wonder about who she was. Now, all I can think is, "Of course the baby inside me was Hadley. Of course the baby inside me was this spark of a child, whose happiness is matched only by her willfulness. Of course the baby inside me was this beautiful girl with grey-green eyes and a smile that makes her whole face beam. Of course." She is just who she is supposed to be, just who we were supposed to have.
She is growing into quite a little girl. She has ideas of her own--where she wants to go, what she wants to eat (I swear she would survive on pears, cheese and O's if we let her), what she wants to play. She knows how to be silly, how to make us laugh, how to press our buttons. She gives hugs and the occasional kiss, which she bestows in one of two ways: a smooch so quick we don't know we've received it until it's over, or a big, wet, mushy, open-mouthed slobber that leaves the recipient's face rather sticky for a long while. No middle ground.
She understands so much. Tonight, I asked if she was ready for a bath. She laughed and walked (holding on to my fingers, as I trailed, doubled-over, behind her) directly to the bathtub. She plays music on her little musical table and dances. She looks for people when we ask where they are. She knows her tummy, the light, her nose, her shoes and socks, and probably a dozen things she's keeping secret for now.
I love her. Wildly, deeply. And even though she gets presents on her birthday, I will forever feel that on May 4, 2009, Jason and I got the biggest, most wonderful gift of all when the doctor put Hadley in our arms.
Happy birthday, sweet girl.