What did we ever do without you?
We call you kitten. It's interesting- none of us really have a particular fondness for cats, but it just fits. That's been your nickname since day one. It was almost as if you were purring after your birth, showing off that ravishing, dark chocolate hair, right in your mom's arms. We were fixated on your sweet little hums.
"How's the kitty?" we type into our family's group text. If it's been over three hours since we've cuddled, watched a video of, or heard an anecdote about you, we start to twitch. Did you get a new outfit? Did you laugh at your dad? Did you sneeze or discover your belly button? Did you get a new tooth? We need
daily hourly reports.
When you walk into a room (with a loved one's helpful grip, for now), you activate this dreamlike filter over everything. It's exactly like the most flattering option available in Instagram Stories- the one that gradually pours pixie dust over the screen, melting over my face, marvelously erasing any fine lines, and giving me a subtle glow that I really wish were authentic. You emanate this luminous, soothing aura throughout entire rooms. Everyone is happier, more present. This is your magical power.
You're the star of the show, and your brothers affectionately agree. You're the extraordinary centerpiece on the table of our family. You bring everyone together. You're there, lighting everything up, erasing any rough edges. Every family should have a little kitten like you to praise, sing to, kiss on, and swap stories about.
We love to watch your eyes sparkle when your brothers interact with you. We love to celebrate when you take a couple steps. We get a kick out of it when you discover new foods.
You're so smart. I know all aunts say that, but we know you truly understand what we're saying to you. It's an honor to engage in this miracle of communication without words.
You almost always wear a delicate headband, and you cherish each new color. Once, your mom found you in your bedroom with about ten around your head. You were born ultra feminine. You have a whole house full of trucks to play with, but you choose princesses and baby dolls most of the time.
You're so outgoing! New people are fascinating to you, and you aren't hesitant when strangers fawn over you. You are such a delight to bring on outings, because you're like a little doll. You don't fuss. You don't even need a bunch of toys to play with. You just want to observe. It's so cute when you curiously tilt your head to the side at a restaurant to check out the patrons next to us. They never seem to mind.
You've been attending sporting events since you were only a week old, and you appear to enjoy them so far. You are pleasant; you go with the flow. You rest in your stroller or charm one of your many family members present. Sometimes you clap and cheer on your "bubbas." You even delight in their sweaty hugs afterward! It's lovely to watch them flaunt you to their friends. They are so proud of you already.
The other day, Uncle Mop and I took your brothers out to breakfast after their basketball game, and when we pulled up to drop them off, you were waiting for them in your Mom's arms outside. They burst out of the car to greet you, and a streak of panic came over me, as I truly thought you were going to leap out of her grip! You were just thrilled to see them, and it had only been a couple hours. The relationship you have with each of them is unfolding so beautifully.
We all live for your expressions, toothy smile, and big brown eyes. You look like one of those heavenly angel babies who should be painted on the ceiling of a famous church. Your cheeks are rosy. Your lips are full and lush. Your fluttery, long eyelashes have a personality of their own. Your arms, creased to perfection, are soft and fair and delicious.
Today, we will present you with puzzles, sparkly dresses, and pretend make-up kits, but we know that it's really all of us who got the best gift of all. (You!)
Happy 1st Birthday, darling, beautiful girl.
All photos by: Annie Syers Portrait Design