I watch you crouch down, your tiny new glasses sliding down your nose. There’s still the slightest hint of fat wrinkles around your wrists and forearms, the sweetest testament to the baby you were and the child you are becoming. You squat effortlessly, with the grace and flexibility only a (nearly) 2-year-old has.

As you do, you peer intently, pensively, at something. A bug, a stick, a flowerthere is no end to the things that capture you and make you wonder. You glance up at me, once, twice. You point, words and babble falling out of your mouth, and I grin back at you, captivated yes, but by something else entirely.

At you, my sweet girl, I could marvel all day long.

I could spend hours inspecting your ridges and planes, the way the light plays off your hair, the shape of your lips when you sleep, the sweet cadence of your voice as you squeal “Daddy” when he walks through the door. There were days, weeks, months that passed in a blur, marked simply by the heavProstock-studioiness of a tiny babe on my chest, a little fist clenched around my finger.

I remember perfectly the look on your daddy’s face when you were born, the day you met my momma, slept through the night, ate your first avocado, got your first bloody lip.

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I’ve held you through first shots and football games, funerals, and airplane rides.

I’ve been privileged to witness the first rollover, the first crawl, the first steps.

It was my name, Momma, you were first able to speak, followed quickly by Daddy and thank you and more and please.

And do you know what you’ve done for your daddy?

You’ve shattered him in the most beautiful way. I’ve watched him fall in love with you more and more every day. He’ll do anything to make you laugh and smile. He loves your growing vocabulary, the pleasure of watching your mind put the pieces together. He works so hard to let you grow and explore and be brave, but there is no one quicker to race to your side and grab you up when the world does sneak in and hurt you a bit.

You anchored both of us, sweet girl, when we didn’t even know we were going to need saving.

You were a gift to us, to me, in the darkest season of my life. Losing my mommathere was nothing that could have prepared me for that. But equally and beautifully so, there was nothing that could have prepared me for you.

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You have brought me delight when I could have despaired. You have given me joy when there was so much hard. You were and are the most stunning little life, a breathtaking reminder of the sweet privilege of another hour, another day, another year of being your momma.

Today, I peek down at your tiny little hand nestled in mine. It’s Sunday morning and I’m 39-weeks pregnant, patiently awaiting the arrival of our new baby. You stand at church, hand-in-hand with me and your daddy, and I can’t help but be grateful for one more morning of just the three of us.

You are growing upas you should.

Our family is growing upas it should.

Really, life is just changingas it does.

A part of me wants to apologize for what is coming, but I won’t. I can’t apologize for new life, for growth, for the honor of being a momma to your baby brother or baby sister. They’re a gift, a precious gift, just as you are.

But as I squeeze your tiny hand, I can promise you I won’t forget this.

I won’t forget how you changed my life, how that first tiny breath irrevocably and completely altered the course of my days.

And perhaps tonight, or tomorrow, or next week, our sweet baby will show up and none of us will ever want life any other way. I can only imagine how much I will delight in seeing another new side of you unfolda big sister, a champion, a friend.

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But for today, I will continue to marvel at just you, my firstborn, my precious girl. You are all things beautiful and good in this world. And though you won’t remember these years as three, I will. They’ve been the most beautiful gift, for me and for Daddy and for you, and one which I will hold onto my entire life.

I won’t forget.

Lo Mansfield

Lo is a labor RN who left her patients for her own babies when her first daughter was born and her own mama died. She loves her baby girls and she loved her patients --> right now, she's living in the truth that she can't do both and that is 100% okay. She lives in Denver with her husband and two daughters, writing, mom-ing, grieving, running, and (maybe) figuring it out. You can follow her mama heart musings at The Mama Harbor and at her Instagram