2 June 2018

I think she might be the most positive out of all of us. I’d even venture to say, the most everything of all of us. And she’s five. Our Annie.

I’m thankful for our intimate birthday breakfasts. She was expecting streamers (Walmart sold none that I could find) and said, “I really wanted that paper coming down from the ceiling, but that’s okay I like that sign too!” Ruth got her a birthday tiara and that made up for the decorations. She slept with it in her bed the night before so she’d remember to give it to Ann the next day.

Ruthie was in charge of hiding all the gifts and we thought she’d hid the wrapping paper too because we couldn’t find that either. Even after sending Ryan out to the van at 11pm we couldn’t find it, so I scrummaged around and ended up using Christmas wrapping paper. This is a new parenting low.

Annie. How you find joy in everything and always say “But that’s okay!”. It’s inspiring to me.

She picked out a cake instead of donuts and you bet that’s what we had for breakfast.

Ryan had to miss the breakfast celebration. He’d correctly predicted that Annie would sleep in, which she did, and he couldn’t wait around. Ruthie was very upset about it. Secretly I was sad too, but it gave me an opportunity to talk to her about sacrifices. And it allowed me to build him up in front of her, how lucky she is to have a hardworking dad who provides for his family.

He ended up taking the afternoon off and they excitedly put on their new swimsuits to go to the city pool.

Our fireplace is packed with furniture because we also had our carpets cleaned. It’s fitting it happened on her birthday since she’s our main mud collector. (And mom, are you proud that Dan Patrick is playing in the background?)

We went twice to the pool, once before lunch and once after dinner. We’d gotten our hands stamped and immediately on the way home Annie wiped hers off. I went for a run in between and spent most of it blowing on the stamp so sweat wouldn’t smear mine too.

We loved talking about Annie’s arrival with her over lunch. On her due date there was a tornado warning that sent my parents running into a casino near their RV park. Drenched by the time they got in the door, they stood in a bathroom with a bunch of strangers. We holed up with Ruth in the closet under our stairs. I remember my midwife saying she fully expected a call (barometric pressure pushing babies down and all that) and because she didn’t, she knew Annie was staying put. Exactly a week later, it was tornadoish again. I listened to the swirling whirling of wind outside before falling asleep. She was our easiest and quickest delivery – 90 minutes from my first contraction at midnight to holding her in my arms at 1:30am, then watching the sunrise with Ryan in bed after the midwives had left. I remember feeling so incredibly at peace for those few hours before Ruthie woke up and family arrived.

The highlight for Annie was the lazy river. We spent probably two hours going around and around. Ruthie wanted to jump off the diving board but quietly climbed back down three times. The teenage boys waiting in line smiled sweetly at her, letting her pass. Ryan and I took turns going down the waterslides while the rest sat at the bottom cheering. Gertie’d sit on the side of the pool and when we’d hold our hands out, she’d fall forward. Her “jump.” But she’d always wait until she saw our hands. It doesn’t take much to make us go on and on about the littlest detail.

We ate Chick-Fil-A at Annie’s request and she declared the day to be the best birthday ever. I was going to make a joke about keeping the bar low, but then I was thinking of how happy we all were together as a family, so I can see how just that alone can be the best gift of all.

It’s 3am and I’m writing this. Annie had crawled into our bed and I woke up with her foot on my cheek. I love her, that Ann Julia.



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