Mara Hope is ONE!

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My sweet baby girl is one!

Mara has been in my arms for one year now, but in my heart for what seems like forever. I have so many words tangled up inside of me, and I’m hoping to get them out the best I can so that one day, my sweet baby girl can look back  and know how much I love her.

I adore the baby phase. The sleepless newborn nights, sweet cozy snuggles, the giggles, the coos, the aroma {oh how I wish I could bottle it up and keep it forever}! I try so hard to soak in every tiny moment because they are here and gone in the blink of an eye.

I have had a much harder time letting go of this sweet phase with Mara. Maybe it’s because I know we’re getting to the end of our baby-having years {although, Lord willing, we aren’t quite there yet}! Maybe it’s because I know there are no guarantees, so I have been trying my best to cherish her as if she was our last baby {because she very well could be, only the Lord knows what’s in store for our family}. Maybe it’s just because I love her so much that it hurts.

No matter what the reason may be, I just cant’ let baby Mara go. Like in my mind she is still a snuggly newborn that was born yesterday. One night Ritch was out, so after I put the kids to sleep I sat up in my room, had a good cry, and wrote a letter to Mara. It was beautifully therapeutic for me and I hope it can bless you!

A letter to Mara.  

To my sweet, sweet Mara. This past year with you has been one of the best of my life. I cannot believe it has come and gone so quickly, and when I look back I can barely even remember how each day passed. And yet here we are. You and me. Both a year older. And oh, if I was given the opportunity I would do it all over again with you.

Every time I kissed you, nursed you, breathed in your scent, snuggled you for hours on end, all of it was on purpose. I wanted to be certain that I lived every moment of the first year of your life to the fullest and took you in…every bit of you. I can honestly say I have, even though I did it imperfectly. I have loved you the best I know how. I have given you all of me in every way you needed it. I have studied every curve of your face. I have felt your chest rise and fall on mine. Your heartbeat has calmed my aching heart. You have been extension of me, and it feels as if I have known you my whole life.

But now, sweet girl, you will soon learn that you and I are not one in the same.Where I end and you begin will become more defined. None of us are immune to the passing of time, but oh how I wish we were. How I wish you could be mine, just like we are, forever.

Your love is ferocious, your laughter contagious and your will is strong. It has been a joy to discover who you are. While I am deeply saddened to see this chapter end, I live in eager anticipation of what is yet to come. You, Mara Hope, are a beautiful gift. Knit together by loving hands. And I am in awe and wonder that I was chosen to love you. I was chosen to give you life. I was chosen to be your mommy.

Please remember. When I fall. When I make mistakes {because there will be many}. When I am not who I should be. Remember I love you. Remember I carried you inside of me. Remember that in my brokenness the part of my heart held by you has always been whole.  Remember you are enough. You are cherished. You are beautiful. You are My Mara Hope.

With more love than I could ever express, Mommy.

The Celebration

Ok to be honest we don’t do the birthday party thing. I found myself trying to live up to a certain “birthday standard” when Bethany’s first and second birthdays came around and decided that I wasn’t going to play that game or I’d go insane in the membrane. We barely even got Mara presents this year because there was nothing she needed that she didn’t already have {and she won’t remember anyways}! So we just let the kids choose what they want to do on their birthdays.

Since Mara is clearly incapable of making such decisions at the age of 1, we made them as a family. We hung out together all day {because or plans to go on a picnic were derailed by chilly weather}, and then had pizza for dinner!

Of course I made Mara a cake…and I always love babies’ first birthdays because I get to choose what the cake looks like {instead of meeting a list of demands from my cute little cake monsters}! Whenever I think of Mara I think of sunflowers, so I made this cake for her! She was, of course, adorable eating it!

Something absolutely hilarious she did was every time we sang her happy birthday she raised her hands into the air and started waving! It was so adorable that we sang her happy birthday more times than I cared to count. My heart was so full!


My Girl. 

Out of all of our children, Mara has been most ferociously a mommy’s girl. From the early days she would reach out and touch my face like she was trying to figure out if her and I were one. Whenever I walk into a room she lights up and squeals with delight. The first time Mara climbed the stairs, it was to get to me at the top of them. No one else will do but Mommy, and I have loved every single clingy second.

I will miss so much about baby Mara, and I am not ready to let her go just yet. Even though she grows older every day, I pray that she remains my special girl her entire life.

Small but fierce. 

Mara has her own, feisty personality and I can’t wait to see how it grows with her. She has learned how to take toys from her siblings and turn a fake cry into real tears when told, “don’t touch.” She knows exactly where the chocolate chips are in the pantry, and if I leave the door open for more than a second she crawls faster than lightning, grabs a bag and eats them!

There have been many occasions when Naomi has been sitting on my lap and Mara fake cries and then hits Namoi in the face or pulls her hair. It’s unreal, really. Of course we correct her unkind behavior {even at 1 she can learn to be nice to her siblings}. But little Miss Mara knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it, and I love that about her!

I always think of this song when I think of Mara. My sweet, beautiful wildflower who is going to bless the world with her beauty and grace.

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong somewhere close to me
Far away from your trouble and worries
You belong somewhere you feel free
You belong somewhere you feel free. -Tom Petty

A Year in Pictures

I’m sure there is so much more I am forgetting. But I will leave it here. Happy Birthday my sweet baby girl! We love you.


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1 Comment

  1. Love, love, love! Happy first birthday, Mara! I can definitely relate to your feelings, Laura. And, Aries babies are definitely fierce – our little Victoria loves hard and fights hard. Watch out! 🙂