Early on when Amelia was a baby, I remember pausing for a few moments and looking at a few pictures of her as well as some old baby pictures of Hannah. At that moment, it was so easy to look back and see how the Hannah in those baby pictures correlated to the Hannah that was right in front of me in living color. “She always smiled like that when she was happy”, “she always tilts her head like that when taking pictures”, “even back as a baby she was always content to sit and play with whatever was in front of her”, and so many other thoughts came flooding over me. Even though she was only 4, it was like I had always known her and what she was about.
Despite already being a few months old, that day I felt like Amelia was a blank slate. I didn’t really know who she was. Who was she going to become? At what point would I be able to look back and say “she has always done that”? What would I think about those same pictures later on? I can’t pretend just a few years later that I have all of the answers, but Amelia is definitely not a blank slate anymore. She has certainly filled my memory and my soul with a great many shades of vibrant colors. And she is most certainly ‘spirited’.
Often times we use that word, ‘spirited’, as something of a joke. A nice way to say that Amelia is angry a lot. But to be honest, this past year has really shown me how true that description is for Amelia. With most everything she does, she puts her whole spirit into it. There are so many moments of pure, unabashed joy. Running to the bus stop in the morning at full speed after her beloved sister. Eyes getting so wide when she realizes that it is gymnastic day or ” ‘Jama Day!” To be certain, she also puts her all into throwing giant fits and crying at the top of her lungs wen things don’t go her way, as they often don’t when you are three years old.
But I think my favorite part of the past year has been really watching her personality unfold and watching her interact with the world around her, especially when she thinks I am not paying attention. Having her dolls and Sesame Street figures talk to each other and sing each other songs, not to mention give each other kisses and hugs. The way that she plays out real life issues and struggles via her dolls. At this point it has been a few months since Amelia has had to be put in time-out for hitting me, Susie or Hannah, but I have lost count of how many times recently that Amelia has put one of her babies (always the same one) in time-out for hitting.
Half of the time before bed, she tries to read me the story instead of the other way around. She can’t actually read, but watching her look at the pictures and try to recreate her version of the story from those visuals plus what she remembers hearing is fascinating to me. I can literally see the wheels of her mind turning and picking up new skills every day. It has been a thrill to watch her realize that “I bigger now!” (just like her older sister, a few years back) and to have her be able to not only sing songs and request songs by name that she has heard on the radio, but remember that a certain song is my latest favorite (“Daddy, its your HAM!”)
The past year has been such a whirlwind of an adventure and like any good roller coaster, it has had its ups and its downs. But I wouldn’t trade this ride for any other ride in the world. The best part of all is that it has only just begun. And while I still don’t know exactly what the future holds for this ride, I have a much better idea of the possibilities and I am invigorated.
Below is the ever famous “birthday video” that we put together for each of our children every year. With the death of Apple’s Mobile Me, they need a new home, so here they will live on my blog! Enjoy!