It’s hard to imagine that a year ago today, I met Valerie for the first time. On that day, our town was enveloped in snow and ice, but I was warm inside the recovery room, holding my precious gift. What a tiny thing she was, too, just over six pounds. She was so tiny that her exquisite little earlobes weren’t even fully developed; they were fragile, paper-thin lobes that I couldn’t stop marveling at and caressing.
You may remember that dear Valerie was quite a surprise for her father and me! You may also remember that the pregnancy was difficult from start to finish. Literally. I was sick every day and it just got worse as the pregnancy progressed. I had a terrible time with my doctors and nurses and even switched offices halfway through the pregnancy.
I felt nervous giving birth for the third time and nervous at the idea of being in charge of three children! How would I ever be able to do it? Especially with George’s fishing schedule? You may remember that while George made it for the birth, he left two days afterwards and only saw Valerie a couple of times in the following five months. This is not something he felt in any way happy about, but that’s the way it was.
There is a specific reason I chose “Joy” as Valerie’s middle name. I wanted to immediately turn the tide from a difficult pregnancy, and set an optimistic and positive path going forward. I’m here to tell you, a year later, that the name Joy perfectly captures the essence of who Valerie is and what our year together has been like.
I do not have any idea what I’d do without my baby girl. She slept with me every night for her first six months of life, because I couldn’t let her go. I wanted her with me, to stare at her and give her kisses and feel her breath. She sleeps in her own crib now, but I still carry her everywhere in the house and outside of it, giving her kisses. She brings me so much joy with her ready smile, her cute little laugh, and how easy she is to pacify. She is such a pleasant baby, full of love and cheer.
She’s also the light of her siblings’ lives; you’ll see in this photo gallery how very much they love her, packing her around and playing all day long.
George and I were truly blessed by little Valerie Joy’s arrival. I know it’s a cliché, but we truly were and are blessed. She is a baby who clearly wanted to be born, who wanted so much to join our family and enjoy life as the youngest little angel in each of our lives.
I love you, Valerie Joy! Happy First Birthday!