By Elizabeth Shackouls
My precious children,
It’s hard to believe that this Saturday marks one year since we met. Exactly 365 days since I officially assumed the role as mama – the most challenging yet greatest job I have ever had, and the title I will always be the most proud to bare.
Although your daddy and I thought we took all the steps necessary prior to your arrival, nothing truly prepared me for the moment I met you both. On May 17, 2013 at 7:25 p.m. and again at 7:27 p.m., you entered the world and my heart immediately exploded into a million pieces.
Words cannot do justice in describing just how grateful I am God chose me to be your mom. You have changed my life in immeasurable ways and have undoubtedly made me a better person. You have taught me humility, selflessness and patience. Above all, I have learned the meaning of a mother’s love.
This has been the fastest and longest year of my life. Some days never seemed to end, but now it seems as though it has gone by in a flash. I hardly recognize the 5 and 6 pound infants in the newborn photos. It’s crazy to see just how much you’ve grown in size and in personality in such a short time period.
My favorite memories and moments with you are endless but the one that pulls at my heartstrings over and over again is the time I spend outside your nursery door each morning. I just stand there and listen to the two of you “talk.” The cooing, babbling and laughing literally melts my heart. After several seconds I open the door and am always greeted by the biggest smiles. No matter if one of you is sick or hasn’t slept a wink, in those first moments the exchange of adoration and pure happiness is all that is felt (then usually the screaming ensues). And the way you interact with each other is so special. I’m thrilled you both will always have such a unique bond.
The day you were born will always be the best day of my life. Life truly gets better every second you’re here. The road to the one year milestone certainly hasn’t been easy, but I can honestly say it has been wonderful. That’s the thing about motherhood. As difficult as it is, the good far outweighs the hard parts and the challenges are nothing compared to the rewards.
I know the day will come when you roll your eyes behind my back and my overall existence, especially in public, will make you shutter with embarrassment. So I am soaking up every minute of each new stage because I know it won’t last forever. I will use the memories of you needing me, crying for me and actually wanting my kisses for the teenage years when you’ll likely not want much to do with me. But now, and forever more, I will make sure you know and feel just how fiercely you are loved and how honored I am to be your mama.
As your first birthday approaches, I have been left wondering not only how it is even possible for time to pass by so quickly, but what it is I want for you in life. There are many things I look forward to teaching and showing you, and endless dreams I hold for you both. First and foremost, I wish you happiness. I want you to always focus on your blessings and recognize the goodness that surrounds you. Even in the midst of tragedy and heartbreak, learn to find the silver lining. I want you to be open-minded, adventurous, and learn to say “yes” more often than not. Be brave and strong and free. Be compassionate and ever mindful of the needs of others. Keep your hearts wide open. And on the days when this great big world makes you feel small, be calm and still. Remember the values instilled in you and the strength of your roots. These alone will allow you to stretch far.
So, my sweet babies, I want you to go into the world and let your little lights shine. And always remember you are loved and blessed and the littlest ones that ever stole my heart.
All my love forever and always,