Today is the day they told us to expect your birth. Even though I doubted you'd be born on your due date (silly me, I thought you'd be late), this was the day we shared when people asked about you. This was the day fixed in my mind and in my prayers. Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. We celebrated this feast gloriously last year. We visited the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. We prayed for a baby. And at the end of every one of the many, many prayers we said, we asked it to be granted if it were "for the glory of God and the good of our souls." Oh, how good you've been for our souls! How much we love you, my dear sweet one. How many, many graces we've received since this day last year.
Our Lady made her presence known at your birth. And she was with us every day before and after that one. I am a pretty possessive mama in the first few weeks of all my babies' lives. With you, I've been even more so. I never imagined having six weeks to get to know you before your due date. You were so very tiny when I first held you. Truthfully, you didn't much want to be held in those first days and my heart broke while my arms were empty. I missed you so much! It seemed like an eternity, but it really wasn't long until we were inseparable again, just as we'd been when you were tucked up inside of me.
Only this way, I got to see your face. I got to follow the curve of your tiny ears with my fingers. I felt you wrap your little hands around my pinky.When I saw those fleeting little "angel smiles," I'm sure I caught a glimpse of dimples. I can hardly wait until you laugh for real. It's just now December and already you have imprinted yourself on my heart. Sarah, when I tell you that I held you for the first three weeks we were home, I mean that every single night, I slept with you draped across my chest, feeling your every breath and thanking God with every soft sigh and sweet whisper. I never put you down.
In the past week, I've relented and let some other folks hold you. After all, you have a whole host of brothers and sisters who have been waiting to inhale your goodness, too. We do some silly things around here. We sing you silly songs, all with made up lyrics. We dance with you. We take more pictures than the Hollywood paparazzi. The big kids download all your "favorite" songs from iTunes and make you your very own CD for the car. Who knew you had favorites? They swear this CD is the one to calm you. You don't go very far in the car. The doctors have warned us to keep you away from crowds. So, we drop off at ballet and soccer and basketball and church. You and I, we don't go inside. Instead, we hunker down at home together. The extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist come to visit every week. They prayed for you before you were born and they, too, are in awe of your newborn beauty. They have been so kind to us and it is such a joy to share you with them, however briefly, on Sunday mornings.
We won't go to the shrine today and it does make me sad. We cannot take the chance that there are germs there that would bring harm to your fragile lungs. I wish I could show you the mosaics, the statues, the chapel of the Miraculous Medal. I wish I could celebrate the Mass with you and hold you in that beautiful place where you were but a prayer last year. I wish we could go together and just say "thank you." Your Daddy will go for us. His heart is just as full as mine. It will spill over, no doubt, in that place we both love so much.
This is not your birthday, but I have a sense that this day--this glorious feast--will always be a very special one for you and me. I look forward to a lifetime of celebrating with you.