When I look back on it, I have to think that you knew exactly how you wanted to make your presence known- on the evening of your big sister's 4th birthday, a mere 90 minutes away from the big family party when I had just dared to get my hopes up, just one more time. I had decided that there was absolutely no way I could be pregnant (especially with the, um, crazy timing of that month, and the fact that we had already decided we should just put the "TTC" on hold until the following year. Maybe indefinitely).
And as the second pink line turned darker, and darker still....suddenly, a tornado warning. A legitimate, phone-alert, kids-screaming, go-and-take-shelter-in-an-inner-room warning. Ironically, the shock of you was still in full effect while golf-ball sized hail fell outside and I did my best to console your brother and sister in the dark stairway of our basement.
If that was a sign, well, you were a force to be reckoned with. Even then.
Of course, the minute I told Eeeya (Ella) that you were growing in my belly- a few weeks later- she called it: "Oh, Mommy! I know it's a girl!" She never wavered on that. Since then, I've come to trust her intuition on matters with you, almost like I do my own. She loves you so fiercely, it takes my breath. And Milo? Like any middle child, he had every reason to be wary and jealous, but when I watched him hold you that very first time, it's like he knew inherently that his role had shifted. I never had to say it. I spent so many months worrying that he would somehow feel less loved, and then I saw how much he loved you. Unconditionally. He decorated the house for you tonight after we put you to bed. (Just pretend that the spatula taped to the cabinet and the dangling potholders are birthday decor, okay? Because, boys.)
And oh, are you a Daddy's girl. I remember the way the two of you would lock eyes in those first few days, and how you would "talk" to him with those exquisite eyebrows of yours. Even now, there's something about the way you drop everything and run to him when he walks in the door from work that makes me catch my breath. I'll never forget his reaction when I told him I was pregnant with you. He was so stunned and excited (but mostly stunned), that the only word he said for the following three hours was "wow." His eyes even glazed over a bit (you know, from the excitement).
Two years later, you're still providing the wow factor in this house- some days, on an hourly basis. Like when we walk into the dining room and find you standing on the table reaching for the chandelier. Or when I catch you with your hands in the toilet. Or the pterodactyl-like screeches that I'm certain can be heard by our neighbors across the street. It's your calling card, baby. From day one, you have always been about the shock effect (even down to the last-minute change of plans with my scheduled c-section). You keep me on my toes- and in doing so- you hold me accountable for every moment I'm with you. It's almost like you're reminding me how much I had once hoped for you, how I had almost given up on the idea of you.
Four is nice. It's even. It makes sense on paper. For us, it was man-to-man defense.
But, as it turns out, five is our number. You completed our family in all of the feisty, free-spirited, funny ways that we never knew we were missing. Love you always, Ollie-girl!!