Today my middle child, Ila Waters, turned five years old. I remember her pregnancy and birth so vividly. I loved being pregnant with her. At the time we had another little baby named Ruth and we were blissfully unaware how difficult it would be to have two babies at the same time.

Ila arrived on a chilly October afternoon with a shrill, yet adorable baby cry. She was on time, tiny, and strong. For as small as she was, she effortlessly put on ounces those first few months of life.

Her favorite place to sleep was on my chest. It felt like we spent the better part of the year this way. Steeped in postpartum depression and yet so in love, I was both in a haze of sadness and pure elation because, as I know now, no one does excitement and fun better than Ila. I believe she kept me stable during this time since she gives off the most positive energy I’ve ever received from a person.

After lots of Jesus and therapy, I saw Ila for the first time in her second year of life. Once the PPD subsided I realized in the middle of it all, my second child was teaching me how to laugh more. She was teaching me how to smile at seemingly ordinary things. She was teaching me how childlike faith and wonderment did not stop when you reach adulthood.

I truly believe Ila is in this world to demonstrate God’s joy. Ila, you continue to teach me little things count. You continue to teach me to see the good in others. You continue to teach me why things are beautiful. Thank you for being the best shopping, reading, and movie watching buddy. I love you higher than the sky, bug! Happy Birthday.

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