Happy Birthday sweet Reagan! I cannot believe it has been a year since we welcomed you into this world and laid eyes on you for the first time. You brought us so much joy in those brief moments! And when I think back, I remember it like it was yesterday. The labor pains are all a blur, but I remember how it felt to feel you kick for the first time, to see the joy on Daddy’s face when he felt it too. I remember what it was like to hold you for the first time, to see your precious face. And I remember what I felt when we laid you in that basket and said goodbye to you. And my heart continues to break. Time does not make this easier. I don’t think anything ever will. But today, on your birthday, I want to remember the good times.
The first time I felt your little flutter kicks we were on the way home from church. I was having a hard day, not feeling very well, and I think you knew that. And so you kicked as hard as you could. I didn’t feel you move again for a little while, but then I started feeling the butterflies more and more often. And Daddy finally felt them right before a Clemson game.
You loved your Tigers! We took you to 2 games and you helped the Tigers win in each of them. Every time you would get to kicking away at my bladder, the Tigers scored. Four out of four times! What a huge fan you were! We like to think you continue to watch the games from Heaven and cheer them on. And we are saving your special Clemson onesies for your future younger sisters so they can have something from you.
The day you were born was such a bittersweet day. Part of me didn’t want to believe it was true, I wanted to keep you inside of me and pray constantly God would bring you back. I made the doctors do a 3rd ultrasound just to be sure. And labor took so long, but I knew it was the last I would ever feel of you and I didn’t want it to end. But then it did, and I delivered you at 11:16 PM after the hardest day of my life. And you were just perfect. Absolutely perfect. You were the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. You looked just like us! I am still in shock when I look at my baby pictures just how much you looked like me. And it makes me smile. You had the most delicate, little features – eyes, cheekbones, chin – with the biggest pouty lips and longest eyelashes. So special. We fell in love with you in an instant, more than before. Seeing you just locked us in for life. I will always cherish our time together.
This past year has been so difficult. We continue to grieve what we are missing with you, though we know we will be together again. We welcomed your younger brothers into the world on June 29 this year. They were also little, but look huge compared to you. When I look at your footprints next to theirs, there is no comparison! They have such big boy feet! We are all home now after a long hospital stay. I know you have been praying for them and looking out for them, such a good big sister. We love having them home, but sometimes it is a painful reminder of what we didn’t get to do with you. And when everyone was excited for our family to be together again, we felt the emptiness of you not being here. Because we still don’t feel like our whole family is together again. But one day we will be again!
Not a day goes by that we don’t think of you. And we talk of you often, tell Warren and Dean all about you. We want them to grow up knowing they have a big sister. To always know that October 31 is YOUR day. And I want to celebrate your birthday each year. To try to think of the positives, to be happy for you and not sad for us. I want it to be spent planting flowers for you in your garden, visiting the last happy place you went in the mountains, setting loose purple balloons, and watching your video. We want to celebrate your life and all the joy your brought into ours. So today, on your very first birthday, that is exactly what we are doing. We love you so much baby girl!
Happy one year birthday Rea Rea! Mommy and Daddy love you so much!