It feels strange to refer to you as Abigail. Though we picked this beautiful name for you, it is hard to think of you as anything but our spunky, spirited Abby. Some day you may grow into your strong, sophisticated given name. You may not, as I am still just Jennie, rarely Jennifer. It simply suits me better, as does Abby for you.
Before you were born, I could tell you were going to be different from Ben. While I carried you, you never (EVER) stopped wiggling around. You were strong and feisty, even in my womb, punching and kicking. When you heard an unexpected noise, it felt like you were going to jump right out of my bulging tummy.
Your delivery was different too. When I was finally able to push you out, we realized it was a longer, more difficult delivery because you came out face up. You wanted the world to see your face. You wanted to see the world. You came out sunny-side up because you are our little sunshine, complete with a head full of blond hair from the get go.
You came out frustrated too, but in a different way than your big brother. You have always just been ready to go. You shattered all of Ben's (impressive) mobility records, taking your first steps a week shy of 8 months. You were a mobile phenomenon. People would look at your tiny little body running (never walking) around and just laugh. They couldn't believe it. And yet, having spent those intimate nine months carrying you, I could. You are a mover. That's just a fact.
There are a lot of other things that define you aside from your incredible gross motor skills. Above all else, there is your zeal for life. You find fun in every single thing you do. When you do something, you delve into it wholeheartedly, so much so that it might seem reckless to the casual observer. What they call recklessness, I call passion. You have two speeds, full throttle and asleep. And even up to the minute you fall asleep, you are in motion. Perpetual Motion. When it comes time to create an email address, you might consider using that one (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You are the most loving, affectionate child I've ever met. You never run out of hugs and kisses. Sometimes, you give out "princess kisses" which (I'm afraid) last a little longer than most people feel comfortable sustaining a kiss with a three year old. (Thanks go to Disney for teaching you how to make out with people.) You can brighten up a bad day with one flash of your smile and a full speed run - crash into the legs - turned into a hug.
You are endlessly silly, which provides a nice contrast to your big brother's intensity. It's the perfect complement. You help him be silly, and he helps ground you. (Not that there's anything wrong with floating about whimsically.) You do the most spectacularly funny things, but never on purpose or for the benefit of an audience. You are just you. Silly Abby. And we are so grateful for your antics and off-the-wall statements. You bring levity to our family. You are our constant reminder that life is fun. And you can find fun in anything, whether it's stealing and redistributing the pacifiers in the baby room at school, shaking a stick of a tree during Ben's soccer practice, filling up a cup of water at my office, or suddenly referring to me exclusively as "Momma" instead of "Mommy" with a mischievous grin and a twinkle in your eye because you know it drives me crazy.
We had a solid two years and seven months of Abby time before you became a big sister. We weren't too worried about you filling the role, as you have always favored caring for and playing with your baby dolls above all other toys. Despite our limited concerns, there was almost no jealousy when Sarah joined the ranks of little Sheps. You were in love with her, just like Ben was in love with you when you were born. You are endlessly affectionate with little Sarah, and I'm not entirely sure she appreciates that. I also fear what will happen when she outweighs you (in brawn at least). You might be safe, as I'm not sure she'll measure up to your spunk.
One of the most interesting things about you is that you are a wild card. While you seem predictable on the surface, you go and do something that completely contradicts the apparent Abby mold. You are fearless when it comes to the ocean, swimming, animals, and climbing. Yet you turn timid at the first crack of thunder, loud trucks, and when faced with being in high places. The unpredictability is all part of your charm. A unique blend of randomness that all mixed up together creates you, Abby. There is no one in the world quite like you.
I don't mean to compare you to Ben, and if I do that often, I sincerely apologize. You are two unbelievably different, equally special children. You taught me the invaluable lesson that a mother's love never divides, that it multiplies. You have taught me that life isn't always so serious. You've taught me that there is always time for a hug and a smile. You have also taught me that the candy and sweets need to be kept on a high shelf in a locked pantry (and if you care to share the secret how you can eat all of that and maintain your figure, we could be rich).
Thank you for being you, my little Abby. I am blessed to call you my daughter. You are an eternal bright spot in a world full of shadows. And I so look forward to continuing to watch you light up this life!
Love you forever,
(There, I said it.)
Stay tuned for an introduction to Shep 3, also known as Sarah. In case you missed yesterday, here's Ben.