It's freezing cold today in Melbourne, with gusting rain, high chill winds, and a dark grey sky. Overnight, I woke several times to the wailing of the wind and the banging of undefined outside objects; I brought the shivering dog inside to sleep, checked many times on each of the children.
So it was that I was gazing at my firstborn girl's face at the exact 9-year anniversary of her birth (1:05am). I thought about how far we've come in that 9 years - the agony and the ecstasy, if you will. I thought about how different I am from the person who birthed this child, and how much parenting her, and her sisters after her, has changed me.
Happy 9th birthday, A, my love. You are a wonderful person, and I will never cease to be grateful for all the things you're teaching me on this journey, even the hard parts. I love you more than the whole world, and I always, always, will.