You are JOY. When someone tries to define the word they can see your smiling face. Your daddy and I believe it’s because, in those first few days of your life, you got to sit in the lap of Jesus and let him hold you while we couldn’t. I believe that you have a special angel who walks you through life and God has allowed you a perspective that only He can give. The rest of us see so much bad in this world, but not you my little girl, you only see the happy things. I thought of this today when you were getting a shot (ironically a meningitis vaccine) and you only flinched. A few hours earlier Jonathan got shots and he cried and carried on, but not you, you are strong in the face of anything. We’ve heard it said that so little can affect you after all that you have already been through in your 5 short years, but either way, it is a blessing. I often read about special needs children who can’t find comfort, and I’m so grateful for the unending joy that you have every day…it’s often you who will get me through the rough times, instead of me helping you. Well, maybe we help each other. You are beautiful, yes on the inside, but that shines right through to your outside. People often say that you resemble me as a child, so maybe I was cute too, but there is something so special about you to everyone you meet. I hear the phrases “look at those curls!”, “you have the most beautiful eyes”, and “wow, you are just so pretty” on a daily basis. Sometimes it is funny how many people will stop us and comment on you, but we know that it’s God shining through you. It’s funny that your head actually measures very small (they call it microcephaly) but no one would know for the head full of beautiful curls on your head…see, God really does take care of the little things. You challenge me. I have never looked at my faith the same since the day you were born. It’s funny, but I have often felt that I don’t deserve you. That someone could have done better or would be more equipped to handle all of the challenges, but then I realize that God made me so specifically to be your mother. Oh Ella, had I known that I would get a gift like you it could have changed who I was in life, but God knew all of this and here we are…you and me. It’s not easy. Most days are just our “normal” but there is at least a few times in a week that I realize my life is so different from so many people around me. My life consists of the words: therapy, brain development, seizures, wheelchair, handicapped accessible, aspiration, and all of the terminology that I never knew I never wanted to know…proprioceptive…and I say those words a lot. I have been asked at least once or twice if I’m a nurse because of the lingo that I can speak when talking about you, but I just laugh, since I barely went to college. You are a gift. A true gift for more reasons than I can list, because I think I don’t even know most of the reasons yet. You have caused me to admire and love your father more than I thought possible. Do you know how much that man loves you? He has prayed for you without ceasing and he believes in you (he also never gets mad at you or disciplines you, even when you are totally misbehaving!) You will make your brothers stop and think about everything in a different light than their friends, and I hope that they are better men for being your brothers. Mostly you are just love. You make my ability to love increase in ways I didn’t think were possible. You have the knack for causing random people to fall in love with you without saying a word. You are my perfection in this imperfect and sinful world. Oh, you have a sin nature; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We do pray that one day you will come to know who God is in your life here on Earth and that you will have the realization that you are a sinner, in need of a Savior. That you will know how important the life, and death, of Jesus were for all of us…and that you will accept His free gift. We want so much for you sweet child. For now, we will enjoy every day that God has given us as your parents, and pray that we do the very best that God has called us to do.