Eleven years ago, this little creature entered my life.  This changeling child, with her little elfin ears, whose magic powers were relaxing us with her calm ways, causing us to fall asleep with her at any given time. She was the little princess, watched over by her siblings, who announced any time she was in distress, in case I didn’t hear her cries.  She was the fourth child, but our hopes and dreams and love for her was the same as with the other three who came before her.

She decided to be different.

Eleven years ago, our lives changed.  We just didn’t realize how much.

Our world has changed so much in the past eleven years.  But I’ve seen the best of things – the best of my marriage, the best of my husband, the best of my three older children, the best of people – because of this child.  This changeling girl who is a mystery and a wonder.  This girl who will always be my child, my shadow, yet has as much of an independent streak as the rest of my children.  Because of this girl, I’ve had my heart broken, my backbone grown stronger, my world turned upside down, my mental state shaken, and my voice more assured.

Eleven years ago, I thought I knew so much about motherhood.  I didn’t realize I had so much more to learn.

Looking back over these years, life has changed so much.  More than I thought it would eleven years ago.  I couldn’t have even imagined how much life would change for us when this little elfin girl entered our lives, the first to be born days after her due date.  The first to be born in an uneven year.  I joked that she broke the cycle, not knowing how true that would be.

It hasn’t been easy.  It would be lying to say it all was.  But Maura has always made it easier, with her happy attitude and ability to live in the moment.  She loves to love, still smiles with her whole face, and is always ready for a new adventure or to give you a big hug.

These past eleven years are not what I expected at the start of our journey.  They’ve been so much more, because of that little elfin baby who has grown into our wondergirl.

Maura on her First Communion
Maura on her First Communion