One of the very best things about you is that you are completely incapable of withholding emotion from your face and I, as your mother, know your face better than anyone.  I have spent many an hour tracing the perfect little triangle of freckles on your right cheek and twirling my fingers in your perfect little ringlets. I wish I could have a flip book of all of your emotions, all the subtle little motions that make your face so expressive and so, so Addie.

It was homemade and still warm. From Ridge Inn in Laurelville, Ohio.

steel pony

If I were to pick one of the ten best days of your life, today would be at the very top of the list. I took a hundred photos of you today and as I look back over them my heart gets overwhelmed with gratitude that you’re mine. We both decided today was the BEST! DAY! EVER! and I’m going to go ahead and say that this year has been the best fall ever. These past four days are going to be locked away in my heart forever and a constant reminder of how magical fall can be rather than worrying about the dark and dreary days of winter looming nearby. You’re a lucky little kid, and I don’t say that in a “SO YOU’D BETTER APPRECIATE IT AND STOP WHINING” kind of way, you see, when you were first born I had no idea how to give you a good life. How to make you happy. I had no clue how much went into parenting and to be honest there was a time I wasn’t even sure I was ever going to be able to provide you with a memorable childhood. I did fun things as a kid with my parents, but whenever I look back on a lot of them there is the very obvious stain of my parent’s divorce on almost every single memory.

I loved camping with my mom, but my dad was never there.

I loved going to Snowbird resort with my dad, but my mom was never there.

You are at an age where the memories we make now as a family are most likely going to stick with you. Today as we rode horses through the Ohio hills I thought back to how much I adored horses at your age and how there was no better place in the world than on the back of a horse. To this day, there is a little kid inside of me who still loves horses with a furious passion, so to see the same adoration and love on your face? My heart skips a beat that I was able to be with you in that moment today.

she rode brown sugar

Epitome of joy.

Even the softspoken and quiet cowboy who led our ride kept turning around to comment on the smile plastered to your face, at one point he even said “You’re proof that every little girl belongs on the back of a horse!” Later in the day as you zip lined across a mountaintop, your guide mentioned “I’ve never heard a giggle as infectious as hers.

Dragonfly Zipline

Your infectious giggle and enormous smile are a part of me. We may have our struggles, but child, you are magnificent. I get to watch as every adorable, charming and strong willed part of you adds up to something even more marvelous each and everyday I get to spend as your mom.

Dragonfly Zipline

Some people will try and tell you that wearing your heart on your sleeve and every emotion on your face is a bad thing, and it can be if you are quick to offense or anger. But as you cultivate forgiveness, acceptance, patience and self confidence, your fierce and loving heart will bring you the very best of everything life has to offer. While it won’t always protect you from pain, it will allow you to truly appreciate the wonderful moments and blessings that come from difficulty.

my ladies and me

I love you baby.

-mama

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I’m so grateful to partner with Hallmark in 2012 on their “Life is a Special Occasion” campaign again and I thank them tremendously for their patience with me, supporting me in all that I do and for sponsoring this post. Life with my family is the most special occasion of all.

Comments

  1. This card carrying member of the heart-on-the-sleeve association is nodding. Not a one of us can escape pain, but oh the joy you open yourself up to when you keep your heart easily accessible.

    Thank you for sharing this most exceptional moment in time with us, but more so, for opening your beautiful life to others to see the reward of living and loving fully.

  2. i am also a feelings right out there kind of gal…and Eddie is just like his momma too. It’s fierce and it’s messy, but oh my word…

    this post makes my heart parts happy.

  3. holy sh*t this made me tear up and nod in agreement and love the ever loving crap out of your little girl whom I have never met.
    Your words run deep with this one.
    Sorry for an asterixed cuss.

  4. Hailey Stuckart says:

    This post is beautiful! And I adore it….and in fact think it should inspire a series of *Child you are magnificent* posts from bloggers. With my children’s birthdays recently past, and my need to still blog about it, I hope it’s okay that I use this title {I will link to you, no worries, and give you full credit}.

    Because this post is magnificent and it’s clear that not only is Addie magnificent {and Vivi too, of course}, but her mama as well. And she is not only lucky/blessed for all the reaasons you mentioned, but also because you see this in her.

    LOVE this!

  5. , words!

    kelli g Reply:

    @kelli g,

    Well what the deuce happened there? What I meant to say was…

    ::tears:: beautiful, beautiful words!

  6. <3

  7. Beautiful post. I never comment from my phone, but I couldn’t not on this one. Your family is so beautiful. Some day, your girls are going to be so grateful you’ve blogged your family’s story. I’m grateful to be reading it!
    On a more solemn note for a sec, I’ve always been a very emotional and expressive person. And my family never got it. I think sometimes that it makes them very uncomfortable. But there is simply no other way for me to be. Showing emotion is who I am. I’m happy you celebrate this in Addie.

  8. This is beautiful and inspirational. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Beautiful post and photos (wow!). I bet your daughter will read this post someday and think, Wow, my mom really knew me and cherished me just as I was.
    What a gift to her!

  10. And then Jen cried. WAAAAAH!

    She really is magnificent. This is one of my all-time favorite moosh posts. That picture of her spread-eagle on the zipline is pretty much the perfect image of happiness. How awesome that you could put all this into words!

  11. Congratulations. You made me cry. I didn’t expect it, but wow.
    That was SO beautifully written, and it’s something that you’ll have to look back at when Addie’s driving you up the wall. Something you can show her when she’s older and go “You’re always loved”

  12. That picture of Addie with her arms and legs flung wide – absolutely AMAZING. It looks like an ad for a “Live Your Best Life” seminar or something. But more awesome.

  13. Seeing some of these amazing photos on Instagram has been bringing a smile to my face. Her smile is just so infectious.
    But reading this, oh the love, so big and so precious.

    She is so, so magnificent.

  14. Oh I love her. Also I love her donut.

  15. beautiful, beautiful piece. (one every girl will want to read again, especially after the teenage years.)

  16. That is certainly one AMAZING smile…

    Enjoyed this post, about your sweet girl. :)

  17. This post makes me want to have kids so I can understand how this feels. Even without them it made me tear up. Casey, you are simply amazing, and I’m so glad that you are able to give Addie the life that obviously makes her so. darn. happy.

  18. Oh Casey, you always write the most beautiful things. Addie is so beautiful. And she will have so many wonderful childhood memories to recall, I just know it.

  19. Excuse me, I have something in my eye(s).

    This is so lovely, Casey.

  20. Loved this post!! Made me smile and smile…ok, a little tears too.

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