Finley and I were in the attic of the garage searching for something when she darted over to a pile of things.

“Mama!” she squealed, “Look at me right dere when you are holding me!” Her face is alight as she beams at a large photograph, her tiny finger touching the little form in my arms.

“Oh, honey, that’s Ave. You are right there,” I said pointing just beyond the figure to my stomach. The picture was taken about 6 weeks after we found out I was pregnant. “You were growing in my belly and I was smiling because we were so excited you were coming!”

Finley peered closer at the photograph, “Dat’s not me, dat’s Avery? I was in yours belly?” she asked incredulous. I forget that pregnancy isn’t commonplace for her. Babies in bellies sounds unbelievable, but as I watched her pore over the photograph of our favorite little park I realize the strangest aspect of this whole scenario is that she was not there.

Finley has, since the day we brought her home, been a part of us. We had our share of bumps (heartache) as we adjusted to life with three, but harmony arrived. She is changing every day, but no matter what we are doing, she is this perfect little curve, connecting us, the beginning and end all at once.

Joyous and emphatic, demanding and forgiving. Her spirit challenges me to be better, to listen more closely and to dream bigger than ever before. Two perfect little hands that have held my heart firmly and gently and that have guided me to places that allow me to grow—to love more, learn more and forgive more.

Selfishly, I am devastated that it’s been two years already, but at the same time, I am awed by the love we’ve lived in such a short time. I once said, “Finally Fin,” knowing you as I do now, I think it’s better said as, “Eternally Fin.” The impact you have had on our family has been more than we ever could have imagined. You are so fantastically you and there is nothing more I could have ever wished.

I can’t help but look at you. Happy birthday*.

*I’m late, but so were you 😉