Eliza, my littlest and last baby, turned two yesterday. She is officially a toddler and running full speed ahead leaving her (and my) baby days further behind with each lackadaisical step while I am left standing in the spot where so many parents stand each year wondering: where the time has gone?!

It’s been two years since I met Eliza. I still can’t believe she’s mine or remember how I was able to breathe without her. Two years since she blessed our lives and captured our hearts. Our family has found a new kind of love.

The first year was anything but easy. From medical setbacks to family dynamics we’ve had tough times and I freely admit, there were moments, like I never experienced before, when I was so overwhelmed, anxious, and scared. I was always thankful for what I had and I fought like hell to be able to enjoy it and really live it along side my awesome boys and adorable baby girl.

Getting a clean bill of health 6 weeks post partum
Feeling vulnerable and asking for support
Finding quiet moments with Noah, Zachary, and Eliza
Challenging myself to build back my confidence
Letting go of perfection
Remembering who I am

And now? I couldn’t be more proud of where we are and how far we’ve come. What a fantastic feeling of strength to know that we did it together and for each other – the littlest of us without even realizing. My six year old is a natural role model who is beginning to find his voice – such a kind and thoughtful voice. My four year old has instincts that go unmatched – always knowing the right moment to whisper an unsolicited “I love you, Mommy. So much.” And my sweet baby has taught all four of us to find more patience, to be more peaceful, and to speak more softly.

My Matt, who has been by my side, through the years and through it all, never balked at a new twist or turn on this journey that is fatherhood, never questioned his obligation to be brave on our behalf. I don’t know that he ever imagined how heavy the weight on his shoulders would be, but he is a shining example of what unassuming power looks like, especially during those first demanding 12 months.

So this year on my daughter’s birthday, I celebrate Eliza, who has made my heart soar and completed our family. A little girl who is quick to smile and always has cuddles to spare. My little Lu Lu who is the sunshine to so many. I thank her for being by my side and always loving me even when I found myself almost unlovable. I celebrate this itty bitty angel and I celebrate our family – where we’ve been and where we’re going. Together. For Always.