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Happy birthday Hope

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Today a very special person turns 17 – one of my beautiful little sisters – Hope.

I had the privilege of being able to witness her birth. I was only 14 myself but I knew that I had witnessed a miracle. I remember exactly how she looked the moment I first saw her face. I remember the thrill of being invited to cut the umbilical cord. I went with the doctor for the quick examination they do and got to pick out a knitted hat and hold her when she was only minutes old. That was one of the best moments of my life. And birth IS a miracle indeed.

I often had the privilege of putting her to bed with a stuffed animal we called “Bunnykins” and I sang Brahms lullaby to her every night that I put her to bed – a song that became known as the “mmm hmmm” song because I would hum it. I was part of her early formation in so many ways, including helping homeschool her.

Fourteen years between us meant that I was more like a second mother to her. But she called me her best friend. She has always been special to me. The others are special to in their own way. But there is something about being able to witness a birth that makes that relationship different than with others. I saw her before she took her first breath on her own. I heard her first cry. I severed the life source that separated her from my mother and left her as an individual person.

I’m coming up on a decade since I left home. And those who have travelled with me that entire 10 years will know that it’s been a rocky one. I don’t see my siblings. But every day I yearn to be a part of their lives and have them apart of mine.

I don’t normally name my family. But I name Hope in part because she has one of the most beautiful names ever. But more importantly, I have witnessed countless ways in which she lives into her name. One such time was her embracing me and letting me say to her that I love her and am always here for her.

Nothing’s changed. Dearest Hope – I love you and am always here for you. Today, tomorrow and in the days, months, years ahead. Happy birthday dear one.

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