Dear Beautiful Girl - Girl of Cardigan

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee…

Dear Beautiful Girl-

When I was a little girl, all I wanted to be was a mother.  My friends dreamed of becoming super models and doctors and actors and firefighters, and I dreamed about babies.  Though mommyhood was a cute aspiration when I was a carefree kiddo, my homemaker leanings proved problematic as I entered high school, college, young adulthood – how do you study and prepare for raising a child?  How do you justify “stay at home mom” as a career goal in the 1990s, when everyone and everything is telling you what a special snowflake you are and how you should probably take over the world or at least start your own company?  How do you set into motion a life plan that is dependent upon the presence of other people, one of whom will have to fall in love with you and the other still only a recurring figment of your wistful daydreaming?

Nobody majors in motherhood anymore.

Dear Beautiful Girl- 525,600 Minutes - Girl of Cardigan

In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife…

A year ago this Sunday, you arrived, bold and strong and silent and wide-eyed, and made me into the very thing I’d always wanted to be: your mother.  I have not fallen gracefully into this, the occupation of my lifelong dreaming – I have clawed my way out of bed at odd hours, wept frustrated tears with you on long and cooped-up days, found myself running short of the energy you so innocently require of me, and somehow stumbled through each of these fivehundredtwentyfivethousandsixhundred minutes by the grace of a good God, with the help of our extraordinary village, and in no small part due to the blessedholyconstant presence of caffeine.  I have learned the reality of my selfishness and felt the limits of physical exhaustion.  Through wise council and some seriously good hugs, I’ve managed to steadily apply compassion to the parts of me that fail at perfection every single day.  I am only imperfect me, and I will only be able to give you an imperfect childhood, but oh, my love, I will give it to you with all my heart.

Dear Beautiful Girl- 525,600 Minutes - Girl of Cardigan

How do you measure a year in the life…

I have loved you from the moment I knew you would be, from the first time I said your name, from the minute I pulled your slippery body into the air and the light, from so very long before then.

I loved you those long first weeks when we slept little and snuggled often, when feeding you was so incredibly impossibly hard, when we would stare at each other for strings of hours in wonder and terror and awe.

Dear Beautiful Girl- 525,600 Minutes - Girl of Cardigan

I loved you as you finally ate, finally grew, finally became my girl who laughs and grabs and watches and grins.  I have loved exploring this place with you bundled to my chest, on my back, at my hip, by my side.

I have loved you in skies and on roadtrips and through every first everything and will love you through so many firsts to come.

I have loved watching you become yourself, in minutes, in inches, in miles – watching your tiny beautiful face come alive with the fullness of your person has been the greatest privilege of my life.

Dear Beautiful Girl- 525,600 Minutes - Girl of Cardigan

I have loved every word of every damn repetitive book and song and the endless “You’ve Got a Friend in Me-ing” and the two thousand times we’ve exclaimed our undying love for your ridiculously perfect toes.

I have loved you on our worst days, as much as I have loved anything, probably more.

Dear Beautiful Girl- 525,600 Minutes - Girl of Cardigan

In truths that she learned, or in times that he cried…

I thought I understood things before you, things like  gratitude and discipline and tired and parenthood.  But your being has added an angle to the world that simply wasn’t before you, new shadows, new edges to all of my understandings.  Everything is deeper, everything is more complicated, everything is so much better, seeing it with you.  I thought I knew your Daddo before there was you, but to watch him love you has changed the way I love him into something so much more permanent and fundamental and true.  You are such a gift, tiny fantastic you.

Dear Beautiful Girl- 525,600 Minutes - Girl of Cardigan

It’s time now, to sing out, for the story never ends…

Happy Birthday to you, my most beautiful girl.  I have loved every minute of your first year on earth, and I promise you that I will love every minute of every year with you that follows, even the hardest minutes, the angriest, the bleakest.  You and I will continue to work our way through our imperfect days – we will rely on grace, we will cling to each other, we will celebrate.

We will measure, always always always, in love. 

Dear Beautiful Girl- 525,600 Minutes - Girl of Cardigan

Thank you for making me into what I always wanted to be, beautiful girl.  I am so grateful, today and all days, to be your mama.

Happy, happy birthday, baby.  It’s time now to sing.

Girl of Cardigan

A note to you, reader: Some day, our girl will come back and read these letters – I’d love for her to know the names of the friends and strangers who have journeyed with her this first year.  Now is the moment to let us know you’re here!  Please leave your wishes for Fabes in the comment section below, so I can share them with her, as I have shared her with you.  

photography by the incomparable Shannon Hannon Photography.
  • Tom Serface October 31, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Happy birthday Fable! I can’t wait to see you tomorrow. You are a joy beyond measure. We love you… of course… how could we not?

  • Jen (Taylor) Christenson October 31, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Happy Birthday sweet Fable. I loved watching you grow in your mama’s belly and sometimes when I look at pictures from my wedding day and rehersal, I spot you there, with your mama, that little bitty bump that was you growing inside her, and I smile with such joy it almost brings tears…for the blessings and redemption and love of God that is revealed in the gift of your life. And now here you are, 1 year old, so beautiful, so loved, and such a giver of joy. May God continue to shine on you, little Fable, as you live and grow loved by Him. ~ Jen 🙂

  • shannon October 31, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Gah, so beautiful! Happy birthday Miss Fable Genevieve!

  • Amy F. October 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Fable, I have enjoyed watching you grow throughout your time coming to the nursery. At first you were unsure about us (after all we are not your parents) but after some time went by you grew to enjoy (or maybe even love) the nursery 🙂 Your sweet smile, love of books and colors, and obvious joy in life is a pleasure to be a small part of.

  • Jessica October 31, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Happy Birthday Fable! I have loved your stories and watching you grow, even from afar. I look forward to the day when you and my Lily get to play together. 🙂

  • Laura Thurston October 31, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Faby baby, I have loved every moment of being your Oma. You are a special girl and have wonderful parents who wish only the best for you and share you with others who feel the same. love and bunches of kisses, OMA

  • Janice Christman October 31, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Fable, I have not had the pleasure of meeting you in person, but, I feel I know you! Your wonderful Mom has shared you with us through her terrific blog! I wish you a wonderful 1st. Birthday and cannot wait to meet you one day! Thank you for being in this world, you make it a better place!

  • Jan Figone October 31, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Dear Fable. You are so incredibly blessed to have a Mommy and Daddy and Grandparents and Aunties and Uncles and Friends that love you so much! God has made you unique and I am enjoying your story, as it unfolds!

    Jan Figone

  • Sarah Haven October 31, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Happy First Birthday, Fable, from Sarah and Fox Haven!

  • Laura Kreger October 31, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Fable. I am glad you are alive. You’ve learned so much in your first trip around the sun! Big, exciting things like smiling and crawling and how to be loved. I hope you never forget.

    Love, Laura

  • Lori Wat October 31, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I am an unknown friend who enjoys your mother’s writing from afar. Have a most wonderful birthday (and birthdays to come)

  • Kailani Joy October 31, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    What a gift you are creating for beautiful faby baby 🙂 you, my sweet friend, are an amazing presence on this earth – what a joy it has been to watch you grow, transform and take flight to be such an epically awesome mama. Fable, you are so beyond loved and will continue to be supported, celebrated, and en-joyed – what a blessing, this thing called love. pretty. darn. neat. Love, Kai.

  • Judy Serface October 31, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Dearest Fable. Thank you for teaching me the immeasurable joy of being a grandma this past year. So much to love – like how you don’t just smile with your mouth, or even your face, but with your whole being; or that irresistible, pleading, innocent look on your face as you hold a book out to be read again, and again, and again; watching you express the wonder of learning new things and the matter-of-factness of doing the repeated things you love; and that crazy curl on top of your head (some days), just to name a few. So much to be grateful for – for you being precious you, for your wonderful parents, for such a perfect answer to my daughter’s dreams. Happy First Birthday sweet girl! Love, Grandma

  • Cindy Cooper November 1, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Happiest happy birthday, Fable! I so wish I was able to see your first year in person, but am so glad your mom is such a wonderful writer. I’ve loved watching you grow in pictures, and feel I know you a little, at least. I hope I get to meet you in person some day soon (one of these days I will again drive to visit my sister and niece and great-niece on Camano Island and maybe can drop in on you and your parents), but until then I will just love you all from afar! Many, many blessings.

  • Haley November 1, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Happiest Birthday sweet Fable girl! What a joy it is to have known you in this first year of your life. Walks in summertime and coffee on a rainy Spring day, those times of you eating my face, or wrapped up tight against your mama as we talk through what it means to live and love have brought such joy to my life. Already you are FULL of life, bursting with wonder and joy as you begin to explore more of what this world around you has to offer. Here is to the years to come, lovely Fable, may they be full to bursting with joy and blessing and love.

  • Kelley November 3, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Happy Birthday Beautiful Fable! This blog made me cry it was so incredibly sweet!

  • Erin Rupp November 3, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Happy Birthday Sweet Girl. I have adored watching you grow up through your Mommy’s sharing, thank you for being such an amazing girl, for making your Mommy’s dreams come true, and for blessing us all with your presence. I pray for many more happy, wonder filled years for you Precious One.

  • Franci November 3, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Happy Birthday Fable! You are loved:). What a joy to watch you grow this year through your mamas beautiful words. Wishing you all a wonderful celebration and blessings on this next year of life. It holds many more wonders!
    Love, The Carter Fam

  • Melissa November 3, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Happiest of birthdays sweet Fable! It has been fun to watch you grow from a tiny baby into a big one year old girl! You are blessed!

  • Debbie Amable Chunn November 3, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Happy, happy first birthday, dear Fable. You are very blessed to be surrounded by so much love and unselfishness. Those of us who are fortunate to know your extended family know deep down in our hearts how treasured you are. I got to meet you when you were only a couple of months old. I have a little granddaughter who is just a little bit older than you, and I know the joy she brings to my life. It’s the same joy you bring to your family. May God bless and keep you always.

  • Ali Peters November 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I do not have a way with words like your mama does, Fabes, but I will do my best. I was so excited about you when you were first started and that excitement and love has only grown this past first year of yours. You only come to California a couple times every 12 months, but we are sure happy to see you when you do! You are such a joy to have in our family and I cannot wait to get to know you better as time passes, you get older, and things change. Happy first birthday, little tiny one. Come see us again soon!

  • Great Grandfather Verle Serface November 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I like everyone else have watched and read everything that has been posted on face book and I agree with everything everybody has posted regarding your first year. I now have 2 Great Grand Daughters but you are the only one I really know.

    Lots of love and a great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY FABE.

    great gRANDPA Verle

  • Great Grandfather Verle Serface November 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    IIi I agree with all the other people who have commented on your first Birthday. I have read every blog that has been posted on face book by everyone concerning you and Chuck has kept them all. Have a very Happy Birthday and I am looking forward to many more
    Love to my fabulous # 2 Great Grand Daughter.

    Great Grand Father Verle

  • Kellie Nickels November 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Happy happy birthday, sweet Fable!!!

  • Tiffany Joy November 3, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Fabie baby. I was lucky enough to know your mommy when we were little girls and I can attest to the fact that she dreamed you up a long time ago… in poems, songs and shooting stars. you are pure sunshine and the truest realization of agape love. I love watching you grow through your mama’s beautiful words and I will always love and admire you and your mama with all of my heart. Happy birthday, and happy everyday!!!

  • Rachel Davis November 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Happy Birthday, Fable! I am not good with words like your Mommy is, but I am happy to know that you are in this world.

  • Kelsey November 11, 2013 at 6:12 am

    This post made me cry. I couldn’t even finish reading, but I’ll come back later and try! What a beautiful way to honor your baby’s first year, and your first year as a mommy!

    • karyn November 11, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      You should have seen me trying to write it… phewf. Thank you so much, Kelsey!

  • Holly November 11, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    This is the most beautiful thing I have ever read. I cannot stop crying, the happiest tears ever, and it is literally everything I have ever wanted to tell my daughter- who turned one on November 5th. Oh my gosh, I just can’t get over this. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this.
    Oh, and the whole “I have loved you on our worst days, as much as I have loved anything, probably more.” Talk about an utter breakdown. My husband thought something terrible had happened.
    You are so talented with you words, looking forward to reading more- and Congrats on your publication on Huffington 🙂

    • karyn November 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      We should probably get together and have a good cry, because now I’m all teary, and this whole thing is getting out of control. I love this comment so much – it will be precious to me for a good long while. Thank you.

  • Zanda November 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Happy Birthday Fable! Your Mommy writes beautifully inspiring. I love reading her blog all the way from South Africa. Many Blessings!