The first time I laid eyes on you, sweet girl, you were barely five minutes old.
Your mother lay exhausted from birthing you. Your father, overwhelmed with joy, just looked at you, telling you how beautiful you were.
And there you were, this tiny, crying thing. My heart swelled with joy as I looked at this brand new family that had not existed five minutes earlier.
As I tried to compose myself, I realized that with your arrival, I added another name to my already overflowing list. But it was one that I had waited a long time for.
With you, my baby sister became a mother.
And I became an aunt, for the first time.
And for the first time, I realized that although I had three children of my own, there were many things that I did not understand or know. There are many things you have taught me in your short two years.
You have taught me that you can love a child that you have not birthed as much as one you have. I never understood how your mother loved her nephews until you came along. There is nothing that you could ask for that I would not try to acquire for you. Since you came, I have never thought of you and your sister as my nieces. I have thought of you both as my own; part of my brood. My five kids; my three boys, my two girls.
You have taught me that girls can keep up with boys, and even boss them around as soon as they can hold up their heads. Your cousins; my sons, love you as though you were their sister. These boys never fail to do your bidding, and you never fail to follow in their footsteps, gazing up at them adoringly, wondering what fun they will come up with next.
You have taught me to love pink. Where I would once scoff at your mother for fawning over pretty dresses and amassing the world's largest collection of hair accessories, I find myself , all too often, shopping for you and your sister. I have become almost as bad as she is, and I am no longer ashamed.
You have taught me that girls react differently. That, even at birth, we are held in a different regard. We are delicate, we need protection, we need love. Even at this young age, you show a sensitive heart. Hopefully, you will know great happiness and that little heart will never know the pangs of unrequited first loves, broken friendships, angry words that can so easily leave us broken-hearted.
You have taught me to nurture the little girl that you are, empower the young woman that you will inevitably become. Even now, you show an incredibly strong will. You know what you want, and you can usually figure out how to get it. You are not afraid to speak your mind. I hope that as you get older, you never lose that sense of self, you never lose the words that help keep you standing on firm ground. I hope that you are stronger than your mother and I.
Dear Alexandra, two years ago, you arrived on this Earth and forever changed this family's corner.
You were the first little flower in my life.
Happy birthday, sweet girl!
I love you so dearly.