When we found out we were pregnant with our second child, we waited until the birth to find out if it was going to be a boy or a girl. Therefore, this little one's arrival was greatly anticipated because the birth day was going to be a surprise party as well. We already had one sweet little girl, and if I had another, that would have been just fine with me. When Ella popped out (Marty says there's no "popping" involved in child birth), I was so happy to be the daddy of another daughter.
A month and a half after she was born, Ella and I were in a play together for our church's Christmas Eve service. I played a new dad and she played my brand new baby boy! In the monologue I recited lines from a memorized script that talked about hopes and dreams for the little one in my arms, plans to protect and teach and provide for, and a strong desire for this kid to know God as the heavenly Father He is. As I rocked in the chair saying my lines, I couldn't help but cry because these were my personal dreams for my baby girl (that was doing a fabulous job playing the part of a newborn boy!). After the play, someone came up to me and said I was a great actor, probably because they thought I managed to produce tears, but there was little acting involved.
Tonight is the eve of my second daughter's birthday. She turns seven tomorrow. As tradition calls for, she went to the bookshelf containing all my journals and picked out "the one." We climbed up on my bed and as she lay in my arms, I read her the story of the night she was born. She giggled at the name we picked out if she was a boy, she guffawed at how much she weighed at birth... and she was growing up so quickly lying there with me tonight.
I wrote in her birthday card that she means the world to me and that she has my heart and all my love. There's no middle child syndrome going on here. She is precious, she is treasured, and she is mine all mine. Happy Birthday, Ella Bella.