Her Birthday.

We’ve been so busy adjusting lately that Scarlett turning two was sort of marginalized right up until it actually happened.

Then the day came. And suddenly, our little punk woke up looking just the same as she had everyday before it for quite some time, but being this brand new, unfamiliar number. And I can’t explain why it mattered, but it suddenly did.

Before she woke up I wrote this long, embarrassing letter to her and then poured over photographs, highlighting some of the sweetest moments I’m sure to ever experience in all the vastness of my life. Then, we dressed her in the first of her fall outfits and went on a family outing to the orchard. The orchard has been dubbed the official tradition for our family in celebrating Scarlett. It just so happened to be the first place that we took her to as a newborn, fresh from the hospital bassinet. Well, that’s not true. Actually the first place she had ever gone as a newborn was a wedding that I was a bridesmaid in – which is pretty notable for a kid who’s ten days old, but the orchard was the first place our family had gone, officially complete. Seeing the photo afterward of myself, hunched together with these four ridiculous people I’ve come to love in such a short time like the hibiscus loves a summer breeze, grinning under that universally unflattering 2:00 sun in a wagon of hey was incomparable to any other I’ve felt before or since. The week she turned one, we wound up there again. I can’t remember now if it was coincidence or not. But the picture of her actually leaning over the wagon herself this time, smiling like she somehow knew this would wind up being the kind of photograph we’d have to show at her high school graduation party – it made me want to never, ever stop getting ones like it. So far, we haven’t.

This year, being so mentally beat from adjusting to homeschool and its accompanying changes to family life, we decided just to forgo the party and take her there instead. We invited a few family and friends – most of whom couldn’t make it on such short notice –  but there was no cake, only a handful of balloons her brother and sister blew up in the car ride there, and no money spent other than the price of admission and the nine dollars splurged on a toy broom and dustpan I had her pick out from the store herself.

It was one of the greatest days in Stucky family history, though – without any of that. In fact, I think it was even better without any of the usual distractions. Because, like everyday since the one in which we perched her, looking terribly uncomfortable on top of a pumpkin at eleven days old, it was filled with her in a hundred irreplaceable ways. Ways that make everyday as a part of our family, incredible.

And seriously, wow. Just look at all we have to celebrate over cider and doughnuts. Just take a look real quick, at how enormously lucky we are.

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