Around this time last year, I was already in labor. Your dad and I were told that second time labor usually progresses swiftly. So I was set on meeting you just maybe few hours after I was admitted in the hospital. But it was not the case. You had your own way, baby. My contractions became intermittent after midnight and it took several more hours before I could finally deliver you. And wow, what a delivery it was! Very quick. Just a couple of minutes before noontime of January 27, 2018, you were finally born.
When you came out, Dr. Menie — my OB, and you and your Kuya Adi’s deliverer — exclaimed that you looked exactly like your Kuya when he was born! The only differences were you are a girl and an exact kilo lighter than he was at birth. Your dad was with us all the way. He tried to cut your umbilical cord and took photos of your first precious hours outside utero. Wow. You were finally here. Lauren Maranatha. Lara.
If I’d be ask what having you in our life has brought us, I would enumerate so many things. But one thing that stands out is how having you is teaching me how to respect the uniqueness of one’s personality. Being our second child, it is always a temptation to compare you with your brother. However, I am continuously learning that you are your own person, the same way that your Kuya Adi is also his own person. You are siblings; you have similarities in facial expressions, reactions, and sometimes, even in preferences. But your characters are distinct. It is a blessing for me to get to know you and witness you grow. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, dear Lara.
It delights (and scares) me to see you take risks — especially when you started being mobile. You have no idea how much courage I always need to muster whenever you attempt to do something new. I remind myself that it is for your own good. You need to explore. And explore you do. You have that determined look every time you try to do something. And the triumphant smile on your face once you succeeded — priceless!
Your dad and I observe how you seem to already know how to charm your way around. You have that smile and that look that always, always make your dad, your Kuya, and your ninangs melt. As you grow, we will try our best to teach you how to use your charm wisely, okay? It will be for your own good 😊
These days, you seem to understand things more and more. And it’s so wonderful how you perfectly fit in our day-to-day grind. Like when Kuya Adi starts to sing, you automatically pay attention and clap your hands when he’s done singing. Or when he’s having a meltdown and you yourself is starting to be fussy, I’ve seen you behave and just stare at Kuya until his issues are resolved. And then you’d resume being fussy (thanks for taking turns, kids!). There are also times when maybe you could feel that your brother doesn’t want to nap yet. And so you’d roll over to him and start doing this play thing that the two of you usually do. Ergo, nap time is postponed to several more minutes. (Your dad and I have to prepare for when the two of you resort to connivance in the near future.)
What a beautiful blessing this past year has been, specifically because of your coming.
You are God’s wonderful gift to us, Lara. As challenging as it is to care for 2 kids, your dad and I couldn’t imagine life without you. You bring joy and delight. You (and your brother) make dad and me want to become godly parents. You draw Kuya Adi out and that helps him to be a kind and loving brother. We are so grateful to God because He gave you to us. And our prayer is that He will preserve you and save you for His purposes and glory.
Happy, happy 1st birthday, dearest Lara! We love you. You will always be our darling dumpling 💕
Photo taken by Aleks