(Again, pics courtesy of www.abryanphoto.com)

It’s hard to believe that one year ago today, your Daddy was begging me to stop cleaning the house and doing laundry and GO to the hospital. I’d been having contractions since 5 am, and at 2 pm I was still nesting like a crazed animal. I finally gave in, but insisted that we stop and eat at Subway on our way, because I hadn’t eaten all day and I knew they wouldn’t give me anything once we got to the hospital. So, your Daddy and I were sitting in Subway, where I was happily enjoying my Club on wheat and the look of panic on your “normally calm when it comes to anything medical” Daddy’s face, when he finally ripped the sandwich out of my hands, stuffed it in the bag and said, “I can’t take this anymore. There are a bunch of innocent people in this restaurant who don’t realize that you could plop a baby on the floor any second. Get in the car!”

We went to the hospital and 2 very short hours later, I was holding you in my arms–in absolute awe to be meeting the little person that had been bustling around in my tummy for the past 10 months…The following 2 months would be a blur. Bebe was so sick, you had to be hospitalized for a week with a UTI, because we were in the hospital, Pace celebrated her second birthday in Dothan without us, and then there was the normal new-mother-who’s-up-4-times-a-night zombieism. As soon as the doctor released us from Children’s, we three girls left Daddy to fend for himself and moved to Dothan to help/be with Bebe. There are some things about that time we spent with Bebe, your second month of life, that I want you to know.

It was a dark time for me. You needed me for food, for comfort, for bouncing (Oh how we bounced to keep you happy!)…and nobody else would do. In some sense that was hard, because I felt like Bebe needed me too, and I wanted so much to be close to her as often as I could. Bebe needed you too. You–such a tiny, perfect, glorious distraction from her pain. But you were also a distraction from the sleep she so desperately needed. So we would escape, you and I, and since you wanted to nurse every 3 or 4 hours, we would escape a lot. You would nurse, and as I sat in the dim quiet rooms, I would stare at the white peach fuzz, perfectly round head, and angelic profile that made you and there I could find a release for all my emotions. You heard me cry out to God, begging that He honor His promise to heal Bebe. You were the comfort for my paralyzing fear. And you, new life at its most pristine, served as a constant reminder that the world would not stop turning–no matter what happened with Bebe. We sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness” a lot during that dark time, and I can remember lifting my heart to God as I sang “strength for today” and then catching my breath as I squeezed you in my arms and sang “hope for tomorrow.”

While Jesus called Bebe back to himself, in His great mercy he left me you. And as you learned to smile at the world, I felt myself learning how to smile again as well. You have a smile that is filled with such joy that it’s irresistible. That smile has brought more happiness to my life over the past year than any other singular thing. You are such a gift to your Mama!

There have been those who have chided me over the past year for your great dependence on me. You have been, unquestionably, a Mama’s girl–screaming as though limbs were being ripped from your body if anyone attempted to take you from my arms. But I haven’t minded the criticism or felt the need to explain. I know how deep the valley was that forged our dependence on one another. Only you and I know how many tears that sweet head of yours has had to absorb. I believe you took in a little piece of me that I couldn’t hold myself.

The majority of your first year may have belonged to me, but I am afraid I am rapidly losing my spot. Your sister mothers you so, and takes such delight in all your little nuances that you can’t help but belong to each other. There are many mornings at breakfast when you two just look at each other and giggle uncontrollably. You delight in secrets born of childhood, that I am afraid Mommys cannot understand. Then, there’s the fearless spirit you’ve been developing over the past few months that whispers to your Daddy’s heart. We both were trying to coax your big sister, on her long sturdy legs, into the waves at the beach. I looked beside me, and you were going face first, on all fours, right into the splashing spray. I’ve laughed as you’ve bravely attempted to follow your sister down every slide, off every step, and up every hill. You have an adventurous and brave heart, that reminds me so much of what I love about your Daddy. So, while you are still the daughter of my body and heart, I am sadly happy to watch as you plant yourself more deeply in the lives of those who love you.

Thank you for loving me unconditionally in the most unloveable period of my life. Thank you for the privilege of teaching you and watching you grow. Thank you for your smile, that sets my world ablaze. And thank you most of all, just for being Mapple Dapple. I love you, and happy happy first birthday baby girl.

21 Responses to “To Mary Aplin on Her First Birthday”

  1. J says:

    What a blessing your words have been to me on so many occasions! Happy Birthday to little Mary Aplin! And thank you for so tenderly sharing your heart again and again.

  2. Ashleigh Thompson says:

    I am speechless! You are fabulous with words. I am crying a river and smiling all at the same time. Have you already printed part of your blog? I want to print mine in Jan to keep (since I don’t scrapbook).

  3. Tara says:

    That was beautiful Abby. You are able to share what is in your heart so well. Happy Birthday Mary Aplin!

  4. becky says:

    it’s good to start the day with a good sob, right?? thank you, again, for such sweet words. and happy birthday big girl!

  5. The Jernigan's says:

    Happy Birthday Mary Aplin!!

  6. Brandi Bartee says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your words and allowing us to be thankful for everything we have. Jeremiah is one blessed fella for having such a wonderful, gifted, loving, and obviously great wife and mother to his children. I hope Mary Aplin has a wonderful 1st birthday!

  7. Abby Euten says:

    Abby, that was truly beautiful and very touching. A very happy birthday to Mary Aplin, I guess she is a true testament to the fact that the Lord never closes a door without opening a window…and what a beautiful window she is!

  8. Jenny says:

    well, i am sitting at work teary eyed and trying to hide them from my co-workers. she will always cherish this. perfect.

  9. aedozier says:

    Here I sit crying and smiling! What a gifted woman you are! Nobody would ever know from your eloquent words that you are an Engineer. Happy 1st Birthday to beautiful Mary Aplin!

  10. WallysMama says:

    Thank you for sharing such private and personal thoughts….wow, you have touched my heart! God’s richest blessings to your family..

  11. Maggie says:

    Happy Birthday Mapple Dapple!!!
    Yall are the cutest!

  12. ashr7406 says:

    That was absolutely beautiful! Sobbing is not even the word to describe the tears rolling off of my face. Everytime I read your blog I feel as though I am your best friend! Thank you so much for sharing your heart will all of us who are eager to read! You are truly a blessing to me each and every day! Happy Birthday Mary Aplin!!

  13. Caroline says:

    Ab, what a blessed little girls Mapple Dapple and Pace are to have you! You are such an inspiration to me..I pray that I can be half as wonderful as you are one day (hopefully) with my own..i love you!

  14. The Wilson's says:

    WOW!!! SWEET SWEET SWEET, that is all I can say! Happy Birthday Mary Aplin
    Trent, Mal and Miller

  15. andi says:

    Precious one, that was beautiful. I am sure that the arms of the Lord hugged you through this little one we call Mary Applin. He knew that she would be the balm that you could feel Him through. Oh Abby, to feel the embrace of the Lord, the hope of eternity, through a miracle of a baby. I love you! Happy Birthday Mary Aplin!

  16. Gail says:

    Happy Birthday Mary Aplin! YOU are one lucky LIL’ girl. God really blessed you when picking out your Mommy and Daddy. God Bless and many more wonderful Birthdays to come! Abby, once again…you touched my heart. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt feelings. In his love, Gail

  17. Beth G. says:

    That was beautiful! I am almost in tears! Mary Aplin is just precious!

  18. Kendall says:

    Ok I couldn’t even make it past the second paragraph without stopping to remove the eye makeup covering my face!!! Oh those vivid memories from this this time last year, I feel like it was yesterday I was bouncing Mapples in mom and dads room while mom was in the bed. I love you and I am thankful for Mary Aplin and her sweet spirit!!

  19. Nai Nai says:


  20. Darby says:

    1st, Happy Birthday Mapple Dapple. What precious and tender memories you will have forever with this sweet little gift from God. Thanks for sharing your story, your heart and your pain with us! I love you!!

  21. Amie Ezelle says:

    I could read your blogs all day! I hope you have this saved somewhere for Mary Aplin to read for herself one day. Such a gift!

    On a silly note, I loved the story on the day of her birth. I had no idea! You crack me up, Abby 🙂

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