Dear Charleigh Evangeline,
You are not quite four months old, but, already, you are your own person. You are long and lean and bald except for a dusting of orange hair. Your daddy calls you "Smiley" for obvious reasons. Your stomach bothers you, sometimes, and the teeth you are cutting bother you very often; still, you don't ask for much. You seem to enjoy sitting back and taking in the world with your large, bright eyes. It is mostly without complaint that you sit in your bouncy or infant seat or ride in the front pack, but you like to be turned inward toward another's body and held. You like it when someone talks to you, and you have a fierce attachment to your pacifier. You like your sister Clementine, even when she kisses peanut butter into your hair or tries to climb on top of you. You make baby-pig and Jetson-car noises, and you coo, laugh, and squeal. You are my late night (and very early morning) companion and sleep late into the day.
Just after midnight, I bundled you up in your fleece, Care Bear outfit and wool hat, and we went outside to look at the moon.
There is snow on the ground, and this is winter solstice: the shortest day of the year. A lunar eclipse is expected to occur before morning, but the moon we observed was full and unshadowed.
I looked at you in the bright glow of the moon, and you smiled at me.
Charleigh, I want you to know that I see and appreciate who you are...that I am glad for our time together and especially the moments we have alone. I promise to try to carve those moments out over the years. I promise not to allow you to become eclipsed by your sister the Wild Orange or anyone else, even if you remain calm and quiet. I wish for you to be full and unshadowed, always.
I love you, and I am glad you are here,