Ben polished off the cupcake, flicked a stray sprinkle off his sweater and mused, “Girls really are nice.”

Not such a unique conclusion for a nearly 17 year old lovesick boy, but he was talking about his sister.

“I asked Mary for a bite of her cupcake and she just handed me the rest of it. And yesterday she wrote me a little note and left it on my pillow. I can hardly believe she’s the same little girl that screamed all day long.”

Ages ago I wrote about my wild Miss Mary and her lack of hair. In the 18 months since, her hair has grown scarcely an inch but she has emerged as a creative, compassionate little nymph. With pride, she unloads the silverware(Gabe’s job) and carefully measures the salad and dinner forks to insure they land in the right slot. Her intricately drawn pictures and nonsensical love notes litter the house in a beautiful way. Unlike mere mortals, she still eschews sleep and sings and reads in her room long after the boys have gone to bed. But she stays upstairs; she’s happy and I’m getting a full night’s sleep again.

Mary will always be a blur and a wonder, defying stereotypes and annihilating barriers. Fierce as a summer storm, she can still pull some terrific tantrums, but her anger is quick and followed by “so sorry”s and teary smiles.

And today she is 5– an age of independence, tying shoes, kindergarten– my family is moving into a new era.

My babies broke me, body and soul, and then they built me up again— it’s a different life and a kinder, more compassionate one. No longer can I judge anyone, because I’ve learned how little of life’s tapestry I see. And my disillusionment of being oh-so smart and clever has been shattered by the vast realms of What I Don’t Know.

Freed from those shackles I only have possibilities before me.

Beautiful, beautiful possiblities…

January 18, 2009
January 23, 2009



  1. Jeanelle

    January 21, 2009

    Michelle! I know I’m a dork but I seriously welled up at the 5th pic of Mary looking up/away, with the fruit trees alongside/behind her. What a beautiful picture!!! Boys are wonderful but I’m so glad Heavenly Father sent you a girl too.

    Happy happy birthday, Mary dear. I hope you’re having the best birthday ever!

  2. Tracy

    January 22, 2009

    Happy Birthday Miss Mary. I can see what a good mommy you are – and can more easily see how you learned to be such a good mommy.

  3. martha corinna

    January 22, 2009

    Beautiful pictures, the words and the photos.
    That last part is perfect Michelle.

  4. Ken

    January 22, 2009

    Mary is marvelous! She always brightens my day with her enthusiasm. She is so much fun playing games, going to the zoo and running faster than I ever could run. I love her so much and wish her a very Happy Birthday.

  5. Reluctant Nomad

    January 22, 2009

    almost. almost. makes me want to have another one. But only if she could inherit Mary’s clothes. 🙂

  6. Reluctant Nomad

    January 22, 2009

    AND from one girl-with-small-amounts-of-hair to another, I think Mary and I could be soul sisters.

  7. duchess

    January 22, 2009

    What a sweet & beautiful little girl. I love the ring – she’s growing up.
    Happy Birthday Mary!!

  8. Kim

    January 22, 2009

    Happy Birthday Mary! I hope you have a completely fabulous day!

  9. Allison

    January 22, 2009

    Happy Birthday, Mary!

    I love reading about her. She is so much like my own four year old tornado of a girl. And you put her into words so beautifully. How do you do that!?

  10. Danielle

    January 22, 2009

    Happy birthday Mary! That was a beautiful post Michelle, it made me cry!! and the photos are just so gorgeous – almost makes me want to live somewhere that has snow just so I can have beautiful scenery for pictures! Hope miss Mary has a perfect day. 🙂

  11. Kira

    January 22, 2009

    Thank you for reminding a Mom that is still thick in the middle of the “breaking my body down” stage that it will all soon be over and I once again will reap the rewards of my wonderful children 🙂

  12. Denise

    January 22, 2009

    Oooh, I do so love 5 year old girls. My sister once told me, “4 year old girls are the worst. But 5 year old girls are so much nicer.” I’ve found that to be true with my first three girls.

    Happy, Happy Birthday Princess Mary. We wish you could come play with Miss Caroline. We’ll be in town from 6/30-7/23…let’s plan to play!

  13. Christie

    January 22, 2009

    You really do speak my love language, sister. This hits my heart and moves me in such a powerful way. I, too, got a little baby girl at the end that broke and lifted me, all at once. Thank you so much for putting into words just how I feel.

  14. Seagulljaap

    January 22, 2009

    She’s growing up too quickly! I remember when she was just a babe in arms and now she is almost the same age as my oldest nephew in Utah. How time flies!

  15. StubbyDog

    January 22, 2009

    Happy, happy, happy birthday Miss Mary.

  16. veronica

    January 23, 2009

    I’m glad Ben enjoyed my cupcake!
    Mary is adorable and I’m glad to be her teacher! She is so sweet. Happy birthday, Mary!

  17. Linkous

    January 23, 2009

    We’re so glad to be back and close to Mary and her sweetness. She is so kind and includes Ryn even though she’s 2 years younger. She is a strong spirit who will be a driving force for good her entire life. We love you, Miss Mary Kathryn Elizabeth! Happy Birthday!

  18. Sage Gallagher

    January 24, 2009

    This post brought tears to my eyes! Granted, I am pregnant, but the beautiful way you described the way kids break and then remake you truly touched me. How little I see too, but what I see is so amazing! Thanks for your comment on my site (I thought you were another Michelle and just now saw the different photo next to your name.)

  19. m_and_m

    January 27, 2009

    This one left me feeling a little lump in my throat.


    I still geek out about how much she makes me think of my ‘baby.’

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