I can't believe you are one year old today.
This was a hard year but it was a joyous year. You arrived on a sunny Friday, because Fridays are happy days. Party days. The end of work and the beginning of play. And that is so You, my Anna Joy.
You didn't have a name for a long time. I had a stack of name books by my bed and I would just look at you and wonder . . . your Dad was gone that day and it rained and I was alone with you, just amazed and wondering how to put a name on this miracle.
I knew that it had to be a graceful name because in the womb you danced so gracefully. I imagined that you would grow to be elegant and kind and quietly joyful. I still do.
Anna. For it's purity and grace. The way it sits on your tongue between a breath and a song. And for the wise women I read whose names are some form of Anne, beautiful women who have wrestled with God and beauty and who are still laughing, still prophecy-ing and giving thanks, still spotting Jesus even in their old age, like the prophetess Anna.
Joy is for the joy we believed in when I was so sick that I thought I'd rather die were it not for the hope you gave me. And because you taught us about the Cross, the pain that Christ endured for the joy that was set before Him. You were a prophetess even then, for we didn't yet know what pain was still ahead or I'm sure we don't know now what we will be asked to endure . . . but the Joy! Yes, you remind us everyday that there is joy on the other side and this year, Anna, you were my peaceful, sweet spot of pure joy through it all.
You have lots of names, of course. On the day we brought you home Papa called you Peanut and it stuck. Sister calls you And, which seems so appropriate. Or there's the longer version, Anna-Full-of-Joy-and-Happiness. I love your name, Annie.
I love you for your eyes that shine and for your impish grin that precedes wild giggles and how you seem to already have a knack for practical jokes.
I love the way that anything that sounds like music will make you dance, even the dishwasher.
I love how you lay on the floor and kick your legs when you're sleepy, and the way you cuddle up and suck your thumb when I hold you . . . and then for the way that you go to sleep and stay asleep that is nothing short of the greatest act of mercy a child can have on her parents.
I love that your default is set to joy, the joyous approach that you have to life. You burst into our world last year with your laughing eyes and charm, and our world is brighter, lighter, more joyful because of you, Sweet Anna Joy.