Sister

I have the rare fortune of having soul sisters. Friendships that have blossomed into sisterhood. These kinds of sisters are a beautiful thing, each play a different role in my life and me in theirs. Some I call on when I’m angry at the world, some I run to when I’m wondering about the heavens, some I trust to tell me that I have spinach in my teeth, some call me out on being lazy but quickly follow it up with a ‘love you’ and some call me at 3am to give me all the details of their last date. My soul sisters are the ones that have become family, the ones I have so much in common with that sometimes people confuse us for each other.

But. I only have one. blood. sister.

kavime.jpg

A couple years ago, someone asked the two of us “ If you weren’t sisters, would you have been friends?”.

We both looked at each other and laughed, and together said ‘No’.

Of two sisters one is always the watcher, one the dancer.
— Louise Glück

You see, my sister and I could not be more different. And the thought of us, finding each other all on our own in this big big world, living life in such different ways seems like a fair impossibility.

Would the girl who is the life of the party (her) and the one who often comes a little late so she can slip in and have deep conversation in the corner (me) have met at that party?


1910294_1016072775497_6567_n.jpg

Would the girl who likes rom coms ( me) and the one who loves action and dinosaurs and sci-fi (her) stepped into the same movie theatre?

Well maybe in college….the girl who often skipped class to hang under blossomed trees with friends (her) and the one who never missed class even when she was sick (me)- maybe they would have bumped into each other on a Tuesday after assembly? Probably not.

When I play out scenarios of life, I just don’t think we would have stumbled into each other. She breathes in dancing, I breathe in watching , she would cake hop to find the perfect chocolate cake, I take delight in spending hours in the kitchen, making cake from scratch.


1910294_1016072695495_7403_n.jpg

She shows people she loves them in action. I show people I love them in words.

She is all grit and gumption. I am a little more cautious and steady.

She is exciting and fast paced and in all honesty, everything that I am not, but hope to be.

10426674_665165143170_6581075845859242145_n.jpg

And so, yea, we probably wouldn’t have met. And even if we did, I probably would have told her I loved her too many times, and she would have rolled her eyes.

Life is funny that way. God is gracious that way.

Although we would not have met, if left up to our own doing, life itself brought us together.

I love the idea that our relationship was too important to let fate decide the outcome of it. We were meant to be sisters, and God couldn’t take any chances on us finding one another on our own.

No, this sisterhood was too important

too imperative

too divine

to be left to chance. It needed to be sealed with blood.

Almost like a sacred covenant. A pact of staying true beyond our differences or beyond distance.

She is mine and I am hers. Sisters for life.

And in this sisterhood, we don’t pinky swear our promises. We chocolate swear our promises.

Picture this. Bahrain, 1994.

“Don’t tell mom and dad ok, Ria? What chocolate do you want? “

“ Bounty”

“ Eww, why would you have Bounty when you can have Aero. But okay, here you go. Have what makes you happy”

“ But can I have one bite from yours?”

“ Oh my goshhhh, fine. But remember, this is our secret. Promise?”

“ Promise”

1994 to forever, I promise. Chocolate swear. Sister swear. Cross my heart and hope to dance. Just like you.

kavireedancing.jpg










On standing guard, silver linings and sticky rice

One of my favourite subjects to write about...my tribe. Read a piece of my heart below. 

 

Have you heard the song “Heart of Life” from that old John Mayer album? He sings about how life can sometimes be hard, and how pain throws our heart to the ground. But then love comes and turns it around.

He strums his guitar to the idea that a hard time  never comes at a convenient time and THEN this one line…

THAT line makes me swoon, because it reminds me of my circle of friends, my tribe, especially the women in my tribe.

The women in my little circle are strong women, sometimes a deep silent strength, sometimes an outrageous, loud, let’s get this shiz done strength. And with this, they come around me, in sadness and pain and joy and triumph. No matter what, women rally. History writes it, and my life can attest to it in the present.

My dear friend Rach says this one thing when one of us is going through a hard time. She says “ I wish you could crawl into your hole and we could stand guard while you heal”. Okay, so maybe they haven’t physically let me crawl into a hole, but in every other sense, my ladies have done just that.

When I moved to a new city and felt alone, they stood guard through consistent visits and cheering me to open my heart to difference.

When I starting dating my now husband, they stood guard by sharing in the excitement first and double-checking all motives second. Truth in love hey?!

When I went through depression, they stood guard by kind words over and over and over again.

When I married my best friend, they stood guard in beautiful dresses and taking part in age-old Indian traditions involving sticky rice they knew nothing about.

When I sometimes worry about health issues and having children, they stand guard by reminding me that their children are my children, by checking on whether I am taking care of myself and sitting beside me at the doctor's office.

Here’s the incredible thing about women, they don’t want to fix it for you, because their belief in you is greater than their belief in their ability to make it better. So, they stand guard while you heal, while you move and date and start new chapters.

And then comes the ‘silver lining’ bit. My women don’t just defend, they defend the best of the worst. They see the best of the worst; they love the best of the worst... in the world, in people, in me.

Isn’t that the most exquisite thing? When your people see the best in you, no matter what. When they take off your grey glasses and put on your rose ones? When they fiercely protect the good so that it is the only thing left in your line of vision?

Along with keeping it real, making me laugh until my belly hurts, protecting my heart when I can’t and serious dance off’s, standing guard, defending the silver lining  and getting their hands dirty (sometimes with sticky rice)  are a few  of my most favorite things about my tribe.

What about you? What is it about your tribe that is the most exquisite thing? I would love to hear.

Love,

Ria

II

I wrote about that little button in between << and >> over at Kin...

That PAUSE button. Two simple lines that often sits between Rewind and Forward. Almost as if one line weren't enough to say stand still, take a break, rest is needed before playing your movie forward.

There is a mystery about the now. I’m talking about this very minute.

Let’s take the human body, for example. In one minute, you will blink 15-20 times, your heart will pump 1.3 gallons of blood and you will shed about 30-50 thousand skin cells (EWW). You can read more about it here.

It’s not often I turn to facts, I usually talk in feelings. But sometimes, facts can add clarity to our feelings. When the minutes are running a marathon in your life, and you are part of a society that lives on coffee and outlook, and if like me, you need a holiday after your holiday, it is so easy to completely miss the mystery.

I use the body as an example because so often I take my body for granted. I wake up, complete a whole day of tasks, and by night fall, most often talk badly to my body for not looking skinnier in those jeans before I conveniently forget to wash my face. I never pause to think of all that my body does for me, the strength in my legs and the neurons firing in my brain and you know, the little heart of mine beating away, keeping me alive.

And if I don’t pause for my body, what else do I not pause for? What other beautiful, mysterious and incredible things are happening within me and around me am I completely missing because I don’t take a moment to stop and appreciate?

We are entering into the Easter season, and as tempting as it may be to eat your weight in chocolate, get on a sugar high and keep running through this April like a cross between the easter bunny and the energizer bunny, I invite you into something new. Join me in a daily practice of pause. Here's my schedule for the week.

Monday: Make a list of 5 things I am thankful for

Tuesday: Cook something from scratch

Wednesday: Watch the sunset

Thursday: Give away something I haven't used in a while, make space.

Friday: Read a psalm out loud

Saturday: Dance on my own for 5 minutes for no reason

Sunday: Take twice as long as normal to eat one meal in the day

Pausing may not always mean meditating or being silent although those are wonderful practices. For some, like me, it is an act of peace, an undertaking of self care, a moment of fun in and amongst the mundane, a reminder of freedom and an intentional time of taking stock. As my Yogi friend Adriene says “find what feels good” , take a moment to engage in that, and then keep on keeping on changing the world.

Taking a break is not simply good for you, it is almost as beneficial and sometimes more (just ask my husband) for the people around you.

And the best part of a pause, a break or a breath? Learning often takes place between efforts of trying something new, not in the midst of attempting it. Growth happens in the in between moments of rest, revelation creates itself in the mystery of one simple moment of Selah. The cycle not just continues, but is mightier in the presence of mystery. We work - we pause-we learn-we grow-we work BETTER.

When you stand in the pause, you get the greatest view of the future. And it is bright.

Tell me, what are some of your favourite ways to break up the mundane in your life? In what ways do you find the mystery?

Love,

Ria

The time Adele agreed with my Counsellor

Want a sneak peak into the last time I spoke to my counsellor? I wrote about it over at Kin and it went a little something like this...

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.

Martin Luther King Jnr

Yesterday was weird. I had a counseling session and a concert all in one evening. I was challenged by my counselor to do the following:

Stop talking. start doing.
Stop thinking, start creating.
Stop playing it safe, start risking.
“What do I have to risk?” I sheepishly asked.
“Yourself” he said, looking me dead in the eye.

So let me get this straight? In order to accomplish all these grand plans I have been thinking about and talking about for the last year (okay five years), I have to start doing, creating, and risking myself in the process? My whole self? My love and my ideas and my pride and all the other thousands of emotions I feel a mile a minute? Okay then.

Okay then.

CUE ALL THE STUNNED EMOJIS!

The wide one, the one with the hands on the face, the one with an open mouth, and finally a combination of the guy upside down with his eyes rolled.
I wanted to leave his office. Firstly because it felt better and safer to just be thinking these ideas, creating them in my head rather than sharing them with the world. Because umm... world=scary haunted house, but my head=my mommas couch, eating chicken curry with naan.

Secondly, because he was right. And while the fear was rising up in the pit of tummy, an urgency was simultaneously rising in my heart to start doing, creating, risking.

With this small amount of new found knowledge, I ask you this…
What is that one thing you have already created in your head and heart space but not yet with your hands?
The weirdest part of my day was not hearing this truth, but going to the Adele concert right afterward. It was the words I had just heard put into action. I saw the beauty, change and difference risking it all can make. Thousands upon thousands of people heart-stirred, a chaotic community created in one night, a lyric that held the power to heal, all because someone chose to risk themselves, and their self-image, and their pain. All because someone chose to not just create something to help themselves, but had the audacity to think that what they had created could help others too.
It was humbling and inspiring all at once.

It takes courage to create something- an idea, a piece of art, a piece of cake, anything. Boldness and courage and a whole lot of gumption.

It takes selflessness to share your creation. A denying of your fears and insecurities. And where there is selflessness, there also lies love. A love for the one that benefits from your idea, or sees beauty in your art or was craving cake. A love so deep that you risk yourself in giving it. Also, a love so wide that it includes you in it....of course, you have something to share, to paint, to bake. You are all kinds of wonderful.

You see, creation shared forms community. And gosh, a community is good. Even if it is 65,000 people swarming into a stadium on a hot summer's day to say 'Hey, we like you, and this simple melody that you risked yourself to materialize, we dig that too'

Isn't that what the world should be about? Showing up together, even if for just one person to say 'we like you and that thing that only you can do'. History shows that showing up together changes things. Martin Luther King Jr put it like this...

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.

Let's be audacious and kind together, dear friend.

Love,

Ria

Face time or Facetime?

My take on having real conversations, written for Kin....

We are all so connected, but often with very little credit to conversation.
Let me tell you what I mean. I take public transport at least two to three times a week. Most often I get on and think “who will be awake right now? Who can I call or text ?” If no one answers, I give in to some form of social media to see what these sleeping beauties have been up to. My head is often down until I raise it in panic, wondering if I have missed my stop. It’s usually close.
I sit next to strangers who could be friends but I never make the effort to start a conversation because I already feel satiated with connection through a screen and virtual buttons. How has my life come to this? Why do I choose to validate myself through comments and likes and not through nods and eye contact?
Do you do the same? Let’s make a change together. Let’s make a pact, a cyber pinky swear of sorts to look people in the eye and start conversations.

|CONVERSATION| it is such a beautiful art form, almost like a dance of speaking your own vulnerability and listening to the other’s, a give and take, rhythmic measures of grace and a perfect example of love in action.

If I think of some of the best conversations I have had, they have three basic things in common:
1. Comfortable: we are most often in comfortable spaces, safe spaces, and feel at ease with each other. I can’t remember the last time I had a memorable conversation with someone that made me nervous. But don’t get me wrong, comfort does not mean a lack of …
2. Challenge: sometimes it takes equal parts of 'heart to heart' and 'head to head' to make for stimulating conversation. I love conversing with someone who respectfully challenges my world views, so much growth can happen in those moments. It is so okay for someone to argue my ideas as long as they…
3. Care: this is the big one. It doesn’t matter where, when and with who, if I feel cared for, I leave feeling like I have had a good experience. Care can come in the form of truly listening, a pat on the shoulder or not getting distracted by someone spilling ice cream on themselves. I notice when someone makes me feel like I am the only one in the room. And I am sure you do too.

Good dialogue can be life giving, a turning point. The in between moments of unedited truth, sometimes the stuttering and the mundane, and even the silence, albeit awkward are the moments where we really bare our true human selves to each other.

Join me in this crazy idea of a little less Facetime and a little more face time, would ya?

Love,

ria

A Story worth retelling

Wrote about the art of your story over at Kin...

 

Hi Friend,

Here is a question:

If I were telling a story about my days on this earth, would it be a story worth retelling?

I don’t have a definite answer yet, but I hope the answer would be yes.

I am a simple test and a significant oath away from being an Australian Citizen. In my life story, this would be its own chapter. It would probably be titled “Searching the World, Finding a Kangaroo” and it would be all about this big brown land and how it found me and kept me for a while; it’s people and how they have found their way into my fifth culture kid heart. There would be funny anecdotesthat tell tales of the first time I tried vegemite or heard the word ‘arvo’.

But let’s skip back a couple of chapters.

I landed four years ago on Australia Day. I grew up on a desert Island, but the Australian Summer was brutal for me. Here I was, stepping off a plane with a man crush, who I just vowed my whole life to, quite literally on the other side of the world of anything familiar to me. I was out of my comfort zone and I was excited.

You see, every other time my story had taken me out of my comfort zone, it proved to be an adventure from the start. So I had no doubt that this would be the same.

But this is the thing about our life story- we write some chapters and sometimes, some chapters write us.

Chapter 26: What to expect when you are not expecting: a manifesto for the newly married dreamer wimp.

I (foolishly) imagined my first-year marriage chapter would read true to the common fairy tale ending “And they lived happily ever after”. I imagined new beginnings- searching for a new apartment, exploring the new city, picking out paint colors and making love to a slow Usher song.
But the reality was this: we couldn’t afford to move out of his parent’s home, this city and I just did not understand each other, I couldn’t find a job and my forever man crush did not like RnB.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED IN MY LIFE?

It was at this intersection that I gave up on my story and my chapter started writing itself. In the middle of our first adventure, when it got too hard when my expectations were not met when I had the choice to keep dreaming amidst the new reality or wimp out - I chose wimp.
It was like a bad movie. I was the anti-hero. You know the part of the movie where the music gets hauntingly melodic and the magic happens? There was no magic. When faced with adversity I didn’t run up and down the stairs like Rocky. I withered and fell into deep sadness and chose a slow boring classical song to play in the background. I am not proud of it, but it is the truth. And sometimes the best we can do is face the truth, say sorry, grab the pen out of life’s hand and start writing a new chapter.

It took a while for a self-written chapter to emerge as part of my story. There were three more chapters mostly about mixed emotions, weight gain, fighting, and tears. But by Chapter 30, I was writing myself. I sometimes even published without spell check. I was living boldly and on the edge; still out of my comfort zone but also, starting to dream again.

I have started to say more ‘yes’ and less ‘I don’t know’. I have started to try. When all I hear in the world news is one horrible story followed by the next, I have vowed again to STORY UP. Storying up looks a bit like this…

Fighting my fatigue and climbing the stairs
Making magic with the ordinary
Dreaming about a bright future
Working with reality, not denying it
Showing the wimp in me the back door
Smiling at a stranger and
Saying thank you often

In short, stringing together moments that make my story worth re-telling.

So, here is a question:

If you were telling a story about your days on this earth, would it be a story worth retelling?I hope the answer would be yes.

What makes you drop the pen? What makes the best chapters of your life?

Love,

Ria

Cotton Candy, snakes and pulling 'an Eve'

EXCUSES. More Kin writing below...

 

 

#TBF (Throw back forever) excuses. We have been making them since we were first made. I’m not talking about that one fun night you were conceived, I’m talking humanity . As in our queen bee, not Beyonce- the real queen bee, our main girl, the original boss lady- EVE.

There is this story in the bible you are probably already familiar with , but let’s re cap….it’s the story of the first excuse. Or as theologians call it Genesis 1-3. The quick, modern version is this.

God made Adam and Eve. He gives them this beautiful land to live in. It is full of lush trees and fruit and no calories. I imagine cotton candy growing off ice magic trees and puppies everywhere. You might be imagining designer shoes hanging like ripe stone fruit. Whatever it was, it was incredible. Adam and Eve were allowed to run around naked and eat what they liked, try on all the shoes and play with all the puppies. They were living the dream, and the only white picket fence  in sight was around this one tree. It probably looked nice, but God warned them that the fruit was bitter and they were not supposed to eat it.

So let’s cut to our girl Eve. Prancing around in her manolo’s one afternoon and this snake slithers by and questions her understanding of the truth. Eve is dragged walks to the fence, jumps over it, heels and all, and eats the fruit. She is so kind to even offer some to Adam. He also eats. Everything changes. She realizes her feet hurt from the shoes and that she is showing her back fat to the boy she likes. She runs and hides. Adam too.

God enters. Like any good parent, He get’s straight to the point and asks the question ‘ did you do that one thing I told you not to do?’ Adam speaks first and says ‘Eve made me eat it’. God looks at Eve, probably not even having to ask the question and the first recorded words out of home girl’s mouth is this “ The serpent deceived me and I ate”. Not ‘sorry Lord’, not, ‘thank you for the free shoes and the candy’.

Her first instinct was a lame excuse.

How often do we make an excuse, when we should be taking responsibility? How often do we let temptation get the better of us because we know we have an excuse up our sleeve if and when we are caught?

A couple years ago I made the decision to stop blaming someone else every time I am caught doing something wrong. If I don’t turn a paper in on time or  don’t make the dessert I promised to bring to dinner, or forget to do a follow up with one of my clients. I was not going to throw anyone under the bus, not even myself. Here are three simple mind shifts that I adopted to not keep pulling ‘an Eve’.

1. Apologize but don’t agonize. If someone cares enough to call you out, they deserve an apology. So, say sorry. Don’t hold on any further to what you have done. Give them the benefit of the doubt, they will forgive. If they don’t, that’s not your baggage. Don’t carry it.
2. Give an explanation, not an excuse. If you have done something wrong, you may have a perfectly viable explanation for your actions, but do not use it as an excuse. First apologize for not coming through and then explain why.
3. Forgive. Don’t hold resentment towards the one that challenged you and don’t hold blame to yourself for making a mistake. Forgive and try your best to not do it again.

The best we can do, is give it our best. If we fall short, let’s learn to excuse ourselves without making an excuse. Let’s learn to walk the fine line between grace and truth. Grace for the moment, truth for the future. Grace for the person, truth for the action.
And when you are unsure, always lean towards more grace.

Love,
Ria

Namaste

I wrote a little about where I come from over at Kin. It went something like this...

 

If you have ever gone to an Indian’s house for dinner, you know that being full after a meal is not an option. You have to have at least one more serving. You cannot have had enough just yet, there is always room for more. It’s a beautiful sentiment, but also one that is filled with irony.

You see, as much as the culture believes that you have never fully had enough to satisfy your appetite, they believe that you must be the following:
Fair Skinned. Have beautiful hair and most importantly….be thin.

The same ones that invite you over for dinner, have no qualms about saying things like...

“ Oh you have become chubby now huh?”
(“Yes, copious amounts of Rice and a malfunctioning thyroid does that to you”)
“Oh my goodness, what have you been eating?”
(“ Bad hormones and that extra piece of ghee infused sugar you put on my plate”)
“Wow, you have lost so much weight. You must have worked so hard”
(“Yes, I graduated with honors and won a leadership award this year”)
“You must be getting ready for the wedding, you look great”
(“I am in love and I am preparing my heart to be a wife “)

You see, I just didn’t get it. How could you say that I had to leave every meal beyond full, but stick thin? How could  living in a culture that comes together only around a table allow me to exercise anything but my eating muscles?

Culture can play a big part in our story. It still does in mine. I still go through periods of self-doubt and questionable self-worth. In a cultural context, my issues have always been about body image. My sister's issues on the other hand, have been about her hair and education- too curly and she wasn't 'book smart' enough.  What would yours be? I hope whatever yours might be, you take heart.

The older I get, I am learning this:

Take what is good, learn from the rest that you have left behind.
Culture can direct you or destroy you.
Be proud of where you come from, but keep walking to where you need to be.

Say “Enough, I am full
I don’t need one more helping of what you have to offer right now.
I am not hungry for food.
I may be hungry for something else. If you are serving
Acceptance.
A compliment.
Kindness.
Dignity.
Love.
My plate is empty and there is room for more."

Friends, you can’t choose the culture you are born into, but you can choose what you birth from your culture. I hope you dish out the compliments and the kindness and the dignity for your neighbor before you invite them over for curry.

What are some of your cultural ironies? Which of those do you need to say enough to?

Namaste,
Ria

Hi, I'm a hypocrite.

The theme over at Kin Women is T.R.U.S.T. I self confessed and got real. 

 

 

I am so afraid to tell you how I trust because, I don’t trust well. Not yet at least.

I am learning to trust better and I am learning to trust up and I am learning to trust myself. And gosh, I am re-learning to trust my husband.

It’s heavy, it’s deep and honestly, it’s kind of a secret.

My global-self straps on a little black dress of self confidence, trust in everyone and grit enough to know when I am being taken advantage of.

My local-self lounges in pajamas of self doubt and trust in negativity and complete cluelessness.

To put it simply, I act one way and feel a different way.

Hi, my name is Ria and I am a hypocrite.

But, I don’t want be. I am confessing my sins and I am ready to do the meetings and self assess. I want to get that medal; you know the kind you get when you have over come an addiction?

I am addicted to trusting the bad, and I know that trusting the good is my antidote.

Let me explain: my dear friend is coming for a visit and we decided to do a Bali trip, just us. When we had first made these plans, I was so excited.

But have you ever tried picking a holiday package to Bali? Expedia gives you twenty five pages of options- room, villa, pool, no pool, noise, less noise…the list goes on. I had 50 tabs open on my computer, several text messages of advice on my phone, hundreds of trip advisor reviews memorized and NOT ONE decision made.

Why?

Because I only trust the bad reviews.

Let’s break it down.

On one hotel, 1,130 people had reviewed it. Out of those, 1,110 were amazing, 9 were okay, and 11 were bad.

My (computer) mouse ran through the maze like a cat was chasing it and hid under the 11 bad reviews. It set up camp and invited friends over. Doubt came, frustration brought flowers and hesitation stayed the night.

A pattern emerged. How did I completely believe 11 people who had a bad experience, but not over a 1000 people who would return over and over again?

Did I do this with people? Do I sit down to read all the worst reviews on them, but merely skim over the good? Do I trust the negative, but mistrust the positive?

Is this what had happened in my marriage?

You see, my darling husband had made a promise to me before we got married. It was a private promise of a worldly matter. And although he tried his very best, the promise was not fulfilled. Our first year of marriage was hard and a lot of it had to do with me not being able to trust him because he didn’t follow through on that one promise. Seriously? He followed through on a million other promises and I still held on to that one negative from way back when and that is who I chose to believe he was.

For lack of a better term, it  I was just silly.

So, I have decided to rewrite my pattern. To re-teach myself a new way of trust. This is my new mantra and this is how I am going to earn my medal.

These are the days for change

These are the days for brave

These are the days for trust and the ways of faith.

I will trust the best of you and love the worst of you.

I will ask for forgiveness and forgive myself.

I will trust the bright and the beautiful; your word and your action.

I will loosen my expectations and hold your hand tighter.

 I will wear my little black dress at home.

I might even wear heels.

Friends, is trust hard for you? Does your global girl match your local girl? Who do you need to trust a little more?

Love,

Ria

This time last year

This time last year, I was still here. 

In Perth, in bed, TV on in the background and me checking my phone every two seconds. 

You see, my sister was about to have a baby. In Canada. 

Wallets are mean, and money is meaner. I couldn't be there. 

So, this time last year, I was still here. 

But nothing was ordinary. We welcomed a new addition to our family and honestly, everything felt different. 

I wasn't the baby anymore, and I wasn't even upset about it. My replacement was way cuter. 

This time last year, we were given this little gift and he came in the form of a Nathaniel. 

Which literally means "Gift from God" and we loved him so much that his parents made our love for him his second name.

David-- BELOVED. Oh how beloved was he. From the very start. 

His mother beloved him with sacrifice and nourishment and agape. His father beloved him with hard work and laughter and really careful driving on that first car ride home. His grandparents beloved him with songs and legacy and deeply funny face making. And we? His aunt and uncle, from all the way over here, we beloved him with face time kisses and hand made toys and prayers for a big,bright future. 

Nathaniel, you will always be a gift of God and you will always be beloved. Don't forget it, kid. 

SO TODAY! You are a WILD ONE. 365 days have passed since 'this time last year', we have come to see you and we have held you, we have changed your diapers and we have sung you to bed. We celebrated your first Christmas and we forced nicknames on our selves that you will call us for the rest of your life. Forgive us, it was all in the name of love. 

We are so proud of you. It might seem silly to you that we are proud of you for being one, but let me tell you what an incredible one year old you are. 

You are kind, you say hello to everyone.

You have the most adorable laugh and you use it all the time. 

You love to play on the piano and you love it when we sing. 

You hold the little toys I made you close, and you look cute on that one blanket I stitched. 

You overcome your fears quickly, but you are a wonderfully cautious child. 

You say 'HEERRE' when we shout "Where's Nathaniel?' and you are so wicked smart. 

So today, Wild One, I'm still a little far away, but my heart is right beside yours. 

And as much as the tears feel like they are close, today is not a day for crying. 

Today is a day for celebration, because you my dear one- are all kinds of celebration. 

Today is a day to scream from the rooftops that WE LOVE YOU, and a day for cake with sprinkles and sparklers. Oh and video to remind you that you are so beloved. 

XO

Iggy