happy 1st decade, baby girl!!

Ten. You’re ten. 1-0. Two whole numbers. That’s just nuts. It seems like a week ago that I got up in the middle of the night, 22 days before you were supposed to arrive on Christmas Eve, and thought, “Um, am I peeing my pants??”

But, no, you had just decided that, at 7 lbs 13 oz and fully-cooked, there just wasn’t really any good reason not to get this party started RIGHT NOW. You’ve still got that determined (and might I say, impatient) spirit ten years later.

Never mind that one set of your grandparents were off on a hot date in a hotel somewhere and had to cut it short. Never mind that your 18-year-old aunt and her boyfriend were spending the night at our house (in separate rooms) and we had to leave them unattended (gasp!) to go to the hospital. Never mind that your daddy put in his last day at his job the day before (Friday) and his new insurance wouldn’t kick in until Monday (GASP! for real!).

Even though my water technically “broke,” it was really just a trickle and my completely un-dilated cervix had no intention of expelling you into the world anytime soon, so pitocin it was. O-U-C-H. You totally paved the way for Mama to have super-easy labors with your sisters. Thank you. But O-U-C-H. Daddy likes to tell other dads, “Don’t wear your wedding ring while your wife is having contractions, because it will KILL when she squeezes your hand.” (poor baby)

I was really very completely shocked when the doctor told me, “It’s a GIRL!” I thought every last one of you were boys, and of course, I was a little off each time. But I instantly got all emotional and EXCITED about the prospect of my very own (well, to share with Daddy) daughter. I was in heaven. HEAVEN.

And you, my dear, have been more than I could have ever dreamed all those many, many years (that seem like nothing) ago.

I bought you and Ava journals for Christmas six years ago so that I could write to you every now and again (not nearly as often as I wish I would have, but there’s still time). I have it out now, and it’s making me grin.

On 2.10.05, you and your 2-year-old sister Ava were playing with your play phones. Livi: Ava, do you want to call pizza, Grandma, or God? Ava: Grandma. Livi: I’m calling God. (Pause.) Yeah? (Pause.) Yeah. (Pause.) How can you do that if you’re up there? (Pause.) Well, I hardly know you.

You experienced a lot of death when you were little and quickly became very interested in heaven. When you were four, our friend Reggie White died just a few short months after we had visited his family at their house. You liked to talk about him “never ending” in heaven. Then your Great-Grandpa Yoder died, and you wanted to know, “Did he hit his head on the ceiling when he went up to heaven?” Then Mommy lost a little baby that was in her belly for just a short time, and we spent lots of time (me, you and Ava) crying together for the little brother or sister (Ava insisted it was a sister) that we would never know. God sent us sweet Nina so soon after that–we’re sooooo thankful! Then Mommy’s Uncle Greg went to heaven, then your Great-Grandma Marilyn. You loved talking about heaven and how awesome it will be to live there someday.

I was so sad when you climbed on that big yellow bus to go to kindergarten (you were growing up too fast!), and now you’re in FOURTH GRADE. I don’t even know how this happened.

Do you remember losing your first tooth when you were four? And now you’ve lost TWENTY.

Do you remember playing School of the Woods at Grandma Taviano’s? (you guys still do that when you’re there, don’t you?) And remember all those “Publishing Meetings” at the kitchen table with Mommy? That was your very favorite thing to play. You’ve always been so grown up.

Remember when Ava used to say she wanted to get married and have at least 8 kids (and her husband could stay home with them while she went to work), but you insisted that you were never getting married? (and then changed your mind a couple years ago)

I could write a book (maybe I will) about your first decade alone. You’ve packed it full, girl. Lots of moves, new places to live, 52 Zoos in 52 Weeks, an appearance on the Early Show, dreams of going to Cambodia with your family.

For now, I’ll wrap it up with, “I love you.” I love you so, so much, Livi. I can’t believe God gave you to me and your daddy to have and keep for at least 18 years (which are now more than half over!!!). I know that you really, truly belong to HIM and that we just get to borrow you for a bit. I want to soak up every single bit of the time we have left.

You are one of the sweetest, most caring, smartest, most beautiful, funniest, most interesting girls I’ve ever met.

I love you. Happy 10th Birthday, sweetie!

(If you have a birthday wish–or favorite memory–for Livi, I’ll print them out and give them to her. Thanks!)

18 thoughts on “happy 1st decade, baby girl!!

  1. O Mom

    Happy Birthday Livi! I have a 10 year old daughter with a v in her name too! Your Mom is amazing! I bet you’re alot like her! 🙂 Blessings on this 10th year!

  2. Stephanie your sister


    I remember the day you were born too! I was only 15, and I was hanging out with a friend at her house when Grandma called me to say your Mom was going to the hospital. I was SO excited! I couldn’t wait to get there and meet you for the very first time. I treasured that picture of me holding you in the hospital room so soon after you were born. I hung it in my locker at school so I could show people. I wrote a paper about that day and it was put in the newspaper. You were already famous before you could even crawl!

    I can picture you at so many different stages over the years. I remember you dancing around in my Elmo slippers , singing some made-up song, on the back porch at Grandma’s house when you were almost three. I remember jumping on the trampoline with you at Aaron and Jill’s house, all of us holding hands, with your super long, super curly hair bouncing wildly on your back. I remember you crying when your Mommy told you that Ava was going to be a flower girl in my wedding. My heart felt like it was going to break. I wanted her to have a chance to feel special like you had before, and even at the age of five you said you understood that it was her turn to have that special job. I remember you crying with me the times I was sad, and it was at those times I saw you as a friend, not a niece who’s 15 years younger than me.

    I remember the way I loved you more and more over the years, as I got to know you and as you grew and matured. You remind me so much of myself that it’s scary. I’m so thankful for you, Livi! I’m thankful that God has given you a sweet spirit, as well as a feisty one. I’m thankful that you were my very first niece that I ever got to love. I’m thankful that you love me just because I’m your aunt. I’m thankful for your kindness and compassion, your determination and openness. I’m thankful that you’ve given your heart to God and are willing to let Him mold and make you into the woman He wants you to be. Don’t EVER stop letting Him mold you, Livi.

    I can’t believe you’re ten. And yet, I can also hardly believe you’re ONLY ten. You seem older.

    I love you SO much it’s not even funny. You’re my sweet Livi and I miss you like crazy. Happy Birthday!!!!!

    Love, Stephi

  3. Megan Bradford

    Happy Birthday Livi!

    I’ve only gotten the pleasure of meeting you a couple of times, but I can tell you are one special lady! I especially remember how sweet and compassionate you were with my Eli when he felt left out. You were so encouraging to him and made him feel loved. I can tell just by watching your interactions that you have a sweet spirit and that you love our Lord.

    I can’t wait to get to know you and your family better! Hope you had a wonderful 10th birthday!

  4. Amy

    Wow! 10 years old! Happy Birthday, Livi! You are such a blessing to those who know you. You are loved by many…especially by your family. 🙂

  5. Kelli

    Miss Olivia!!

    Happy Happy Birthday!! You are forever in our hearts after your visit to our home! We have loved watching you grow into such a sweet young lady! We can’t wait to see all the big things the Lord has planned for you! Keep up that passionate and sweet spirit!!

    Kelli and Family

  6. Laura

    Miss Livi,
    I know we’ve never met but you have a super cool set of parents who I know love you more than probably mostly everything (even giraffes I bet!) and I wanted to wish you the happiest, most fabulous birthday. I hope you had a super awesome day. Happy Birthday!

    Laura in New York! 🙂

  7. Livi

    Thanks for telling me happy b-day! I would tell the person happy birthday but this time your talking about me. Thanks for the post! I love you too!!!!!!!!!!! I like talking to god on a cell phone!! I forgot all about that. If I talk to him on my pretend phone again I’ll know him better than last time! I love you!


  8. Marla

    Happy Birthday Livi!!!!

    Even though we only met you one time, the way you played with Paxton who wasn’t even 2 at the time, was so special!! (even if it did consist of a lot of screaming, but it was still funny and I have the video to prove it!!) You are a very sweet girl and I hope to see you again soon!

    the other Marla (Mrs. Fletcher)

  9. Gabe Taviano

    Your Dad sure loves you! I’m thankful God has given us these 10 years with you. Life has been so much fun! Glad you’re feeling better on your big day, and that I got to bring Mr. Wok home to you for a special lunch today! I wrote a few things about you today – http://bit.ly/fCGKGw

  10. ali

    Livi! We’re both the oldest sister of little sister(s) and that makes me grin. I see our similarities when I watch you work on a craft, giving attention to each and every detail, taking your time and giving each step sincere thought. I absolutely adore you, and I am so thankful for all of the Taviano girls. Happy Birthday, darling!

  11. Chris Yoder

    Happy 10th birthday, Olivia Joy!:) Your papaw and I were the set of grandparents that were on a “hot date” at a motel when we got the call that you were “on your way.”:) But, you were DEFINITELY worth cutting our little “honeymoon” short.:) Your papaw was an usher at our church, and the ushers wore name tags. Above his name, he put the date you were born, and “First-time” grandpa!:) To say that he was proud would have been the understatement of the century!:) What a precious blessing you have been to us through these past 10 years, Livi!:) I have loved watching you with your sisters. You have shown such tenderness and kindness to them, being a very protective big sister. I love your quiet spirit and your loving ways. I have prayed for you every day, Livi, from the time I found out that your mommy was expecting you, and I will never stop! As I watch you grow and mature, I praise God for answering my prayers for you, honey! You are a precious gift from Him, and my deepest desire for you is to live your life totally and completely for Jesus! Your papaw and I love you so much, Livi Joy!:) Happy Birthday!:)

  12. Jen Hanson

    This was beautiful Marla (though I did blush a little on Livi’s behalf at the part about your un-dilated cervix expelling her into the world. ;-)) But other than that, I was so touched and teary-eyed.

    LIVI!!! You are such a beautiful little lady and I love seeing your gorgeous, smiling face all over your mama’s blog. I am grateful that my sisters have such a cool, sweet, fun cousin to hang out with during the summer. They love you SO much and I know that you will be such a good example to them as you all grow up together. You. Are. Awesome. Happy 10th Birthday!!

  13. janelle

    I can not tell you, what YOU mean to me. Each grandchild to me…is seperate. You each mean something different, yet I love you all the with the same fullness of my heart. You are caring, you seek others before yourself. I took you up to see Grandma Marilyn once by yourself, and all you could do, was worry about Ava and if she should of came. OTHERS…you are about ohters. You will step back and let Reesey do something. You are compassionate and kind. I see you in that little round walker chair, sitting in the front yard, and we a halling couches, tables, books…. and here you go again, a move. And that place became home, because your Mommy and Daddy were with you, then your sisters. You are a friend to your neighbors where ever you are at. Because, Livi you have a deep love , a deep love of JESUS in you. I pray every day, God guards your heart from the world and its influence. I pray that you live in the KINGDOM of God and how HE operates everyday. Livi, grow up, get older, but never, never CHANGE who you are. Never lose your love for others before yourself. Never deny the mind of Christ you have. Your distinction in what you want…GOD has instilled that in you, glorify HIM with your desires. I pray you are feeling better…and if not, rest in JESUS today, HE is with you… Phil. 1: 6 today , tomorrow, next year… Papaw and I love you big. Happy 10th Birthday , Livi !

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