I have not spent a birthday eve without reflecting on the beginning, the middle, the where we are now. There has been so much said about you, people you have walked past and with and far beyond… whispering the path of your days.

A baby girl at 11:20

You two haven’t left the hospital yet but here are dresses for today, tomorrow, her first day of preschool, kindergarten and Easter of 2001.

We are recommending physical, occupational and speech therapy.

It is hard to say at what point those sounds may become words, or if they will at all, but we will work on it.

Hot dog” and “cheese” (your first)

We do not recommend a general education setting.

She cannot sit on the story rug because she cannot tie her shoes.

You have how many coming? Her grandparents? Two uncles? Her great-grandmother? Great Aunt too?

There is not a day that goes by that she doesn’t make me laugh.

I have never seen her without a smile on her face.

She no longer needs assistance in math class.

I will never look at autism the same again.

Your daughter, she just brightens my day.

She has taught me so much more than I have taught her.

Thank you for sharing her with us.

She gives the best hugs… has confidence in herself… is the sweetest student in my class… loves everyone the same… does not see any differences… has surpassed all of our original goals.

A baby girl at 11:20.

My baby girl, 17 years ago.

The first to teach me about loving far beyond what I ever knew possible, that “family” is so much more than two parents and a goldfish and that the world is best seen with your eyes closed and your heart wide open.

Happy Birthday to my first born, I hope I have given you a whisper of what you have given me.

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  1. says

    My goodness, Jessica. I just can’t believe how you continuously blow me away with your words and with your heart. I could read your perspective, your world all day long. Congratulations on such a beautiful, beautiful job – not with your words – with your daughter. Happy 17 to both of you! So much love to you!
    Tayarra recently posted..WW: Fav Instagram Pics from the last week

  2. says

    Happy Birthday Ashlyn! You and your mother are super special and have had a huge, positive impact on my life.

    Jessica, I know that I haven’t been in touch lately (busy with blogging stuff of my own) but I think of you and your brood often.

    I was given the “Liebster Award” and would like to pass on the torch to you. FYI, Liebster is a German word meaning sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

    I hope that you will stop by for a visit, read and pass on the award. You can find my post here, http://www.journeysofthezoo.com/2012/07/liebster-award-recipient.html

    I hope that you enjoy Blogher 2012 and I look forward to reading your posts.

    Besos, Sarah
    Zookeeper at Journeys of The Zoo
    Mother to Two Triplets
    Sarah at Journeys of The Zoo recently posted..Recipient of the Liebster Award = I Am Nice.

  3. says

    This is breathtakingly beautiful and heart felt. It’s like it was just yesterday… That feeling. That never goes away. No matter how old our children get, we will always remember it all like it was just yesterday. Happy Birthday to your daughter. xo.
    Jessica recently posted..11 Habits of Great Photographers

  4. says

    Happy happy birthday sweet Ashlyn! You and your mom are amazing. Today is our twins’ birthday eve and I too can’t believe how fast these little people grow up! Hope you all have a fantastic day and a great year! xo

  5. Alysia says

    This was the most beautiful birthday post I’ve ever read. Thank you for the reminder to look at where we all were. Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter.
    Alysia recently posted..New York, New York

  6. Courtney Kirkland says

    I can’t believe she’s 17 already! Happy, Happy Birthday to her! I hope that you all have a wonderful day together. I have to say, even though I’ve never met you or your family, your stories…her stories…have changed my heart and impacted me more than you know. :)
    Courtney Kirkland recently posted..What’s in a Name?

  7. says

    tears, tears, tears: and the good kind.

    I hear you: if only a whisper of what they’ve given me.

    They are happy with so little: and they only ask that they be accepted.

    Happy birthday to you, special angel.

    Alexandra recently posted..Hazards of Summer

  8. Kate says

    Beautiful~what a loving heartfelt post! Happy Birthday! Can’t believe you have a 17 yr. old!

  9. says

    I hope that Ashlyn has the best birthday ever! And honestly…. with you as a mom I think that she will!

    My daughter will be 17 this year too… I often wonder where the time has gone. Don’t you?
    Jackie recently posted..Things I can’t say…

    • says

      Thanks so much Jen, she has plans for a new phone and a fantastic cake recipe we found on Pinterest so we’re looking forward to the day.

    • says

      Thank you so much Jenni, I had a hard time finding a way to express her years, hoping my words did them justice in some small way.

  10. says

    Happy 17th Birthday, Ashlyn. Your gift goes beyond just your family. Your very presence and the joy you bring to your mom and family, extends to all of us who read her words. Have a beautiful day, and omigosh, SEVENTEEN. :)
    Alison recently posted..A Force of His Own

    • says

      I’m thinking the same thing Alison, omigosh, 17! And thank you for your words, I like to think her spirit is contagious and I love to be able to share it here.