When Nate and I were discussing names for our baby girl, we both fell in love when he suggested “Mabel.” It was delicate and girly, retro and classic, spunky and adventurous. To me, it felt like a name that would be chosen if Princess Grace, Princess Diana and Eleanor Roosevelt all had a glorified trifecta of a love-child. Then, just to add the unnecessary cherry on top of an already quintessential sundae, I looked up the origin. And there on our computer screen arose the perfect word. The word that defines our baby girl we have grown so very fond of over the past year. The word that anyone who meets her, even if just for a nanosecond, would use to describe her. The word – clear as day and true as life – was: “Lovable.”
Today our little girl turned one. She’s been in our lives for 365 days and every single one has been filled with more joy than the one before. She makes it easy to get up in the morning, regardless of the lack of sleep she let you get overnight, because in your head, you just know that today will be even happier than yesterday. It’s like a money-back guarantee that accompanied her at birth. And so far, we’re insanely satisfied with our product.
In one year, we’ve learned a lot about little Miss Mabes. She wasted no time learning to smile. Learning to roll over. Learning to stand up. She’s anxious to keep up with her brother and, if I were a gamblin’ man, I’d bet she laps his walking record by about six months. She has cheeks that people always claim they want to squeeze, but Nate and I don’t see it until we sit her next to a normal-cheeked child. She doesn’t sleep through the night just yet, but again, due to knowing nothing different, Nate and I just go with it assuming it’s how all babies are at that age (ignorance is bliss and I’d like to keep it that way). She has found good friends in her stuffed lion and monkey, which she has lovingly labeled “ba-ba” and “la.” You guessed it – “la” is the monkey. She sleeps with a pink satin-edged lamb blankie given to her by my mom on her baptism day. It says “Jesus loves you” on it and, even though Mabel may not know who the heck Jesus is yet, when I look into her eyes, I feel blessed by something, so maybe that blanket has the right idea. I love hearing her play with her dad in the basement, shooting hoops and playing cars. Nate claims she has “a good shot” already and he would do anything under the sun to get her to laugh. Her laugh is deep and full of belly, just raspy enough to be adorable so to not be 100% Cliff Huxtable. What I treasure more than anything in my life right now is every moment that I get to witness her playing with her brother. Their kinship is indescribable. It’s more something that just needs to be seen because there are no words cute(?) enough to explain it.
Since day one, Mabel has been our smiler. She thinks everything Coen does or says is hilarious and has no qualms about showing him how amusing she thinks he really is. The best part about her is her willingness to share her joy with those who need it, appreciate it, and genuinely love it. Just the other day, I was at a check-out counter holding Mabel in my arms when the lady behind the register started telling me about her new granddaughter who lives in Arizona and how sad it makes her to not be able to watch her grow on a daily basis. I clumsily mumble something about how she should invest in a timeshare down there (or something else equally thematically ridiculous) and wished her a good day. As to say, “Hey mom, have a heart,” Mabel shot her the grandest grin she’s ever plastered across her face. Not only did my daughter save her conversationally-challenged mother in that moment, but she made this new grandmother ooh, aah, and gasp with happiness. I packed the kids up in the car and as we drove away, I waved at the cashier who had stepped outside for a smoke break. Without Mabel’s charm, I don’t know if the lady would’ve given me a second look, but she smiled and waved and even chuckled a bit behind her cigarette. My daughter did that.
Although the “Lovable” defines the name “Mabel”, almost everyone calls her Mabes. I call her Miss Mabel. My dad often chimes “Mabel, Mabel, set the table.” Her godfather calls her “Maby Baby.” My brother calls her straight “Maby.” And one kid at work thinks it’s funny to call her “Perhaps”. Truth is, I love every version of her name. I love how it’s spelled. I love seeing it and writing it and hearing it. I love that it belongs to her. And after one year of getting to know her more than anyone else on this planet, I can say without a shred of doubt that I love everything about who she is.
Mabel Claire, you’ve added so much good to this family, I don’t even know how to begin to thank you. You’ll forever be my little peanut, my little turkey butt, my little Mabes Babes. Happiest of one years to you! Looking forward to seeing what our tomorrows will bring.
Enjoy her one-year video created lovingly and proudly by her mommy and daddy: