The best change of my whole life | Editorial

Since I moved to Maple Valley eight and a half years ago so much has changed, both personally and professionally, for me.

This newspaper has operated out of four different offices in Kent, Maple Valley and now Covington.

I’ve worked for more publishers than I can count, three different editors, two different companies. I’ve won awards. I’ve been promoted. I’ve watched reporters come and go.

In my personal life I’ve celebrated many wedding anniversaries, birthdays, holidays and events, passed out dozens of pounds of candy on Halloween in a period of my life that has been more stable in many ways I never would have imagined growing up in Section 8 apartments in Bellevue.

The most significant event, however, happened three years ago. My daughter, Lyla, was born Nov. 18, 2009. When I was pregnant with her and through the first year or so of her life, I wrote about the ups and downs of pregnancy as well as new motherhood both in the paper as well as in a blog on the Reporter website.

As things have changed around here at the paper and as Lyla has gotten bigger — her social calendar is busier than mine! — everything has gotten busier so it’s been harder to keep everyone up to date on life with Lyla.

At this point she is about three feet tall and approaching 30 pounds. Yes, she is a tiny thing but she has a huge personality. A good friend of mine has a little girl a few weeks older than Lyla and she affectionately calls her daughter a tiny dictator.

That is so appropriate for my baby girl, too, who is truly a miniature version of me. She’s stubborn, impatient, hard headed and independent. She knows what she likes: Jessie from “Toy Story,” Rapunzel from “Tangled,” anything to do with the “Cars” movie franchise, playing with trucks, climbing on things then jumping off them without warning, balloons, pink, her purple owl hoodie from Old Navy, my iPod or iPad or my husband’s iPhone, books, Disney Junior and running around. The list, of course, goes on.

Now she is talking. We have whole conversations, which is crazy to me because wasn’t it just last week she was brand new and all she could do was cry?

Those verbal skills, however, are when the tiny dictator is evident.

She will tell me to take off my jacket and shoes when I get home from work.

“Up, Momma!,” Lyla will say once I am done with that. Then she will point at the chair in the family room. “Sit there, Momma!”

Sometimes, when she wants to emphasize a point, Lyla’s words will become guttural. It’s like having a horror movie toddler.

Or, if there’s dancing going on in a movie or show she’s watching, she will grab my finger with her tiny hand and pull me out of the chair.

“Dance! Momma, dance,” Lyla will tell me in an authoritative tone.

Then we will spin around the family room together while giggling. Her laugh, as is the case with many little ones, is utterly contagious.

Lyla is aware of the power of her laugh. Sometimes she will sit in my lap and laugh just to make me laugh.

Her latest game is to run up to me or my husband, poke us somewhat gently in the belly or on the shoulder and say, “Boooooop!”

Um. I have no idea where she got this from. Because she has never witnessed me do that to her daddy. Nope.

Humor is a critical part of our family and I am so glad Lyla has embraced this.

A few months ago I described her as my greatest joy in life. I mean that with my whole heart. As Lyla approaches her third birthday this weekend, I think of her as the sun and I am the planet which orbits closest to her, flourishing in the warmth of her love.

The best part of my day is when I get home from work and my squealing little girl runs up to me, demands I take off my shoes and jacket, pick her up, carry her to the chair I like to sit in or the kitchen to get something for her. In the middle of all that, she throws her arms around my neck and hugs me. Sometimes she gives me a tiny little kiss. Other times she kisses my cheek over and over again, making ridiculous “muah, muah, muah” noises while I laugh because I’ve done that very same thing to her a million times the past three years.

Every day my life changes because Lyla is in it. She has brought the greatest upheaval to our world but in the best kind of way. In the time since we moved to Maple Valey, she has been the best part of all that we’ve experienced, and I look forward to a million more hilarious moments with Lyla.

Happy birthday baby girl!


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