On Thursday, I went out with the girls to pick miniature oranges, and I was a little unsure whether those irregular contractions mean something or not.
On Friday morning, I was pretty sure I am in early labor.
On Friday afternoon, just a few minutes before the lighting of the Shabbat candles, my son Israel made his grand appearance into this world. I heard him before I saw him - a loud, powerful cry. Then he was placed on my chest, and I held him to me, and I've been holding him ever since.
Words fail me when I try to describe the great joy, the profound gratitude I feel for having him. I just feel so lucky that G-d chose to give this little boy to me, and so lucky that I am the one who gets to take care of him, snuggle him, and play with him every hour of every day.
So, happy birthday, little one. I hope your life is wonderful. I hope I can be the mother you need to help you grow up happy and healthy, and to develop the unique gifts which will undoubtedly be discovered when you are older. Among those gifts, I hope and pray you will always retain the ones you have today: a pure joy of living, a passion for discoveries, and a radiant, conquering smile.