Ever After



A Perfect 10!

Posted in: Ariana

A decade ago, I was a brand new mother with a brand new baby who would wouldn’t nurse; who cried incessantly; and who, when not crying, was pooping through more diapers and more clothes than I thought possible.  But despite these early challenges, I couldn’t imagine loving anyone more than I loved her.

I can remember the day I went back to work.  While still dark outside, I crept into Ariana’s room tastefully decorated in vintage-style Beatrix Potter and placed my precious seven-week-old daughter in her crib.  (She typically slept in the carseat by my side during the night).  I carefully covered her up with my “blankie”–a tattered blue and white checked quilt with prairie-point edging that I had received as a gift when I was a newborn.  I knew that my absence was unavoidable–you can’t eat love–and I hoped that this blanket that I had slept with for nearly thirty years would be the next best thing to having me there.

The northeast corner of 45th South and Riverboat Road in Salt Lake City.  That’s where I was sure I was going to die of a broken heart.  As I neared my office, a passage from one of my favorite books came to mind and reassured me that I would survive:

The ties that bind us to life are tougher than you imagine, or than anyone can who has not felt how roughly they may be pulled without breaking. You might be miserable without [Ariana], but even you could live; and not so miserably as you suppose. The human heart is like india-rubber; a little swells it, but a great deal will not burst it. If little more than nothing will disturb it, little less than all things will suffice to break it. As in the outer members of our frame, there is a vital power inherent in it. (Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte)

I endured that day and others like it.  And somewhere along the way, Ariana and I reached a peaceable compromise to nursing, she stopped crying, started pooping in the potty, and has developed into one of the kindest, most amazing people I know.

As the next ten years will inevitably slip by just as quickly as the prior ten, this digital time capsule will help me remember my favorite firstborn as she is today:

  1. The Harry Potter books, all seven of them.  She read the series multiple times over the summer and only after parental “encouragement” has she started in on a new series–The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.
  2. Legos.  Harry Potter Legos, to be exact, but she loves all kinds and spends hours and hours building and rebuilding.  I love that.
  3. An American Girl catalog.  But we’d have to beat Dad to the mailbox; the catalog never makes it safely into the house when he gets the mail.
  4. A bowl of homemade soup.  Ariana loves soup, and last week while I was preparing dinner, she waxed poetic about the pan of steamy goodness:   “A bowl of soup is a peace offering to winter.”
  5. Denim capris and an Aeropostale t-shirt.  Cousin Claire’s hand-me-downs are Ariana’s preferred garb–nothing fancy or feminine.
  6. A wallet full of money.  She’s our little cheapskate with dreams of becoming the world’s youngest real estate tycoon (and owner of a cupcake shoppe).
  7. A composition notebook and a big box of crayons.  As author and artist, Ariana is gifted in her ability to write and create.
  8. A “pass along” card.  Admirably, Ariana is not afraid to share her beliefs with others.  During the first week of school, one of her classmates was taking the Lord’s name in vain several times a day.  When she heard him use profanity at recess, Ariana chased him down and kindly asked him to stop.  “I felt like everyone was looking at me run after him, but I knew that I needed to ask him to stop saying those things.”  You go, girl!  May we all be so bold in standing up for that which we deem sacred.
  9. A “paino” festival ribbon.  Ariana’s unintentional misspelling of “piano” has become a running joke in our home.  She doesn’t enjoy practicing “pain-o,” but I’d include one of the ribbons she’s won to remind her that good things come to those who work.
  10. An autographed copy of Good Eats by Alton Brown.  She’s his biggest fan.

Ariana, I couldn’t be more proud of who you are and what you are becoming.


A state fair/carnival-theme birthday party with the Conway cousins (and Grandma/Grandpa)


  • Comment by Judy — September 2, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

    I remember that day she was born and all ya went through after. But you both came out shining and still are shining! Looks like a fun birthday party!

  • Comment by mar~ — September 3, 2010 @ 7:28 am

    Oh, Guppy! You are the sweetest double-digit girl ever! It wasn’t so long ago that my girls had just hit double digits and turned 10. 10 seems so grown up, doesn’t it?!
    You are a perfect 10! You are smart and talented, beautiful and kind. You care about the things that matter and you love others without hesitation. What a gal! What a guppy!
    Love to you!

  • Comment by Heidi HO — September 3, 2010 @ 10:14 am

    I should be exercising right now, but I love this post. It helps me remember what a great time we had this summer. I love the picture of mom trying to pop the balloon. Arian you are such a sweet and special girl. You remind me so much of Claire. How lucky and blessed we are to have you! I love you Nana, Oreoana, Guppy & Ariana!

  • Comment by Deanna — September 5, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

    Happy birthday Ariana!! You really are an amazing girl!

  • Comment by julie — September 7, 2010 @ 8:08 am

    Happy Birthday Ariana.

  • Comment by Claire — September 7, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

    Happy Birthday!

    I miss you so much! I loved that birthday party. Good times! 🙂 <3

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