Alba is Three

(This is the most recent photo of you, taken by Noël. Your last day as a two year old)

My dearest Alba,

Today you turn three. Three years seems very little, yet somehow you have filled the last three years of my life with so much joy it feels like an eternity.

I remember the first time I held you in the arms. The morning light was coming through the windows of our mountain home and I was so exhausted but so happy. Happier than I have ever been in my entire life. You were here and I was whole. Somehow you’re not a baby any longer, and that is okay. It’s wonderful actually, seeing you blossom into the amazing little girl that you are today.

Alba Joy, you were always with me. I imagined you for a long time before you were born, long before I’d ever met your Papa. Somehow you turned out bigger and brighter than my wildest imaginings. Of the endless things I love about you right now, I will share just ten.

One.
The way you tell me “Mama, you’re so beautiful,” in awe every single time I brush my hair, or have a shower, or put on a dress. And though I may shake my head in reply to anyone else (oh, I know I shouldn’t); with you I always glow with pride, every single time.

Two.
The way you run. Every few leaps becomes a skip and it is so ridiculously sweet that strangers pause to watch. You stop to smell flowers and collect feathers and talk to ants every now and then and I am reminded that magic is real after all.

Three.
The way you close your eyes smiling when you cuddle me, as though nothing in the whole wide world could make you happier.

Four.
The way you burst out in song, even if we’re in a quiet waiting room.

Five.
The way you listen. Whether it’s about sugar or road safety or accepting things we cannot change, you take it all in. I don’t know how I got so lucky with you and perhaps I am speaking too soon, but the terrible twos were not so terrible at all.

Six.
Your giggle. I swear I could bottle that sound and sell it. You laugh at my jokes even when they’re so lame no one else would. And not even in a pitiful way, you genuinely think I’m hilarious and I genuinely think you’re hilarious right back. Because you are, especially late at night.

Seven.
Your grumpy face and your grumpy voice. When you cross your arms over your chest and glare at me I am secretly trying not to laugh. I’m sorry, it’s not that I don’t think your feelings are valid (I get it, you’re mad that I painted the flower you wanted with the wrong shade of blue and it’s a serious thing) I just can’t help it.

Eight.
How easy-going and resilient you are. Things haven’t been easy for us this past year, it’s been the hardest year of my life, but you continue to amaze me. We’re still finding our place in the world but in the meantime you embrace it alongside me with that cheeky grin on your face, rich with love.

Nine.
The way you say “Mmm, this so yummy Mama!” between mouthfuls of my cooking. Whether it’s a green smoothie or an eggplant curry or a random concoction of whatever-is-in-the-fridge. Your opinion is the one I care about most. I’m so happy I get to have a fellow foodie as a daughter and best friend.

Ten.
The way you forgive me for not always being perfect. Your love is unconditional and I am so blessed to have it. More blessed than I will ever know and endlessly thankful. I will always try to be the best Mama I can for you.

Happy birthday moonflower,
Here’s to your bright and marvellous existence, it has only just begun.
Love, Mama.

(Pictures by your Mama & Papa.)

78 love notes

  1. I will right away snatch your rss as I can’t find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Please allow me understand in order that I could subscribe.

    Thanks.

  2. Wow, I’ve just been sitting here for the past hour or two pouring over this blog of yours, falling in love with your photography and your words. Then a particular photo in this post caught my eye, one I recognised instantly, though it took my a few moments to realise where I had seen it before. It was on the cover of a German magazine. A magazine that a photo of my children are in too. Small world. Though, I guess it’s not that much of a coincidence… but still.

  3. I’ve read the post in which you talk about Alba’s dad. It has been very melancholic to me, line after line. But you know — in the world, this could happen and people like you are truly strong facing the reality of the detachment. Being Mama&Papa all alone, in some way. But it’s nice to realize you always see the bright side of life instead of being let down by memories. A few words, they come to my mind, from a letter of Mary Wollstonecraft.

    “When a warm heart has received strong impressions, they are not to be effaced. Emotions become sentiments; and the imagination renders even transient sensations permanent, by fondly retracing them.”

    Have a good and adventurous life, you two.

    Flavia

  4. There is so much love in that post, it is just beautiful. I wish the best for you, your daughter, and everyone you love.

  5. This is so beautiful, you have continued to inspire and refresh my outlook on life for years. Having just coming out of my teenage years your subtle influence on me has truly made me into a person I am proud of, because I know I value the small and beautiful things in life. Thank you. Alba is so beautiful!

    xx

  6. modern life makes us live faster and faster, and we dont enjoy little moments,
    thank you so much for remind me to enjoy every moment that I spend with my children

  7. Many birthday wishes for Alba. I am sure she will be moved when she reads these posts years from now.
    Take care x
    Kleopatra (www.thepastharmonises.blogspot.com)

  8. Happy birthday beautiful Alba Joy! You are clearly your mamas pride and joy. Keep growing and learning and you will never stop ceasing to amaze the world!
    Little side note: My own little Alba Rose also just turned 3 on December 8th too!

  9. happy birthday to the lovely, gentle alba. she is loved by so many people. as i was reading through this entry, skimming every picture, i marveled at how much she has grown. how much she has learned and experienced in her lifetime. but then i couldn’t help but think how much I’VE grown in the past three years, how much I’VE experienced in what is just a small portion of my life, but an entire lifetime for alba. and it’s amazing and wild and surreal. i can’t wait to see what the future has in store for each and every one of us. i love you both to the stars and back.
    -maggie from chicago

  10. This is the sweetest. It’s a good reminder for me to take more photos of my little one before she turns one.
    I love the photo of her in the red dress against all the green- little strawberry!

  11. Very happy bithday for Alba. You’re just the most amazing, incredible and magical person in the world!
    The way you feel, write and picture everything… I don’t have proper words to describe it.
    I am sure Alba has the best mama she could have! One day she would understand how lucky she is.
    big warm hugs from London, UK

  12. Nirrimi the thing you wrote is so absolutely beautiful – if your daughter is as amazing as you describe, you have to know that her Mama was a great part of making so. And this is what I thank you for. Beacuse all we need in this world is more loving and caring people.

  13. I had our Son 4 weeks ago today & the amount of joy he has brought to our lives already astounds me on a daily basis! Children are the ultimate source of happiness!

    Happy Birthday Miss Alba!
    Xo

  14. Nirrimi, you and your daughter seem like such beautiful souls. Happy birthday Alba Joy, three is a very good age to be, I am sure that it holds many adventures for you and you seem like you have a wonderful mama to be on that journey with you! Nirrimi I have read your blog but have felt a sense of being a stranger to you and your life which has stopped me from commenting but I I have wanted to say to you that I have read post on being a young mama and it is truly inspiring to hear a young woman say out loud the sentiments that I feel in my heart so truly and have done since I was young and now to see you are the proud mama of a three year old beautiful girl is really a joy. I have felt the deep yearning to be a mama for a while now but I have recently been pouring my focus into work. Your blog is what I look at when I feel trapped by my study and I want to thank you for your honesty and your romanticism of life, which is so beautiful and deserves to be shown as such. I hope that you and your family continue to approach life in the way that you do and this is just to let you know that there is a woman on the complete other side of the world that you bring joy to through art, and hope to through your stories.
    Best wishes
    Rose

  15. This week I have learned that I’m pregnant with my first baby, and your post has given me butterflies for my future. These are beautiful photos and such precious memories. Thank you for sharing.

  16. That was very touching and I hope she delights in reading it once older. She has a great life ahead of her – more so with such a powerful name 🙂 (No bias there whatsoever lol).

  17. Your love to your daughter is amazing. I really admire you and I think everyone should read these words. Happy birthday Alba! 🙂

  18. happy birthday alba joy! i can’t believe she is three years old already. she’s such a beautiful little ray of light <3

  19. happy 3rd birthday, alba! your mama’s words always make me cry. I teared up at this post. I love watching your journey. Hugs to you. You’re a very special person in this universe <3

    love, polly
    pollybland.com

  20. Your writings make me believe again, every time.

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields.

  21. I began following this blog years ago when I was in college in New York. Inspired by your photographs, I cherished your perfunctory grace and poetic words. Your life has blossomed. Your photographs are fiercely beautiful as is your daughter and as are you. This post tickled my heart and made me feel the warmth of a kind of love I did not think possible. Thank you for sharing!

  22. When I picture a beautiful life, I see something like yours. it seem so free and happy. I think your world looks beautiful. And happy birthday to Alba!

  23. She is so damn beautiful in all that she is. You too, Nirrimi. Got so much love for the two of you without even knowing you in person at all. x

  24. every word, every image, filled with so much love. though I don’t even know you, tears on my face. tears of joy and of deep understanding.

  25. this is precious 🙂 i know i’d love to have something like this to read from anyone in my family. one day alba is going to be able to read this and turn back time 🙂

  26. Thank you for this…always love your posts…this one is really full of love..it touched my heart, my daughter just turned 3…thank you for the inspiration,

    Judith

  27. Happy birthday gorgeous girl!
    Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures and your memories, they are such a joy to read. My little one is soon to turn two and I’m nodding my head as I read your top ten of loveliness. Time goes quick, it’s wonderful to record and preserve those precious moments. Much love to the little lady xxx

  28. Nirrimi I absolutely adore all your photos and your writing. We are the same age and I have been following your art for many years, long before Alba was born. I love following your story. I smile at the good things happening for you, and I draw strength from you knowing that unfortunately not everything has gone well for you but still you soldier on with this amazing courage and happiness (I don’t know how you do it). I love watching Alba grow, even though it is only online 🙁 her name is perfect by the way! I can’t tell you enough but you have set the bar for me for good parenting. I will always aspire to being as caring and strong as you are, through the good and the bad. Much love from the interwebs in Melbourne xx

  29. That photo at the bottom, where you’re barely showing and M’s hand is on what was a tiny Alba is one of the most beautiful and powerful images I’ve seen. I’ve been following your work and your life since you were fifteen and these new chapters of your life are so beautiful and Alba is darling.

  30. Three years! Oh my goodness, Alba Joy you are such a wonder, and blessed beyond comprehension to have such a beautiful, loving soul for a Mama xx Have the bestest day both of you!

  31. This had me smiling from the first words. What a fantastic thing for Alba to see later on 🙂 I love this post! happy 3rd birthday Alba Joy.

  32. I never comment as I prefer to just enjoy your lovely photos and writing but wanted to say how absolutely beautiful this post is. Happy birthday to your girl.

  33. Beautiful post and photos! Happy birthday to your girl. Time flies very fast, especially when you have a kid.. Sometimes I can’t believe that my elder son is already 7! (And I’m turning 30 in a few more years.. Eeeks.)

    May alba have a wonderful and blessed birthday!

    http://smittenbyangels.blogspot.com

  34. What I just read is beyond beautiful. Congratulations on such a beautiful daughter. I’m so glad to witness through your words such experience of love. I’ve been reading your posts for a while now and find each one of them really inspirational, but never dared to write a comment on how much your words touch me. However, today I decided to write because I don’t want to miss the occasion of wishing your little girl a beautiful birthday and a bright life full of magical moments and magical people.

  35. Nirrimi this is so beautiful oh my. Alba is growing into such a gorgeous girl and she’s as lucky to call you her mama as you are to call her your daughter. You can already tell she’s going to grow up to be as loving and soul stirring as you. xx

  36. Beautiful, your love for each other warms my heart. It’s inspired me to articulate my love for my own mother, thank you.

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