Your daughter just crawled up on my lap and laid her head on the beat of my heart. ‘Auntie Hanna, do you have a baby sister like me,’ she asks? ‘Your mommy is my baby sister, honey. I was your age when she was born.’

Her big blue eyes sparked and she looked up at me in wonder, as if she had never heard our tale before. ‘Oh my goodness. You and mom are just like me and baby Esme,’ she whisperedAnd my heart skipped a beat.

I remember the day you were born. Someone ushered us into the room. I remember the tears on mom’s cheek, her funny gown, and the smell of citrus. I stood on my toes to peer into your bassinet. I remember the weight of you when you filled my arms. I had no idea the impact of that moment. I had no idea that all my trails would eventually lead back to you. I knew nothing about sisterhood. Or about the deep well of love that I would draw from my whole life through.

At the wedding last week I cried behind my camera.  A mother danced with her son. Her gray hair floated around her like a crown. I thought about Maddox when he looked at her. I wondered about the fine-lines and wrinkles, about all the stories and joys and heartache endured and overcome. I wondered about how it must feel to have that last fine dance with the boy who is now man, who is your body, who is you and your whole heart? And then I thought about you, when I saw her sister watching in the background, her eyes brimming with tears, her hand cupped over her mouth. She knew. She always knew. And Heidi, it will be us next.

It is hard to believe there are ten little souls now. Ten heartbeats. Ten sets of eyes that flutter open every new day. Blessings, every one. One of my greatest honors in life is raising our tassle side-by-side.

Yesterday your brilliant body parted like the red sea. In pain and tears and with all the love in your heart, with a warriors holler, and every ounce of strength –  you gave life. You were the most beautiful version of yourself that I’ve ever seen. You were, once again, the northern lights ripping across a dark sky.

Harper and Esme are day 2 of sisterhood. And they have no idea.

May all their trails wind and weave together. May they continually draw from the same deep well. May they be so blessed as we have been.

I love you, Heidi, more than I can even put in words. She is so, so beautiful. And so are you.