She's already got a nickname - "Leah Bean" popped out of my mouth right away and seems to fit very well, probably because she is just a peanut of a girl. And, yes, we already love her.
Now, that's not because she's beautiful...though, clearly, she is.
And it's not because of how alert and aware she is...though I'll admit to being impressed with her ability to consciously focus her attention on interesting objects and other people (she studied me intently whenever we were face-to-face), a skill many babies her age haven't yet begun to develop.
It's not because of her physical prowess...though this impressed me, too, and she came very close to rolling from her back to her tummy nearly every time she was on the floor.
It's not because she napped like a champ...though I was admittedly wowed by her four-hour (!) power nap (in the swing that - on her mommy's recommendation - remained in the living room amidst all the commotion inherent in a house full of young girls).
Nor is it that she seems to naturally "fit" with the other girls...though she obviously does, as evidenced by what a trooper she was in being passed from girl to girl for these photos.
And it's not even because she gifted me with heart-melting smiles at least a couple dozen times and demonstrated beautiful contentment apart from the (understandably fussy) moments she was hungry, tired, or wet and poopy.
No, it's much more than all of that. After all, not every moment of every day will be pleasant. Babies have hard days on a regular basis - so she'll have times when she's exhausted but can't sleep...starving but is too gassy to eat...sore from teeth about to pop in...and any number of other issues. And, when she gets a bit older, she'll have her sassy moments, just as we all do.
But I love her already - and I'll love her through all of that.
Part of it's a spiritual thing I can't begin to explain - a connection God gave me to her since I got to hold her in the hospital the very day she was born (and probably before then as I prayed for her and her mommy through the pregnancy). And the rest of it is very likely the strong bond I have with Anna - who first came to me when she was just eight weeks old - and the girls' parents.
I've watched Anna grow up and just adore her, so I am already excited about being there for Leah's early years, too. And, because the girls' parents and I share the same faith perspective and child-rearing philosophy, we've had a wonderful relationship through Anna's life...and I can only assume that will continue with Leah.
So a deep sense of peace and contentment washes over me when I think of greeting both girls early tomorrow morning..and the next day and then next week and beyond. Love bears all things so - even if tomorrow is hard in some (or many) ways - it'll still be a blessing...with Leah Bean now along for the ride.