Today is a day of rejoicing in my blessings far more than it is a day of rejoicing in me. It was not always this way. Back when I was still pretty stupid, I expected a lot. Perfect church behavior. The perfect after-church restaurant experience. A present that was clearing a home-run off eBay.
I’m glad I got over that. It’s exhausting to be such a pain in the neck. Trust me. Today I am reflecting on four little people; four love letters from God.
The best way I can share how thankful I am is to post a few thoughts I have written over the years.
Thursday Morning in May, 2010
Happy Birthday. Happy.Birthday. When we brought you home nine years ago and spent 5 full days staring into your face, I couldn’t have imagined I’d still be staring in awe in 2010. I thought I’d eventually get over you. I haven’t. Tonight you were coughing so enthusiastically that I was afraid you might lose something you were going to later need, like a tooth or your uvula. So I kept you home from church. As you began to settle in for sleep, I rubbed your buzzed little head and said, “I am so lucky to be your mom. So lucky.” You opened your eyes and said, “Why, Mama?” As I told you then, I am telling you now. There are hundreds of reasons. You were the first best thing to happen to our family. You were chosen. You are the perfect oldest brother in a family who needs you. You love to read. You love animals. You love the outdoors. You’ll eat absolutely anything. You have a smile that captures hearts even when you are trying not to capture anything! You reach for your baby sister’s hand during the mealtime prayers and she squeezes you across the table. You try hard. You are everything I ever wanted. When your eyes pop open in the morning, it’ll be all about the anticipation of gifts and after school swimming. Right now, in this moment, it’s all about the God who brought us together and a life that is nothing short of spectacular.
Happy Birthday, Boy.
My third child bears a name that means “Bringer of Light” and never has anyone been named more appropriately. She’s a darling that I couldn’t describe if I tried. She is very different from her brothers in her interactions with me. Though I consider the boys to be sweet and affectionate, it is rare that they are still enough to be attentive and receptive to a serious snuggle. This girl likes to be swaddled, even at 18 months, after getting out of the bath. I wrap her in a towel and cradle her until she is ready to get into pajamas. At this point, she just looks into my eyes and talks. It’s a special type of communion that only happens after a bath when she’s wrapped in that towel in my arms. And it’s a special time that only happens because she’s willing to be still and quiet and because she so enjoys this time with just me. It made me consider the difference between her and the boys. It made me consider my own relationship with God. So often, I am like the boys. They love me, but they are racing through the house at break-neck speed with pirate swords, too busy to stop and look into my eyes and take anything away from me. I love God, but how often do I stop and rest against Him so that we can share REAL time? I think the crazy pirate games are great and most of life is made up of such things. But there’s a place for quiet communion. I need to resolve to swaddle myself away from my distractions and let God speak. Thank you, girl, for the lesson.
I have written you so few letters in your 3 years of life and yet you are everybody’s darling.
I remember and relish your birth like it was a free trip to Disney with a stay at the Grand Floridian. Though you were extracted from my body through surgery and my accommodations included mu mus and catheters, it is still one of the greatest times of my life. There was a singularity of purpose to it. A peaceful wash of “this is exactly what I should be doing right now.” For a brief 2 days, there was no pull of guilt that I wasn’t spending enough time with your brothers and sister. There was no thought of what I should cook for dinner. I just knew a French dipped sandwich would be steaming and soggy under a tight plastic wrap, alongside a cup of apple sauce.
I didn’t wonder any of that. I did wonder who you’d be. You were perfect. I also thought you were normal and very quiet. I thought perhaps, by some stroke of chromosomal luck, your dad and I had canceled each other out and had a nice, normal baby. This is clearly not the case. We’ll talk about that later. Right now I’m praising you. 🙂
In those early peaceful moments between just you and me, I marveled at the perfection of you lying swaddled in my arms under a dark head of curls and got a chill up my spine as I thought about anything that might have prevented me from arriving at this moment. I’m so very thankful that God always knows what we need and when we need it. We needed you. Happy Birthday, Dear One.
I love you,
On this Mother’s Day in 2013, I can only say humbly and simply: Thank you, Lord. It always was and still is Your doing.