I cringe at the thought of you turning seven on Saturday.
I know I write this every year but I have to say it again this year – where has the time gone? In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday when you were the only baby in this family and I relish those memories of us in that shoebox bungalow in the trendy area of town where we could walk just about anywhere and you loved to feed the ducks.
And in some ways, it feels like a lifetime ago.
But I can still hear your squeals of delight and waves of giggles over the discovery of all things new – which was pretty much everything.
I can still see you at your Kindermusik class with your legs planted firmly on the ground as you intensely swayed back and forth to the music you loved.
I can still feel your damp, warm skin against mine as you wore your pink hooded towel and we snuggled while I sang “Mommy’s Big Girl Burrito” – a silly song I made up for such a time as this and was carried over to your little brothers a few years later. I remember the smell of your lavender-infused shampoo and drink in the wispy blonde of your hair.
Like Jesus’ mama, Mary, will I carry these things in my heart for always?
Because as you grow older and you begin to not need me as much for your every-moment survival, as I only now and then see glimmers of that little baby you once were, and as I mourn the fact that it would look weird if I carried you around on my hip, I realize those tiring years I often wanted to forge right through I now miss with a vengeance.
Don’t get me wrong, Sissy Q. I adore the little girl you are and the young woman you are becoming. Your love of stuffed animals (more than one little girl should humanly possess), your giggles and pretend play with your friends, your love for your little brothers who ADORE you beyond reason, your snuggles and those nighttime conversations where you reveal your heart make me so grateful to Him that He is a God of grace and mercy. It’s stuff like this that made me want to be a mom in the first place and I love the dream that has become a reality.
Your faith in Him is astounding and I’ve learned so much from you. You walk by faith and not by sight and you just take truth for what it is. Truth.
I see you applying that truth and a strange thing has happened – somewhere along the way, you have become MY teacher.
You have taught me about untainted and pure love. A grace that knows no limits. How to discipline and correct with love but not exasperation (and no, I realize I don’t always do this but I’m still learning) To enjoy the simple, to slow down and giggle, and to just stop now and then and sing a silly song that doesn’t make sense.
You are my little girl.
And I don’t really care how old you are, Sis.
Because even if this were your 50th birthday and I was sitting in my rocking chair at the age of 81, I would still see your face as I saw it when you were born. As a nine month old baby with peas running down your face. As a toddler learning to walk. As a preschooler in love with all things new. As a little girl about to go to Kindergarten. Your first day of first grade at a new school.
I’ll never forget these images, doll. Not as long as I shall live.
Because like Mary, I’m treasuring all these things and while I may sometimes forget to ponder them for too long because well, I’m not quite the mom I thought I would be and I’m far more tired than I expected, you’ve taught me that the treasures I’ll take to heaven are not things.
They’re you. The knowledge of every step of your life. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I would never choose to do anything else but be your mom full-time.
So on this day that we give you gifts and we celebrate the “you-ness” of you, may you know that it’s YOU who actually has given me the gift, sweet girl.
Watching you grow up is all I’ve ever wanted. Ever.
I thank you for the privilege of raising you.
But please just slow down a bit.
I love you,
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. – Luke 2:19