When you were born two weeks early on that very cold, snowy afternoon nine years ago, I held you with the fierceness of a mama bear shielding her new cub from all the terrors of the world. Terrors I never knew existed until I held you in my arms.

Weeks later, I remember feeling a sinking sadness when I nicked your small finger and made it bleed while trimming your miniscule fingernails. Your perfectly packaged self had experienced such a natural part of being human and yet I foolishly thought I could always shield you from those nicks and scrapes. I took it a little hard – especially since I was the one to inflict the pain.

Since then, you’ve experienced thousands of scrapes and scratches and worn millions of Band-Aids (not always because you were hurt but because everyone in our house is obsessed with Band-Aids, injured or not) but with each hurt, a piece of my heart weeps for the simple fact that I can’t put you in bubble wrap and ensure you’re always safe.

In fact, careful and safe aren’t always all they’re cracked up to be but for a mother, yeah . . . we kinda like you to be careful and safe.

Your worth is beyond precious and while you are not my God, you are my daughter. Daughters are a special gift and I thank God for you multiple times a day.

As you grow older and start to experience the twists and turns of life, the good times when you have to pinch yourself to be sure it isn’t a dream and the bad ones when you don’t understand, just know this: I will always be here for you. Always, always. No matter what.

Nine years into this parenting gig, I now understand that I can’t shield you from pain in this life. You will get nicks and scrapes and hear insults and listen to lies people tell you because of their own baggage.

Your heart will be broken by some fool boy that doesn’t know a good thing when he has it (and trust me, he will be a fool to let you go but every woman alive has experienced this so you’re in good company) and you will be saddened by friendships that end without explanation. You will experience the sting of rejection and you will sometimes feel left-out.

This, my baby girl, is life. And life is beautiful, but oh my . . . it can also be so very painful.

But here’s the thing: it’s the pain that makes you real.

Those times when you just don’t understand are the moments when you have to press so hard into God that you have no choice but to become more like His son and guess what? That’s exactly what He wants.

Yet while pain is what makes you real, it can also make you bitter and angry and that’s not the direction we want to go, either.

Pain softens our hearts in a way that allows us to say “I know how you feel” or motivates us to send a card to someone who’s hurting. It’s not supposed to make us want to hurt others because we are hurting so much ourselves.

On the other hand, I don’t ever want to talk about pain and not discuss it’s nemesis: joy.

Pain allows you to feel a joy like you’ve never known. Once you have walked a dark and difficult path, you understand the Psalm “there may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Pain makes you feel a level of joy that’s incomprehensible before you took your first step down that dark and difficult path. 

It brings me joy to watch you read so much. I love to see you engrossed in good books of all kinds and to share the joy of the printed word with you is a dream. Wordy girls have a special bond.

And yes, honey, you are a gifted writer. Oh, girl. That’s a separate letter within itself because writing is a complicated gift. I know you have it –  I read your work and I see the bites of the bug.

It brings me joy to hear you giggle and listen to you play with your Webkinz and laugh at your silly jokes. It brings me joy to see you love so deeply, to listen to your bleeding heart for the poor and the needy, to see your gentleness with God’s creatures. It brings me joy to read the imaginative stories you write and read the books you create.

Yet my joy overflows when I hear you quote scripture, worship Him and seek justice for those who are weaker than you.

As your mother, it’s implied and expected I will teach you and I like to think I do.

But what I never imagined was how much you would teach me.

Thank you for being such a good teacher during these past nine years. I’m so thankful for each lesson, my sweet girl.

Happy Ninth Birthday, Miss Amelia Moo. I love you to the moon and back and back again.






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