Posted in Children, Family, parenting

A Letter To My Daughter On Her 5th Birthday

img_3166I can’t help but wonder if all mothers cry when their baby turns five years old? As soon as my eyes opened, I began to think of you. Not that that’s anything new. You are always the first thought to cross my mind. And as a sidenote, you will always be the first thought to cross my mind, no matter how old you are, no matter how far from me you travel.  I think Willie Nelson sang a song along those same lines.

I couldn’t stop the tears this morning. And all through the day, I’ve fought to keep them at bay.

Five years. Five beautiful, wonderful years. They have been the most precious, most blessed times of my life. And that is saying quite a lot, sweet Emma Kate, because my life has been pretty marvelous. But when you entered the world, it went to a brand new level.

I don’t know the answers to all life’s questions. I certainly don’t know much at all. But I know that you have allowed me and taught me to love in a way that never seemed possible. Sure, we have our ups and downs. Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries, but when you step back and look at the big picture, there’s definitely more ups than downs and more cherries than pits in our bowl.

You are such a good kid. You are so smart. I have written to you for the first 12 months of your life, and then every year after that. Someday, I will print these out for you to keep and reflect back on. Reading back through, you will know how absolutely, infinitely loved and adored you are.

You have a great memory. You love to play a game with you daddy and I, especially on car rides, called “Remember when…..”. You usually start and say, “remember when we…” and you’ll fill in the blank. Then we all take turns giving our own remember whens. Sometimes, we all remember, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes, I’m purely amazed at the things you remember from long, long ago. It’s also kind of sad when you don’t remember something that was pretty epic, so that’s one reason I write it down.

Because one day, my little lovebird, all you will be left with will be your memories. I want you to have good ones. Me and your dad are trying our hardest to give you an amazing childhood, but at the same time, being careful not to turn you into a brat. It’s a thin line to cross. Because sometimes giving your child everything is not the best, and someday you’ll understand that. It’s not about all the “things and stuff” in life, not the newest and greets, because those things always turn not so new, and not so great.

It’s about the “remember whens”. It’s about playing hide and go seek in the dark. It’s about birthday parties with family and friends, and adventures in the woods building forts, and hiking trails, and picking wildflowers. It’s about making play dough and playing dolls. It’s about lying in the yard and looking at the shapes in the clouds, or the stars at night. It’s about snuggles at bedtime and rocking chair time every morning with a blanket and chocolate milk and a warm,drowsy head on my chest. It’s about fishing at the lake, and swimming in a horse trough. It’s about dance parties through the house when our favorite song comes on, and sharing books together. It’s all the “remember when’s” that are too many to list.

It’s all about the time we’ve shared and the memories we’ve made.

You are growing into a great young girl. You are no longer an infant, no longer a baby, no longer a toddler, and pretty soon, you’ll no longer be a preschooler. You have learned so much. Most of your days are spent at St. Matthew’s where you’ve already learned to read 100 sight words. You are my little reader, but I always knew you would be. You understand numbers and how to put them together and take them apart. You also have a whole lot of dang common sense. You are practically perfect in every way. Much like Mary Poppins, huh?

Thank you Emma Kate for these last 5 years. They have been beyond my wildest imagination. I am so happy you’re mine. Someone posted on Facebook about you, that “God said ta-da”, and I think that sums it up perfectly. I love you oodles and gobs, and more, and more, and more.

Happy Birthday, my baby.

XOXO,

Mommy

 

Posted in parenting, Pregnancy

What this day means to me

The calendar hanging on the wall reads May 20. But I don’t need the calendar to remind me. I’ve actually been thinking about this day all month. I’ve been thinking of this month all year. I couldn’t let this day slip past without an acknowledgment, because this day is pretty significant to me.

Today is the due date of my second child.
I have no crib set up.
There is no freshly painted nursery.
No hospital bag is packed and waiting by the door.
There is only a what if and a why.
There is only my thoughts of how different my life would be right now… if only.

I think of her a lot. I call her Ivy Quinn. I don’t know that she was a girl, she didn’t make it long enough to find out, but I have a hunch.

Physically, she was only a part of me for a few weeks, but she will be a part of me until I take my last breath. She was mine regardless.  Her life ended, but mine continues. Her heart stopped beating, but mine beats on–even with a hole in it.

There is pain. There is heartache. There is something missing that was to be.  Then suddenly wasn’t to be.

I never felt her kick or held her in my arms, but I hold her in my heart and I always will.

I wash dishes in a sink full of suds, but there is no baby bottle to rinse. I fold clothes and stack them in piles on the couch, but they are absent of tiny gowns.

I can’t help but feel guilty. All the ‘ifs’ haunt me. If I had only wanted her more? If my initial reaction hadn’t been one of inconvenience? Would it have made a difference. If only she had known how very much she would have been loved? If I hadn’t been so overcome with doubt, worry, and fear? Would it have mattered. If I had felt more excitement? If I had told more people?

We had a photo taken. It was clever and cute and we were going to announce it when the time was right. I hung it in our bedroom. We told our little Emma. She was so excited. Then I had to tell her the hardest thing I’ve had to tell her yet. She was quiet and then she said maybe the baby will come back later. Then nothing else was said. Ever. I put the photo away in a drawer.
Out of sight, but not out of mind.
Especially today.
On May 20.
The due date of my second child.

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Posted in Children, Family, parenting

A Letter to EK on her 4th Birthday

imageMy Dearest Emma Kate,

Happy Birthday dear one! Goodness. I just can’t believe it. My heart overflows with love and gratitude for the absolute blessing you are in all of our lives. My words are truly inadequate to express my feelings and emotions. As I sit here, I try to think of what to say to you—and about you, and there’s not enough paper in all the world to sum up the little soul that you are.

You are good.
You are smart.
You are tender.
You are stubborn.
You are independent.
You are a bit melodramatic, and I honestly don’t have a clue how to deal with that.
You are a deep thinker.

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Sometimes you’re even silly.

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You are sensible, logical, and reasonable beyond your years. I seriously believe at age 4 you have more common sense than most grown-ups.

Your mind is an astonishing part of you. I know a lot of moms worry about their kids and the choices and impulses they act on, but I really don’t worry too much about you because you are so level headed and you make the right decisions  even as a small child. You are the one telling the older ones what they need to be doing and not doing. You are the one keeping people in line and listening to instructions. Dear One, please always listen to others who lead you in the path of righteousness and not astray. Do not get caught up in this world and its enticements. Proverbs 1:8 says “Listen, my son (daughter), to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Be wise always Emma Kate. And know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. You, my dear child, have the ability and the capability to do anything in this world, and I mean ANYTHING you put your mind and heart to, so please carry wisdom and discernment with you while you chase your dreams in this world.image

 

I know you will make a difference. I know that because you already have. You have made a difference in my life. You have taught me to be better. You have shown me what is important and what is just fluff in this life. There have been days you alone have been my reason for being. My reason to wake, to rise, to live. I know that I am an example to you in all I say and do. Please know that I’m doing the absolute best I can.

 

 

This year has been one of transition for us. You and I have gone from spending every single waking moment of every single day together to learning how to be apart. You have become a school girl now and I have returned to being a working mama. Most of our days are spent in separate places, but let me tell you what we share.

Every morning you wake up after me. I usually have already gotten most of my stuff together so that I can pour you a cup of milk. You sit in my lap in the recliner and drink your milk and we have several minutes together to just snuggle. Your milk always makes you cold, so I wrap you in a blanket and hold you. You lay your head on my shoulder and we rock. We talk about the day and the events to come. You have a solid grasp on the days of the week and your schedule. You know that Friday is our day together and you usually can tell me how many more days until we don’t have to set an alarm.

Every evening, you and I still have story time. Two books. This is some of my favorite time with you and always has been. Gosh, we’ve read a thousand books together probably. You are already beginning to read and make sense of letters, sounds, words. We read our books and sometimes you laugh and sometimes you even cry. You are so tender and empathetic to the sweet characters. Like in the Library Lion when he isn’t allowed to come back to the Library because he broke a rule or in City Dog, Country Frog when the Frog is no longer there to meet his friend, you rub the tears away from your beautiful brown eyes and say “This part makes me sad”. After stories we pray, we sing, I rub your back or face until you sleep. Sometimes I’m grumpy and angry because I’m so tired and you are flopping around like a fish and won’t sleep. Of course I never did follow the parenting advice for getting your child to sleep so this is our routine. This is what works for us. And you know what, it’s okay. Because you’re only four and as I look back on the past four years, it has absolutely flown by and I wouldn’t trade those times I’ve spent with you in the quiet darkness as the day is ending for anything else in this world. This time is fleeting and no parenting book in the world will make me regret the moments we’ve snuggled.

 

You love to play dolls, princesses, and Barbies. You still play imagination and good vs. evil. Good wins. Always.  Remember that.

You are watching entirely too much TV these days and are being totally brain washed by commercials! I’ve already had to have a little mini-lesson on advertisements and their schemes with you because you think we need to buy every item on the commercials, that Lysol kills the most germs, and that we need to send money to help poor kids get more books and save elephants from being poached for their ivory. Oh your sweet heart. Bless you my dear. I hope you are always so touched by life.

This morning your daddy and I woke you with a happy birthday song. You got to wear your new Birthday Girl t-shirt to school and took some cupcakes to share with your friends. Tonight we’ll celebrate with a presents, cupcakes, and a meal out. You’ve requested McDonalds (big surprise) and you want a sausage biscuit. I think that is pretty doable.

I love you Emma. You are more than I could ever imagine. Just always be you. You–complete in your perfect, imperfect self. Because there is nothing more you ever need to be. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. Especially by your mama!

XOXO,

Mama