A letter to my firstborn on her first birthday:
Oh my little Sparrow Child… where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was completely frantic with worry that you would not be warm enough, eat enough, sleep enough, poop enough, and that I could never be enough to deserve such a perfect little gift as you… I suppose I still have those worries in the back of my mind at times, but you are moving full speed ahead with no regard for my wishes that you would remain small and innocent and full of absolute joy and light forever. Apparently no amount of wishing will keep you in those tiny pink jammies that your Aunt Sarah bought for you, or that perfect watermelon romper that was mine when I was a baby. No matter how many times I ask God to just freeze time so I can remember you just exactly this way- your bright innocent eyes, your tiny mischievous smile, barely-there red-blonde curls, your Daddy’s nose, and sticky hands reaching for my face to plant a sloppy kiss- it just seems to keep pushing on. Even when I ask you to please stop… just wait for mommy… you rush ahead- rolling over, sitting up, crawling, talking, walking, and now running away- my heart held tightly in your chubby little fist.
You are an absolute wonder, my dear. I try to remind myself daily that I can only protect you from so much and that I must let you fall every now and again so that you know how to pick yourself up (and believe me, you do plenty of falling these days. Learning to walk is risky business!) I try not to get wrapped up in worrying who you will become and how I can help to shape that, because the truth is that who you are to become has already been decided without my input, and I have no doubt that our perfect Creator would create nothing less than beauty in His image… I try to let go… when you get hurt and you want me to pick you up but immediately push me away again; when you want to walk instead of be carried; when you want to stand up a little too high; and when you are being less than reasonable and I know that if I could just make you understand, everything would be all right… I try to let go, because the last thing I want to be is a hindrance. I never want to prevent your light from shining because you have so much of it inside of you. I only ever want to reflect that light directly back onto you so that you can see and understand just how truly special you are. I want you to be able to see yourself as I see you- bright and radiant as the sun. I pray that as you continue sprinting towards your future, the world does not shield a single ray of that light and that someday when they tell your story, they will begin, “once upon a time, there lived a brave, beautiful, and completely wild and stubborn young girl who set the world on ablaze…”
But I’m getting ahead of myself… it’s only been a year (Has it really only been a year?) and we have so much more to learn from each other. I know that right now you think I’m mostly just in your way- and I guess that’s partly true. I stand in the way of things that could hurt you and even when you insist on touching or being close to those things, I stand firm because the little wisdom I have gained in my short 26 years of life tells me that little legs quickly get tired, little heads can easily be bruised, little fingers sometimes get smashed, and still I try to remember that little hearts are what’s truly important. You will only fit safely in my arms for so long, Little Bird, so please allow me to hold you before you fly away…
For now I’m going to kiss your booboos and wipe your tears and and smooth your little red-blonde curls. I will scoop you up to hold you tight even when you push me away. I probably always will… Because I spend so much time and energy trying to be a woman from whom you can learn and even though I fail at being graceful or eloquent or witty or organized or successful or righteous more often than not, I know for a fact that the one thing I will never EVER fail at is loving you. It has become as natural and necessary as air to my lungs.
I love you, Vesper Kaylyn. Thank you for making me a mother one year ago… Happy 1st Birthday, my love!