My sweet Reese,
As the time approaches for your little brother or sister’s arrival there is a part of me that wants to tell them to wait a little longer so we have another “one last day” with just you. Soon that baby boy or girl will change your whole life as well as ours. I can not help but remember having that same feeling about you as your dad and I had our last get-a-way trip together. I knew you were going to change everything and I simultaneously wanted you to come and to wait. So, in these “last days” I have been reflecting on all you have taught me. I know parents are supposed to teach their kids but now I realize how much kids teach their parents, too.
You, my first born daughter, have taught me…
How wonderful being a mama really is
Honestly, I wasn’t sure how much I would love this being a mom thing or if it was for me. Yet that changed from literally the first second you entered the outside world. Not that all my fears or hesitations vanished, but they were still, and I knew that being your mom was a gift and not a mistake. Just like that you won me over. And countless times since that day I have stared at you in my arms, bubbling over with an affection I never knew existed. And it just keeps getting better. Being a mama- being your mama- is so much sweeter than anyone could have ever convinced me of.
How weak I am
All it took were your cries waking me up at midnight to realize just how selfish and easily angered I really was; or a trip to the ER with you to realize how little control I really had over your life. My impatience, incompetence, and inconsistencies did not wait very long to show themselves. Needy babies have a way of teaching their mamas just how needy we are too. You have taught me to be more willing to ask others for help, to admit my shortcomings, and to see just how strong and capable Jesus is and how quick He is to meet me in my weakness every single time.
How strong I am
When I found out I was pregnant with you not only did I feel unprepared in the timing I also felt completely unequipped as a person. Yet through your life I have found new kinds of inward and outward strength that I didn’t know were mine. You have helped me to try new things, to act despite my fear, to make hard choices, to love selflessly, and to keep going when I wanted to give up. Because of you I have seen the quiet, still, and deep strength that motherhood requires of you and gives to you.
The world is beautiful
Little do you know, you have already lived through some dark days in this world. Yet your innocent eyes that easily fill with wonder and awe have brought light into dark spaces and have opened my own eyes to the small beauties of life. Everything might not always be beautiful, but beauty can always be found.
Tomorrow is a new day
Even when I would go to bed with tears on my pillow feeling like a failure of a mother, I knew I would wake up and see your forgiving and forgetful smile the next morning. Even when I would be on my phone instead of play with you, or react instead of respond, or not cherish you or teach you like I should; I could always count on waking up to underserved grace the next day. You have taught me the simple healing power of a good night of sleep and the hopefulness that accompanies each sunrise.
My own Heavenly Fathers love
Being your mom has given me a new glimpse into my own relationship with my Father. It has shown me the way He cares deeply for me in the midst of discipline, the way He holds me, the way He knows my good and does not keep it from me, the way He loves me in my brokenness, and the significance of being called His child. I now see more clearly what it means to be known and seen and loved unconditionally, because He has adopted me as His own. Just like you are my beloved daughter, I too am His beloved daughter.
Love has different forms
I think I used to be afraid of making space to love someone new and that someone was you. As you might come to see, it can be scary. But you, my daughter, have taught me that love does not have to replace or duplicate. Love is vast and there is so much room to welcome others into it. I love your Dad with a romantic/best friend kind of love. Our love has the deepest of roots- covenant love. Yet, as it has been said, the kind of love I have for you is sort of like seeing my own heart walking outside of my body. Reese Avery, there is no competition in true love. No one gets left behind or lost. We will always share a unique bond and it will only keep growing in its own special way.
Now we must make room in our family and heart to love someone new. Your world is about to change. But, before you know it, you will not be able to imagine that same world without your sibling. Just like we cannot imagine ours without YOU- our energetic, strong-willed, daring, silly, and kind, first-born.
I love you,