Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dear Gemma- a love letter

Dear Gemma,

Today is Thanksgiving and I though I'd write a little note to you. Someday, maybe I'll print all this out, tie it up with pretty ribbon and present it to you as evidence of how you rocked my world. My words don't do you justice, sweetheart.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude today- everywhere I look it seems that my life is filled to the brim with sweetness. I just read a great book by Shauna Niequist called Bittersweet that met me right where I am. The little vignettes that she led me through made me so aware of the presence of both the bitter and sweet in life. I really like how she said that the sweet is no less sweet when there is a sliver of bitter present.

Right now, your daddy and I are passing through some bitter waters. He still looks for a job doing what he feels calls to do and I pray and cheer and hope and pray and cheer and comfort as he continues to search. Even though this bitter season of job hunting is stressful and preoccupying, we do find GREAT joy in each other and in you, my love.

Gemma, you are like a ripple of laughter that opens up across a space, capturing us all in it's giggle and letting us loose with hope. I long to see your face in the morning, hear your yells and new words during the day, and coos as I sing you to sleep. You are in the midst of a season of great discovery. I can tell this because you keep looking at things with wide open eyes and then at me filled with your silly words- you ask me unintelligible questions and expect a clear response. Sometimes I can't help but answer back seriously with garbled words and shocked expression. It's like speaking a different language, you and I. We chatter and have conversations that leave you satisfied and me utterly confused but filled with love.

You are growing so much right now too, darling. Your feet are getting big, your hair is getting longer, your belly is always puffing out over your diaper like Santa Claus. You run now... did I tell you that? You run, Gemma... that's what it's called when Rosie chases you and you squint your eyes shut and move your feet really fast and unpredictably towards the hall. Most of the time Rosie never touches you, but when she does, Violet barks at her to back off, you scream and giggle which only encourages her to chase you again. You three will be best friends forever, I'm sure.

Your daddy thinks your beautiful... he says it all the time, tells you how special you are, how smart and strong you are. I hope we cover you with compliments all the time. You really are beautiful, smart, and strong. I see glimpses of the woman you will be when you stomp your feet and stand your ground... when you rest your head on my shoulder, give hugs, and look deep into my eyes and smile. You amaze me, sweet one. You amaze me all the time.

You love to say "nanas" when you want a banana and "ca-caw" when you want a cracker. And when I ask you to say "milk" you just sign it instead. You make me laugh all the time... and you make me cry. This last week while you were sick, while I was up with you all night breathing in your sour sick smell, I let little tears loose over you... it's shocking how it hurts me physically to see you in pain. Sometimes I think I can't bear it for all the love I have towards you. Sometimes I think I will go crazy thinking about how important you are to me. Sometimes I think, "hey, I got this under control"... wait- who am I kidding? I NEVER feel that way!

I know that sometimes I get frustrated and overwhelmed and snarky. I'm so sorry- you deserve more than an anxious mama and I'm working on that, I promise. I start every day new, or I try to at least, with the rising of the sun there is a rising in my spirit. A newness, forgiveness, a do-over... A promise to play more, and play right, and lead more, and teach more, and give more, and take less... and then, in the quiet of the night, hushed prayers fall out of my mouth- songs of praise, laments for forgiveness, and nuggets of thanksgiving to the God of creation who knit you together and handed you to me to grow and raise and eventually let go. What was He thinking? I mean seriously, how could I ever be enough?

I guess that's the beauty of knowing that you are God's precious child first- I don't have to be enough... it's impossible... but He is enough. He will always be there, always love you just the right way, always guide you, always support you, appropriately discipline you, set healthy boundaries, let you fly when the time is right...

I am a poor man's representation of divine love, pumpkin. And if what I feel is the small version of love for you- it's mind-bending to imagine what God feels for you, sweet jewel. My deepest hope for you is that you find security in the presence and promises of God. He is so good, my sweet girl, so good.

I'm sure in the next few weeks you'll get more teeth, new words, bumps on heads and elbows, colds and sleepless nights, and lots more giggles, hugs and snuggles. I am overjoyed to be on this journey with you, Gemma. You make me a better person, a more repentant person, a more forgiving person... I pray I do the same for you.

And your daddy? Well, we lucked out didn't we, baby? He's pretty amazing and I know you see it... you show him that you love him by resting your little head on his chest, calling out "da DA" in the morning, and grabbing his toes. I pray that someday you'll wear a ring on your left hand that comes from a man like your daddy- a humble, hard-working, patient, faithful, honest, loving, and supportive man- and I pray that he'll hold your hand while you fall asleep, just like your daddy does with me.

Gemma, I'm so thankful for you every day, but especially today- while we celebrate with family and friends all good gifts. You are the best present I ever got...

I love you, I love you, I love you...

Will you write a love letter to your baby(ies)? I'm thinking of making this a consistent practice. Someday, I may just wrap them up and give them to her so that in her darkest moments she can read of God's promises, my love for her and her innate worth.

Happy Thanksgiving, Mamas. I'm thankful for all of you too. Hug your little ones.


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