My Sweet Little Girl,
Heralded by fireworks on the 4th of July, you turned 15 months. Every day a bit more of your “baby self” fades into memory as your “toddler self” emerges in all of its opinionated, independent-yet-clingy, creative, imaginative glory. I have witnessed more cognitive and motor development over the past several months than I thought possible. You sing. You jabber. You run. You climb. You trip. You fall. You imitate animal noises. You cuddle. You fiercely protest me leaving you. Yet, you “hide” from me when the mood strikes.
You have changed me, Abigail Nichelle. I am gentler, more patient, less glamorous, more tired, less ambitious, and overall more grace-filled since those first moments when you were placed into my quivering arms and all the rest of the world seemed to hush in the pause that was my transformation. In an instant, not just a baby, but also a mother was birthed.
I will love your brothers and sisters when they arrive just as strongly, but none will ever replace the power of YOU. You are my firstborn. The first child that taught me of the ache of a love so deep it can’t be described. A love not romantic. A love not for a friend. But the love that sacrifices one’s own life for the sole purpose of taking care of another. A mother’s love. My love for you. A foretaste of our Heavenly Father’s love.
Every day you say new words. Explore a new talent. Climb to new heights. I don’t have to accompany you up on the big playground anymore, as you are confident enough to climb and gleefully propel yourself down the slides. I watch your bravery with baited breathe, hesitant not to hold you back but afraid for you nonetheless. I think the adventure that you have embarked upon – this “growing-up” journey – will leave me with these same mixed emotions for years to come. Proud of your accomplishments and your fearlessness. Praying for your safety. Aware that you must learn through mistakes. Truly, becoming a mother is like letting my heart walk around outside of my body.
Your imagination as so young an age astounds me. This month, you have become enamored both with your baby dolls and your play kitchen. You kiss your baby, push her in a stroller, feed her, attempt to nurse her (sometimes refusing to nurse yourself until we have a bottle for your baby in hand), and carry her around with you on our adventures. I watch you “cooking” food in your kitchen and splashing around in your toy sink in an effort to wash dishes. You are something else.
Yet, when the day is done and you are tired and hungry, then I still get to snuggle my baby. We rock and nurse – sometimes for the fifth or sixth time that day – and pray. You love to say “Amen” at the end of your blessing prayer.
The blessing prayer that is centuries old. The priestly prayer that Aaron prayed over the people of Israel. The prayer that has been prayed for generations of your family.
In the Name of Jesus…
Amen, Dear Little Girl. So be it. May you be fearless and sweet and nurturing and compassionate and fiercely independent and powerful. May you believe in the miraculous. In the magical. In the never-before-believed-impossible.