Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dear Eliana (On Your 10th Birthday)

Sweet Eliana - 

Is a mother made in a decade's time?
That's how long it's been since you traded amniotic fluid for oxygen.
Ten years since I first saw your face above a green medical sheet 
that acted as a barrier during my emergency c-section.
Ten years since I walked hazy over our threshold for the first time as mommy.

I was so proud of the pink-striped nursery we prepared for you.
Did I ever tell you the first two colors I chose looked like a circus tent dripping in pepto bismol?
Did I ever tell you that your Daddy loves me a ton? I have proof.
See those lovely shades of pink? Those are not pepto bismol. 
He repainted. For me.
I hope you know your Daddy will go the same lengths for you.
He will work hard to help you realize your dreams 
and if there's a time when you realize you messed up, he won't rub it in.
He will go to Sherwin Williams and get more paint (metaphorically speaking).

Transitioning into motherhood was hard for me.
Not completely natural.
I was a foreigner learning a new language; a new way of life.
Nothing really seemed native in the land of motherhood.
Not at first.
But days of adjustments and months of acclimating paid off.
I found I was more at home with myself. And with you.
I still had questions. Lots of them.
Actually, I continue to have lots of questions.
About motherhood. and life. and myself. and faith.
I hope you celebrate your questions. 
Embrace them. Relish them. Carry them well.
Sometimes Jesus is seen most clearly in the uncertainty.

Eventually, life reoriented itself to a normal.
I got more comfortable with imperfection. Mistakes make for good company.
And somewhere along the way I realized God doesn't expect perfection.
I hope you are patient with yourself as you grow.
If you are, you offer yourself an invaluable gift
and God's love is easier to identify.

Baby Einstein turned to Curious George turned to My Little Pony.
Sandra Boynton ushered in Mo Willems ushered in Cul-de-Sac Kids.
Little People were replaced by Bitty Baby were replaced by Lego Friends.
Years passed. You grew. So did our family.
You became big sister. Two times over.
I watched you mother your younger brother and sister.
You've been teacher to them even when you didn't realize you were.
I hope, no matter how old you are, you will show honor to your siblings. 
You were blessed with a great responsibility as eldest. Wield it well.

Because of your care, constant and tender,
Levi and Moriah look up to you.
They stand in the shadow of their big sister with wide eyes and open ears.
And they are protective of you. Not wishing harm to come to you.
I have proof.
Here they are unable to watch as you faced your fear and got your ears pierced yesterday.
Your stress became theirs.
Lives connected by blood but hearts connected by love.
I hope your life will continue to be marked by true friendship
when one feels both the pain and joy of another as if it is their own. 
You experienced this first with your family.

Is a mother made in a decade's time?
Only in part for it seems that motherhood is more a mosaic.
A conglomeration of being made from moments of my undoing.
Undone in the face of indescribable joy, fierce protectiveness, bubbling frustration.
Undone as I mix moments of overwhelming failure and unsaid bliss.
Yet, I still stand incomplete.
Motherhood has not matured in me.
Not yet.
Maybe not ever.
But I am being made.
With every moment. Every memory.
I hope you know the joy of becoming.
Perhaps that is what we were made for.
The becoming.
Christ in you - the hope of glory.
Becoming mine. 
Becoming His.
Becoming you.

Happy 10th Birthday, Eliana!
I love you!


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