Dear Lola Bee,
This past Friday you turned one. One. I still find myself welling up at the thought of this new stage in your life. You’ve spent the past several weeks showing us increased glimpses of your personality – you pretend to talk on the phone holding it up to your ear and one day at Chick Fil A you pretended to clean the highchair after watching me do it. You love taking out the clothes from the laundry basket and giving high fives, you prefer to feed yourself, love dancing and now sign “more” and as of today “all done.” You love kissing us and still light up every time big sister walks in the room. You also like to use Stella as a footrest. She sits underneath your highchair waiting for fallen snacks. Some fall on accident as you try to get several pieces of food to your mouth (rather than one at a time) and some on purpose because you like to share with her. Those are just some of the things you do. What you are on the other hand is a joy, a light to this world and to the lives of those that love you. You already seem so brave and courageous; you are able to assert yourself and can be so silly. You might get upset from time to time but you get over it fairly quickly. All qualities that will help you find more joy in the journey as you travel through life.
You turning one signifies a lot for our family and for your mama. With your arrival came some changes. With your daddy’s support and a little faith I found the courage to leap. I left a stable job to pursue a dream opportunity and a chance to be with you longer; here I am a year later by your side. Longer than I had even imagined. It is a wave I said I would ride for as long as I could.
As I celebrate you and your life and all the ways that you made my life better I have been asking myself what’s next. If I could I would spend every moment by your side, watching you giggle and smile, comforting you when you cry, sitting side by side eating blueberries, feeling your chest rise and fall as you slumber in my arms. To say that I love being a mother is an understatement; to say I love being your mother describes how I feel perfectly. I adore being the safe place for you and your sister. The sweetest parts of my life are filled with the two of you and the joy that comes from loving you.
You were an agent of change. You changed our lives, you changed who we were and you gave us a reason to challenge ourselves in new ways. You reminded us that there are no limits to what God can do.
This weekend we celebrated your birthday with family and friends. I am thankful that there are so many people who realize the gift you are to this world. I am thankful that you will grow up immersed in love and that prayers will go up on your behalf not just from your mother and father but countless people who want the best for you. Who want God’s best for you.
As I battle with my desire for you to remain small coupled with my desire for you to be all that you are destined to be I find myself humbled by the manner in which you changed my life. I find myself so grateful that God saw fit for our family dynamics to be just so that we would get to be on this journey together. I thank you for teaching me to slow down and bathe in the small wonders that make life so full and so rich. I thank you for reminding me of how sweet it is to fall asleep with a baby on your chest and how magnificent the sound of little belly laughs are.
Early this morning while you slept I placed your tiny hand in mine. I laid there taking in how wonderful it felt just to be able to rest your hand in mine. There have been many nights where your daddy and I looked over you, showering you with kisses, declaring our deep love for you.
For us, you and your sister are as good as it gets. As I continue to bask in all that comes with the person you are now I thank God for who you are and who you will become. I thank Him that He has allowed me to be a part of this. No matter what lies ahead I will always be grateful that you, much like your big sister, were a catalyst for the living of my dreams and because of you in many ways my dreams have yet evolved. The things that I wanted a year ago are somewhat different today. I am different today, I have said it over and over again — this year has been the best year of my life. You and your sister have made it more beautiful than I would have ever imagined.
As we enter a new season in our lives I hold on to the memories that filled the last. I hold on to that tiny hand that in some ways holds my heart. I hold on to the fact that at the heart of every decision I make is my desire to do what’s best for our family. And I trust that God will order my and your father’s steps as we continue to raise the jewels God bestowed upon us in the form of our children.
My sweet Lola Grace thank you for teaching me to be still. To take in all of the wonder to be had in the now. Thank you for showing me that I don’t have to be so worried about the future that I fail to enjoy the present. Thank you for reminding me to savor every moment. This summer while with you and your sister my spirit soared. Your mama’s spirit soared. When your sister was born she brought me the gift of courage. And you my sweet baby brought me wings. Thank you. They are gifts that I will carry with me no matter what I do. My dreams are important but what makes them important is having you two and your daddy to share them with. This year I have lived my dream wholeheartedly just the way I wanted to. But a new season is upon us, a season in which I carry the memories of this year with me along with my wings.
Thank you for my wings, thank you for the joy that has filled our home because you came.
Forever and always,
p.s. Happy (belated) Birthday baby.