Dear Jalayla Bee,
On your birthday I posted an Instagram photo wishing you a happy birthday. I knew you would see it because you are always sneaking nana’s phone when she comes over. One of the things that I shared with you was how you were a ray of sunshine during a dark time in my life. You light up my life causing me to bloom in ways I would have never dreamed of, never imagined. You did that.
And now I have spent the past 9 years watching you bloom. And what a joy it has been. You have blossomed into your own person able to articulate your thoughts and desires, forming your hopes and dreams into words; you have passions and your own sense of style. You are hilarious, and compassionate and also headstrong. The headstrong part makes your mama crazy sometimes but my hope is that you will learn how to use it in positive ways. You have so much to talk about. I know one day you will want to tell your friends all of your stories, so for now I am thankful that you still like to share them with me.
On the last night you were an 8 year old you climbed beside me in bed and I held you in my arms, rubbing your head. I know it sounds silly but I wanted to feel once more what it felt like to hold my 8 year old in my arms. After all these years you still fit in them perfectly.
As I have shared before, your arrival into my life gave me a new found sense of courage. And years later I still find courage in your presence. I have found so much strength in my love for you.
So as we venture into 9 I want you to know that the years in which you were a part of my life have been the best years yet. As the Bible verse says weeping endures for a night but joy comes in the morning. For the past 9 years you have been my morning. Seeing your face each day has given me the will to press through no matter what.
At 19 I was terrified of what was ahead but I got through it and through it all you were there. 9 is going to be grand. It will be different than 8 as things change for our family but it will still be grand. Your daddy, sister and I love you more than you will ever know and we are excited to spend another year loving you and making memories as a family. Continue to bloom my child and know that your parents will always be here by your side. As your flourish and blossom our job is to help you grow and become all you are meant to be. We pour our hearts into loving you and promise to never stop.
Your 9th birthday was among the happiest of birthdays. Last night you went to sleep saying that you didn’t want it to end. Secretly I didn’t either but I know God’s plan entails growth for you – for me – for us. My prayer is that part of the growth includes the two of us growing even closer than we already are.
So today I thank you. Thank you for trusting me with your heart. Thank you for allowing me to be your safe place. Thank you for making me bloom. May you continue to bloom also. And may you continue to wish big:
Happy birthday baby.
Loving the fact that you are so you.
Forever and always,