You’re sleeping right now, in your room, on the floor – because you refuse to get back in your bed these days after we will not let you keep running out of your room after bedtime. So, you’re sleeping right up against your door. I can see your blanket peeking out in the crack of space between the door and floor, as well as tiny glimpses of the stuffed animals and ‘babies’ who always accompany you during the night.
Two years ago on this day, I was still waiting to meet you. You were being pretty stubborn about coming out into the big, wide world, and had made yourself nice and comfortable in your Mommy’s womb. We were ready for you to hurry it up – Mommy especially was more than ready for you show yourself to us. And, finally, at 4:55 a.m. on September 30, 2008, you did. My life has never been the same; from the moment I saw your immediately inquisitive and beautiful blue eyes.
You’re officially two years old tomorrow, a fact I almost can’t believe. You are both so grown-up and so very young – sometimes in the very same moment. Your vocabulary increases daily, as does your independence and your tendency to push every boundary you find. Watching you discover the world is like discovering the world all over again for me too, through your amazing eyes, your open-wide heart and your incredibly adventurous spirit.
You remind me, every day, to open my eyes in a new way every time I walk out the door. You show me, every day, that my heart closes too quickly, that I judge too harshly, that loving our neighbors (literally and figuratively) is not as hard as I’ve convinced myself that it is. You push me, every day, to let go of my self-doubt, my insecurities and the demons that plague me to welcome the world and all of its chaos, to embrace myself and all God continues to create me to be.
I’ll admit that there are moments when I wonder why we thought we could be parents. Particularly when you decide not to sleep – which was true mostly when you were a baby, and refused to nap at all and still woke up every 3 hours all night long to be fed. I’m not so good at losing sleep, turns out. Your mommy is better at adjusting to that than I am. I wouldn’t trade those moments, though, even the middle-of-the-night moments trying to get you back to sleep while wondering if you were going to permanently damage my hearing. You were then – and are now – worth every difficult moment, every 5 a.m. morning I don’t want to get up. Because as soon as I see you, as soon as you look at me, lift your arms to me and lay your head on my shoulder, I remember how much I love you. And I remember that the gift of loving you is a part of what saves my life everyday.
You make me a better person, the love I have for you creates new life in me all the time – new life that, in turn, helps me do the work God asks me to do. New life that teaches me compassion and patience; new life that demands me to not be content with the world the way it is; new life that gives me what I need to stumble toward Jesus, to find Christ’s dwelling places here in this time and place.
Your Mommy says that your laugh, all by itself, could really go a long way in bringing about world peace. She’s right about that (she’s right about a whole lot – almost all the time, but don’t tell her I said that). You are so much like her, more like her everyday, seems like. And I marvel at the blessedness of my life – that I go to sleep each night with a person as incredible as your Mommy, and a beautiful daughter, inside and out, just down the hall.
Thank you, Abby, for the honor and gift of being your Mama. It’s been an incredible two years, and I look forward to the many ahead of us with all kinds of joy. Happy 2nd Birthday, Abigail. I love you, and am grateful beyond words to call you my daughter.