Wednesday, September 19, 2012

For Jayci, because you are 4 years old

Oh my sweet Jayci,

First of all, I seriously cannot believe that yesterday was your fourth birthday! We were so busy celebrating you and doing things you loved that I didn't even have time to sit down and write you this letter. It was swirling around in my head all day though, and as I watched you play and laugh and whine and sleep, I thought of the things I hope and dream for you. I thought of the ways you might get hurt, and my own heart hurt just to imagine it. I pondered how being your mom is all an exercise in teaching you not to need me anymore, and that's more than a little painful. What a hard thing, this mothering you, my sweet girl. I know that one day you might have kids of your own and understand, but for now you will have to settle for me telling you how motherhood is bittersweet and full of joy and heartache and longing and peace and hope.
You are seriously the most beautiful little four year old girl ever. I recognize that I'm a little biased, but we also get stopped in the grocery store and on the playground on a regular basis by strangers making comments about how beautiful you are. One lady even told me and your daddy: "if this is what your kids look like, you should have 27 more! Must be some good genes!" I laughed, and then tried to avoid panic-attacking at the thought of having 27 children. But seriously sweet-heart, your little pink cheeks, your bright blue eyes and soft flaxen hair . . . You are just a gem. This is exactly, in fact, how your Sunday school teacher described you this week - as a gem. And of course I agree completely. 
 Three was a roller-coaster of a year for you. It started with a bang and some major fears and pain as your little baby brother spent time in the hospital and came home with a tube in his nose and strict orders from us to NOT TOUCH HIM! BE GENTLE! And you, my sweet girl, could not have responded with any more grace or gentleness. I was (and still am) so proud to see the way you have grown to fill your big-sister-shoes. Your delight in Caden, and the way that you take care of him and protect him is a joy for me as your mom. Granted, now that he is feeling better, he is more apt to steal your toys or bop you on the head with your play frying pan, making your patience a little harder to maintain, but as a big sister, I dont think Caden could ask for one better than you!
There are few things that delight me more than seeing the shy smile that emerges when attention is fixed on you. Barely contained joy, hidden behind closed lips and upturned eyes . . . You dislike all-eyes-on-you just as strongly as I always have. It's a bit disconcerting, really, to see so much of myself in you, and it blows me away to think of the ways that Christ has woven us together as a family. Our DNA and hearts and make-up, mirroring and contrasting and entwining with each other's, even as our lives are laid out as perfectly written by the author of every day.

I am so excited about all that FOUR holds for you. Learning to read and write, chasing chickens, making cupcakes, and flying on a plane. I am praying that as you grow and change this year, you will be soft clay in the hands of the Potter. That your heart will be pointed towards Him. That everything you learn and experience will increase your capacity for joy.

Just a few days ago, I wrote a letter to my younger self. Reading those words, I wonder if I have the courage to write the same things to you. The strength to tell you to walk through hard things rather than around them. Every instinct inside of me as your mama is to protect you. To shield you from hard. To shelter your sweet tender heart and encircle your life inside a bubble that is safe from harsh words and hurtful friends and mean girls.
But if I know my Jesus (and I think I do), I know this: He can be trusted with you. He created you, knit you together with purpose and passion. And He made no mistakes. Your shy smile, your flaxen hair, your gentle twirling dance on your cute purple-painted tippy-toes? It's all for His glory, and by knowing Him more fully, you will only become more comfortable with who He created you to be. So as desperately as I long to shield you from hurt, I wont do it. I will pray instead that in the dark places, you will see Him. You will let your eyes adjust, and encircle your sweet protective arms around the other hurting boys and girls. That your gentle light will continue to shine with strength and dignity. Because even though you are only four years old, I see the way you care for people. The way you draw out angry teenage boys until they are jumping along to worship songs. I watch you take hands, twirl on the swings, remember all the kiddo's names . . . You are tender-hearted and you SHINE the love He has given you onto everyone around you.

The other day, you wore your Snow White dress as we walked through finally-cooling-into-fall-air to the playground. Our shadows cast all the way across the street and your jumped in delight to see your shadow dace too as you twirled down the sidewalk. The kids on the playground yelled "hey snow white" as you joined them on the swings, your sweet smile growing as they gushed over and stroked your soft blonde hair. You pushed Caden in the swing, and pushed some of the neighborhood kids too, before climbing to the top of the slide and pausing to watch your dad coach the teenage boys in flag football on the field next to the playground. DADDY you yelled. He waved, and you continued as all 20 pairs of eyes on the field paused in their work to watch you: I LOVE YOU! Your cute little voice carried on the wind, and the boys all laughed as Adam yelled back that he loved you too. My heart swelled with pride at the way you love and give of yourself: freely, with abandon and joy. And I pray that you will continue to love those around you just like that every single day of your fourth year of life. And when you feel left out or hurt or sad, I pray you will find strength in the arms of your daddy and I, and that we will always always point you to Jesus. Because you are beautifully and wonderfully made, and I am so so proud of every little piece of who you are.

I am lucky to be your mommy little one, and I love you more than you will ever know. Happy birthday!

Love,
Mama

6 comments:

  1. Man this totally mad me tear up. What an amazing and loving mommy you are to that beautiful little girl. Happy 4th Birthday Jayci!

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  2. Happy Birthday to your FAVORITE baby girl.
    I think you would be a fabulous mom to 27 children. XO

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  3. Jayci sounds like a sweet, sweet girl. Happy birthday!

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  4. This is beyond sweet!!! What a precious girl you have!!!!! :)

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  5. Jayci IS a gem! I found your blog from your post on the city... she really does have the sweetest heart ever! We switch off, but I get to teach her in Sunday school twice a month or so. My favorite thing about her is how she cares about everyone in the room, with a special eye on the ones who might be a little bit on the outside. She is such a lover! She notices quickly people who need a little extra loving and she adjusts herself to be that for them. I also love how she lets the Trestle Tree kids play with her hair :) at one point, she was sitting on the floor with 4 or 5 little people all braiding and twisting and touching her pretty hair, she just smiled that cute little grin. So cool to see how God created her with eyes (and HEART) that are specially tuned to notice the unnoticed and love deeply. I also love how she recognizes that life is funny and giggles accordingly. Haha, it's great. I can't get enough of her :) sorry for the rambling! Happy bday to sweet Jayci!!

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