Thursday, September 3, 2015

Being the Biggest

Dearest Jayci, 

You and I, we've had a rough last couple weeks together. You are struggling a little to adjust to being back in school (and having another little brother), and I am flat-exhausted from feeding your squishy adorable baby brother, and the combination hasn't been ideal. I hope you know, even in the midst of disagreements and tired flopping into bed after many tears (from both of us), how deeply and fully I adore you. 

And so, as you venture into first grade, and we grow together as mommy and big sister to this newest little one, I wanted to put down on paper some thoughts and prayers for you.  
You are, quite simply, extraordinary. And while my heart squeezes painfully when I think of how big you are getting (not to mention how quickly you are getting there), I am also incredibly proud of who you are and who you are becoming.

Every single day I notice you becoming something new. Or rather, becoming more of who you are made to be. You discover your strengths and can articulate your weaknesses. You love reading, and most nights I find you with a flashlight under the covers long past bedtime (which sounds familiar, because mommy did the exact same thing - and still does sometimes). You are empathetic and sensitive, noticing people who others overlook and doing your best to include and love everyone. You are tuned into people's needs and into the Spirit, and you pray with a wisdom that astonishes me.

One night before Isaiah got here, you asked if we could pray together before bed. We sat on the couch, with Caden leaning on my huge belly and you told us to wait just one minute. Running to Isaiah's room, you came back with his sock monkey and blankie, and said we needed to pray over them. You then proceeded to pray that little Isaiah would be safe, that he would have a good life, that he would know how much we loved him, and also that he would come soon. Tears immediately welled up in my eyes, because how did you become so wise and attuned and even know the value (or ability) to "pray over things"? I can take no credit, and thus my pride and joy and delight is completely in the Lord and how He shaped you, and how you are growing into that identity every single day.
At your kindergarten parent-teacher conference last year, your teacher lowered her voice and asked me what my secret was.

My secret? I asked, raising an eyebrow.

I mean, she went on, how did you get her to be such a great kid? How did you teach her to read so well already, and to behave so perfectly?

To which, of course, I desperately wanted to respond with some wisdom regarding my stellar parenting. Unfortunately, Caden was throwing a temper tantrum at my feet, and I had to admit that I think it was mostly luck. We just got an exceptional kid.
And I'm certain as you begin first grade, and step into yet another new role as "big sister to two little brothers," that you will continue to be extraordinary. I know the transition hasn't been easy. I know that long days of school are hard on an introvert (trust me sweet girl, I totally get that), and that we ask a lot of you as the biggest kid around here. And you help your parents and you love your brothers, and you do it with great grace (most of the time). I want you to know that we see that. We see you, we see your heart and who you are, and we are beyond grateful that we somehow get to be your mommy and daddy.
So as the year tumbles from summer to fall, as dusk comes earlier and temperatures (finally) dip below ninety, my prayer for you is that you will continue to find your footing. That you will discover more and more about yourself and grow in confidence and strength. That you will know the joys of being who God made you to be, because you are an amazing creation. That the pressures of finding friends and learning and helping will never weigh heavier than your delight in the Lord and in His plans for you.

Love you my sweetest girl -
*Side note: I realize things around here are basically a lot of BABIES and CHILDREN and hello-mommy-blogger. As it turns out, however, our days are pretty nuclear around here lately. That still means kiddos dropping by after school and joining us for church and such, but also mostly a circling of the wagons. Welcoming new life and stretching our family has meant a little bit of growing pains for the two older ones, which has necessitated intentional time as a family and lots of attention and focus on the littlest Stanleys. At some point, I will probably write more about ministry and neighborhood and such again. Sorry to everyone who might be uninterested in the minutia of our children's lives. 
** Another side note: some of these pictures, once again are by the lovely and talented Meg Davidson


  1. I loved reading this - like hearing my own heart regarding my oldest, Leo. These first months with a new baby I've had higher expectations for him (probably unfairly) and a shorter fuse. At night I go to bed thinking what I should have done differently, how I should have listened instead of pushed him to clean up faster for the love. Thank you for the reminder!

  2. I love reading about all the mommy things on this blog! Thank you for such beautiful and heartfelt words : )


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