Happy 9th birthday to my tender, gentle, sensitive, kind, full of jokes, and heart of gold firstborn girlie who gave me the name mama.
It was in those first sleepless nights with you that I remember realizing my life was now changed. You were all I ever dreamed of since the time I was a little girl playing with my dolls. I wanted so badly to be a mama, and now I was. I was so young and scared and I know I've made a thousand mistakes that I wish with all my heart I could go back and fix, but I also know that God has given me grace in my parenting. He has covered when I have failed. And you my dear sweet girl, have been so kind and loving to forgive me when I come to you and apologize again for not being the mama you needed then, or sometimes even now.
Sometimes I think He knew more than I did that we needed to name you Zoelle Grace. A girl full of life, who gives grace, and reminds others that grace is theirs to have from God.
I have a vivid memory of holding you across my chest in my arms when you were maybe just a few months old. You were fast asleep after nursing and I remember just staring at your face. Your pink perfect lips, your adorable nose, but most all your little wisp of baby hair across your forehead. I remember smoothing it back with my hand and just being amazed at you.
Nine years later I held you in my arms last night. That doesn't happen much anymore, because your lanky body stretches out of my arms now and your legs dangle to the floor. But I held you close, and I stared at your pink perfect lips, your adorable nose, and then I took my hand and smoothed back your hair. You giggled thinking you were too old for this, and it took everything in me not to cry.
At nine, you love to read. It is a rare thing not to see you with your nose in a book. You love to play piano, often playing ahead in your books because that is just what you do. Your favorite color is green. You love almost all foods, but you still hate eggs and you don't really care for chicken. I think you like violin more than you let on, but practicing is not your favorite thing. You love gymnastics and everything is a competition with your littlest sister. After we tuck you into bed at night, you talk and talk to Meridian. I often hear you two giggling long after you are supposed to be sleeping. Sometimes I come to check on you, and you are reading long after the light is to be off....always reading. Your teachers tell me you are super quiet at school, but at home watch out! You LOVE to share about your day and while I'm not always the best about listening, I do love to hear about your day.
I have nine years left with you honey. Nine! Oh, I realize I have a lifetime with you, but I also realize that every year you get older is one less year of impact I have in your life. We are now on the edge of those pre-teen years and part of me is so scared. What if I mess up the teenage years so badly? What if I'm not the mama you need during those years? It's in those times of being scared, that I'm reminded of how scared I was in those newborn days. I had no idea what I was doing then, and I have no idea what I'm doing now.
It was there then, and it will be there now and in the years to come.
For nine years I have written you a love letter for your birthday. I write you one each year because as much as music is my love language, writing is where I pour out my heart. It is in these blank pages that I feel I can be most honest, and you can get a glimpse of my heart. It is my prayer that years from now you will look back on these letters and be able to read the love I had for you. I may not always get on the floor and play with you (and I'm still working on being better at that), but you will always know my love for you and be able to read these words of my heart.
You are amazing Z! God has made you this little girl with a kind, gentle, sensitive heart that breaks for others and I cannot wait to see what He will do in your life. As you enter into being a nine year old, I pray that you will hold close your love for others. Continue to always show kindness to others above all else. Keep making others laugh, because laughter is truly the best medicine anyone could ever receive. Most of all love others without fear. I say that because there will probably be many times in your life you will be hurt by others and you will be tempted to close yourself off from others because it hurts too much to get hurt. Don't do that sweet girl. Never be afraid to love. Love does hurt sometimes, but there is so much beauty in loving others and it is where I have seen God most in my life.
I love you honey! May you have a Happy 9th Birthday!