Monday, April 24, 2017

To My Sweet Girl on your 1st Birthday

How do I begin to tell you how much your first year has changed me- how being your mom has made me a better person? Made me feel things deeper, see things more clearly. How sometimes when I look at you or hear your deep belly laugh that I feel like my heart might explode? I love you from the little bit of hair on the top of your head all the way down to your cute little chubby toes.

This picture is dark and isn't at all the best picture that we have from your first days in the hospital but it is one of my very favorites. I snapped it on my phone during the middle of the night after a feeding. Your dad was asleep on the fold out chair beside us and everyone else had long gone home. The nurses had brought you to me and left. I was alone with you for the very first time and I felt the weight of what it meant to be your mom. I realized that this was no longer just a dream about one day having a daughter and getting to play dress up and teaching you how to bake cookies. This was the moment that I knew I would do anything and everything to take care of you for the rest of my life. I didn't realize that I had been waiting for this moment to fully grasp what it meant to be your mom. But so many thoughts and feelings washed over me all at once and I stayed awake just to stare at your sweet face and pray that God would help me to be what you needed and that when I fail, he would fill in those places. Because even on my best days when I feel like we have maybe gotten it right, I will never come close to being all that you need. I pray that your dad and I will always teach and model God's love and that you come to truly know him and have a relationship with Him that is more important to you than anything else. And that whatever you do and wherever life takes you, even if you mess up, your relationship with God will sustain you and always draw you back to Him. Because as much as we love you, I will always tell you that He loves you best. 

I pray all the time that you will come to love God and accept him as your Savior, but also that you would have a fierce and overwhelming love for other people, that you would put other people's needs above your own, that you would have a servant's heart. That you would understand from an early age that this life is not about us- but God uses our lives for his greater purposes if we allow him. You have such a joyous spirit about you already and I pray that never changes. I love watching you see things for the first time - almost everything makes you smile. I hope you always view life with such overwhelming joy - that no matter the circumstances, even on your most challenging days, you can still find a reason to smile. 

I don't always rock you to sleep because you usually go to sleep on your own, but for these last few days I have rocked you and held you long after you fell asleep. This first year has shown me how fast time goes by and I want to soak in these sweet moments as long as I can. I want to remember your sweet baby smell and how it feels to have your little baby hand touching my face. I want to sing to you and pray over you and imagine all the things you will do in your life. As much as I would love to keep you this small forever, I know we would only miss out on so much more. I can't wait to watch you grow and be a part of all the things that God has planned for you. So tonight I will hold you a little longer but tomorrow we will wake up and celebrate you. Your life is so special and I am so blessed to be a part of it - to get to be your mom is such a precious gift. We have so much more to learn but we will learn together as we go. I hope you always know that I love you and will always be your biggest fan. I love you, my sweet sweet Camille Catherine. Happiest of birthdays - the best is yet to come.