Friday, August 21, 2020

Sweet Sixteen

Eliana, our sweet girl, what words can express our hearts this day, as our beautiful first born child turns sixteen?

I've started this letter in my head many times over the last few weeks. I haven't held back the tears any of those times.  I'm  afraid this blog post is going to lack structure, as it bounces tracks from one thought train to the next. I just hope you know, sweet girl, regardless of my word failure, that you have our hearts. They are yours. We are so very proud of you, Eliana, and ever so grateful to the One who made you! 

Sixteen years ago today I was in labor with you. We had the worst doctor and your daddy kept pulling out a book from his luggage to reference ... a book that had been covertly passed on to him from another dad.  We thought we knew what we were doing and we didn't.  Not much went as planned but we were blessed, by the end of the day, with a beautiful baby girl who would defy our every expectation over the next couple of years and then fourteen more on top of that. We were in love. And God was so very kind and faithful.

My thoughts flit back to when I turned sixteen. It had been a rough couple of years in our home and the day was spent traveling with my mom and oldest sister back to Louisiana from Galveston, where your Aunt Charity had just had to endure yet another surgery. The two main memories I have from that day were a long drive full of at-that-time rare leisure conversation with my mom and the sixteen roses she had made sure were waiting for me on the table when I got home. 

I'm not sure what it is about this sixteenth birthday of yours that has my heart in knots. I cherish your youthful enthusiasm and your glowing smile as you consider this next season of your life.

You are such an interesting young lady, Eliana Joy. Your life is a strange hybrid of, on one hand, living in a pretty nice, protective community -- some would even accurately describe you as sheltered -- and on the other hand, you've had to process and grieve and live through some pretty horrible realities. You've done  so with grace, wisdom, and maturity well beyond your years and often beyond mine, as well! 

As your parents, we long to protect you from pain and struggles.  We love growing and fostering and protecting that beautiful spark of life and joy in you. But we know, so much more clearly year after year, that some things are not ours to determine. 

And with that, we are so very thankful that your life, our beautiful girl, is in the hands of the Rock of Ages, the Lord God Almighty, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords... our Abba Father. He is so very kind and faithful.

And with that hope, we eagerly grasp on to your joy as you look to your future. He is trustworthy.

We love you, Eliana Joy. Happy, happy birthday. We hope you dance! 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Happy Birthday, 'Lijah!!

I can't believe it's been ten years since that night.
Aunt Charity and Aunt Laura were on a train, heading in our direction.

I had never had a baby more than three days early, so it seemed like we had plenty of time.

But there we were, heading to the hospital, eight days before your (estimated by me) due date and 14 days before the doctor thought you were due! 

Clearly, you had places to go and as the evening drew to an end, the only real question was whether you'd be born on August 2 or August 3. When you entered this world, the clock hanging in front of me and the other to my right said two minutes after midnight. But when the nurse read off your birth stats, she announced 11:59pm as your time of birth. She then told us that the clock on her monitor was the only one that mattered, so August 2 became your birthday.

Your double-knotted umbilical cord should have given us all the warning that we needed about your desire to tempt fate over the next few years. I'm still not sure how either of us survived your "twos"  --- smart, quiet, fast and fearless,  I never knew what you'd do next.

Thankfully, you've calmed remarkably and the last seven years have been smooth sailing in comparison.

So here you are, ten years old. We thank God you made it, and we thank God for you!

Happy, happy birthday, Elijah! We love you!