Thursday, February 03, 2011

On Your Second Birthday

Dear Annabeth,
Today I celebrated with a dear friend who is due to have her first daughter very soon. All your LPM aunties and I sat at a big table and feasted while Jennifer opened up one adorable baby outfit after another. With such confections, we hardly needed dessert. I'm sure everyone in the restaurant grew tired of our obnoxious gasping, squealing, and clapping.

All the outfits were adorable, but they were not the source of the grin on my face. I know, because God graced me with you, what a joy it is to have a daughter. I can't wait for Jennifer to experience it. I know what it is, after a wonderful rough-and-tumble boy, to see God's glory emerge in the femininity of a toddler who tilts her head to the side and smiles. Annabeth, how did you know to do that? How did you know to love the sight of yourself in a dress? What made you adore the tiara your daddy bought you for Christmas? Why do you sit at my knee and lean your face as close to mine as you can while I put on makeup? Why do you love unpacking my purse?

"The sweetest thing is realizing that there's one like you in the family," I told Jennifer a few nights ago. We'd gone to Starbucks and sat in the parking lot with our drinks and our seat warmers. Sometimes that's easier on a mother whose body is preparing for the grand introduction. I remember going through that same drive thru with Bibby and Aunt "Sassa" a few days after you were born. Melissa had me try the London Fog Latte. They were making me laugh really hard and it hurt something fierce.

Today is your second birthday. Some would say that you're not a baby anymore, but I'm not listening to them. My dear, I would give anything to go back to the first night when it was just you and me and Daddy in that hospital room. Every guest was gone and I didn't have to share you. I took a soft ivory outfit out of my bag and dressed you for the first time. You unfolded your 6 pound, 6 ounce frame and I took in the marvelous sight of my newborn daughter.


I wish I could hold you again like I did on that night - swaddled in a hospital issued flannel blanket and depending on me for every need. Pink and new and wearing impossibly tiny diapers. Now when I rock you in your minky dot chair, you think it's more fun to climb down and sing our songs while trotting around the room. Your brother, though, has come to love rocking with me again. Maybe you will come back around when you're getting close to your fifth birthday.

Last night your daddy and I crept into your room at 11:59. It was completely dark except for the light of my iPhone. You were laying on your back with your hands over your face. We whispered that we loved you and "Happy birthday, baby girl." Your daddy left the room to go check on the temperature in Jackson's room. I scooped you and your blanket out of your bed and we rocked for a few minutes. Your head rested on my shoulder and you were completely still and relaxed. You were my little baby again. I drank in the complete trust and surrender of that moment.

When you were a newborn, sometimes I would fall asleep rocking you after your feedings. I could have put you back in your bed right away, but I knew how my arms would one day ache to remember what holding your tiny frame was like. I would will myself not to forget. I would hold you tight, as if to leave an impression on my chest. You will keep growing and soon you'll be too big for me to hold the way I did last night. But I will myself to remember what it felt like to snuggle and rock my two-year-old birthday girl.

Annabeth, you are a spectacular little person. You have your mommy, daddy and brother wrapped around your little finger. You're full of sunshine and sometimes even firecrackers. I love who you're becoming. Sometimes I'd like to turn back time for a day, but it's so exciting to see you at this stage. You surprise us every day with something new you can do, say or understand.

I pray for God to give me the grace to raise you to love and honor His Son. We will walk with Him together and you will join your grandmothers and aunts in a heritage of serving Him. I pray that in the next year you will come to grasp the Lord's love for you.

I love you with all my heart,
Mama

Psalm 139: 13-18

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

62 comments:

Kristen said...

I am in tears after reading that post. So beautiful. As I long to have a child someday (hopefully soon!) and my brand new baby niece was born 2 weeks ago - I can't imagine that ache of remembering her little body wrapped up in your arms. Such a beautiful post. What a loving and wonderful mother you are. God bless you, and happy birthday Annabeth.

Callie said...

thank you for writing this. she will love reading it one day. plus, it makes me a little giddy about holding my new little one soon enough!!

~Debra said...

Happy Birthday, Annabeth!

sara mattingly said...

Talk about a tear jerker. Amanda I simply loved everything about this post. It was so sweet and beautiful.

Annabeth,
You are such a joy to me and I love each time I am blessed to babysit you. You can thank your sweet parents for showing me DBU or else I would be around more. I love your sweet hugs and smile. Happy Birthday Annabeth!
You are LOVED!

Erin said...

Happy Birthday, sweet Annabeth.
Amanda, it is so special to read what you write about your sweet baby girl. I can't wait to have a little one of my own.

Cindy- My Life HIS Story said...

Bless your sweet heart. You made me cry. I write letters like that for my girls, but only on 'milestone' birthdays. They are now almost 22 and almost 14. EVERY stage and age has brought great joy, but oh how I miss the rocking chair age! Enjoy every moment!

Jenica said...

So precious, thank you for sharing this!

Kiki said...

I see her in that newborn picture. Do you know what I mean? That's her tiny nose. So sweet. Love this letter and so will she.

boomama said...

Beautiful.

Happy Birthday, sweet Annabeth.

Natann said...

Amanda - This is so precious, thank you for sharing. This is the first time I have posted on your blog. With that said, I wanted you to know that I have every intention of starting this tradition with my son. I love your heart for Jesus and for people. Thanks for always encouraging and entertaining me! - Natasha, Omaha

Big Mama said...

As one who knows what it feels like to have a precious baby girl, I have tears in my eyes. It just gets better, my friend. It just keeps getting better.

Happy Birthday to sweet Annabeth.

Ashley said...

That's beautiful Amanda.

bethany said...

There's that scripture again...I love it.

This is exactly how I feel about Storey. Well said. And she may be 2 1/2, but I still call her my baby.

Wendy said...

Oh my goodness, I am crying over this post. My longed for baby girl will be a year old next week and I feel the same way. I can't wait to experience this next year that you just wrote about.

Bobbie said...

Happy Birthday, Annabeth! You have a Mommy with a beautiful heart and a gift of communicating her feelings. You're one loved little princess!

Alex and Jill said...

Oh this made me cry. A letter she will cherish always. She'll always be your baby.

Julie Marler (Mammy) said...

After two boys, oh, how excited we were to have a baby girl!! That was in the days of never knowing what you were expecting until birth! So you can imagine the celebrating that was going on in our deliver room after she was born!! Just a few days after bringing our sweet daughter home, it still hadn't really sunk it that " I HAD A DAUGHTER"!! One day, I was walking through the house and caught a glimpse of a pair of lacy, ruffly diaper rubber pants (in the days when we used real diapers!) laying on the sofa. I remember grinning really big (almost giggling) and doing a little "hallelujah" dance and thanking God for my little girly girl!! I promised God that she would ALWAYS be dressed like a girl with a bow in her hair!! I kept that promise and she always had her "signature" bow (before the big trend of big bows) Even as a teenager, she always wore a bow tied around her ponytail! Now she is the mother of two girly-girls that ALWAYS have bows in their hair!! And I still thank God almost daily for my 32 yr old baby girl!!!
Mammy

Tara G. said...

Tears! I have two daughters and they are something wonderful, aren't they!?! Blessings on you!!

Bev Brandon @ The Fray said...

She's your friend Amanda. She's your girl. How could any little one not adore a mom who delights in her so. Your words are just beautiful. Can you fathom how much joy you bring to your mom? And what about to your friend, the King? He takes all this in and you honor Him so with your whole life. The King is enthralled with you and Annabeth, Psalm 45:11. Happy Birthday to your precious girl!

The Rigoloso's said...

That was beautiful! I have tears! Happy Birthday to your sweet, sweet baby girl!

Meghann said...

What a lovely tribute! Happy birthday Annabeth!

Amanda-just wait. The feelings only get more bittersweet as time goes by. My two girls are 4 and 8 now. I'm completely enchanted with the little ladies they've turned into, yet part of me always wants to be back in that hospital room.

R said...

...and now i want to go scoop up my two little princesses and rock them at 2am! :) and thank you for reminding me of God's glory manifested in their femininity...in these days fraught with five- and three-year-old drama, it was a much-needed reminder that that's the way God designed them uniquely.

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Amanda,

I visit but usually don't comment. However, as I sit here early in the morning reading this post, I'm in tears...and I'm not the crying kind. I have never had children (by choice) and so I cannot identify with so many of the mommy-feelings. I read this and thought that perhaps 45 or so years ago my own mother felt much of what you felt.

Blessings to you and happy birthday to Miss AnnaBeth.

jennyhope said...

Oh girl this about does me in! No one but God will know what my girl means to me. Yet we can share in our joy and love from being mothers of little girls. Morgan is the uncontested apple of my eye. I have wanted to turn the clock so many times only to hold her again. I was so thankful that the Lord put it in my heart to not wish any of her life away. I can remember hearing all of the time...."I wish you were grown...I can't wait for you to grow up and leave...."and etc. I can't imagine wanting that with mine as I mourned her being in k5. Haha! I still can't believe Annabeth is two! Thank you for letting us share in her life. I adore all of y'all! You are such a good momma!!

Chris, Sarah and Kate said...

I'm in tears...I know how you felt because I did the same thing with my 2 year old daughter. As I'm about to go to the hospital Monday morning to have our son, you helped me remember to capture each moment and yes, will myself to remember what holding that tiny bundle in my arms. I'm already excited for the alone time we'll have in the hospital but also dreading missing my Katerbug. I know she'll be in good hands...but I'm cherishing these moments with it being just us...we've had a lot of those moments being snowed in! :)

Joyce said...

Happy Birthday to your lovely Annabeth. i have daughters and I feel your heart on this one. Mine are mostly grown up now but still sweet and dug into my heart deeper with every passing year.

Sarah said...

Beautiful post. How precious. As sweet as little boys are, there's just somthing about a little girl. :) Happy birthday to your cuties patootie 2 year old!!!

Cheryl said...

Happy Birthday, AB!

You are the most precious Momma!
I hope you've writen this on paper too. One day she will treasure having it in your handwriting.

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

Beautiful post I had tears in my eyes as I read this Happy Birthday Annabeth we love seeing pictures of you all the time you are a cutie pie we love you here on mama blog.Have a good day
Carol

Missy said...

Motherhood is unspeakable joy! I'm so glad you had some sunggle moments in the nights. I still rock all three of mine to bed. I asked my six-year-old boy, "How long do you want Mommy to rock you at night?" He replied, "Maybe when I'm twelve, you can stop." So dear!

Haley said...

That made me cry. On a morning when I am completely sleep deprived from my littlest blessing, I need to be reminded that these times won't last long and I will miss rocking and patting his tiny bottom.

Happy birthday to your Annabeth!

lavonda said...

What a precious letter.
Happy Birthday sweet Annabeth!

Angie said...

I, like some of the others, am in tears! My two girls are 22 and 17 and I sometimes long to hold them in my arms and rock them again. I am so blessed to have two christian daughters living their lives for the Lord. We are each other's best freinds and I am LOVING that! I am looking forward to the day of rocking my grandbabies while they sleep...when the Lord blesses me with some. :)

You sound like the sweetest mommy...but how could you not be - you had a great example.

Lauren said...

Sweetest thing EVER!!!! :)

Darla said...

That is the most beautiful thing I think you have ever written. Part of its beauty is that I think any mother of a daughter would want to write the very same words to her daughter ... but yet your words are perfect.

Barbara Head said...

With this big lump in my throat all I can manage right now is "Happy Birthday, Annabeth!".

Chaeli said...

I loved this post so much, it made me tear up. What a blessing little AB is!

Kristin said...

This post brought tears to my eyes! What a sweet sentiment to leave for your precious little girl!! My daughter is 4 months old and I'm constantly telling myself to slow down and enjoy the snuggles, rocking, and quiet moments with her. Thank you for this sweet reminder!! And, happy birthday to Annabeth!

Myriam said...

So precious Amanda. What a great and sweet mama you are.
Happy Birthday Annabeth!!!

Myriam

Jeannie (HAPPY HEART) said...

Happy Birthday, beautiful Annabeth!
Enjoy! God is so very good :)

Christy said...

Oh my - this was such a beautiful post. . . I feel like you wrote what is on my heart. . .thank you for sharing your heart. I have a 16 month old girl (and 2 1/2 yr old boy) and I do ache to hold her as a newborn. . . but I get a thrill watching her grown into a little lady. . .

Nancy Jensen said...

That was so beautiful. It made me all teary. Your daughter will cherish your words to her forever.

My daughters still snuggle in my lap. It is one of the first things they do when they get home from school... and they are 16 and 13!

Enjoy every precious moment.

Mary said...

Such a tender and beautiful post for your baby girl. Happy Birthday Annabeth!

JayCee said...

This post made me tear up!! It reminded me of the book "Love You Forever".....thanks for sharing your heart!

Ashley said...

That was so beautiful! I needed to read this and be taken back to sweet times like that, now that my oldest girl is 13 and daily gets mad at me at the drop of a hat for making decisions that are loving, but not understood or appreciated yet. I need to remember the little girl in her.

Casey said...

I had this very moment with my own almost 2 year old boy last night. I just couldn't put him down.

What a beautiful heart of a mother you have.
Thank you for sharing

Sarah said...

This was so fabulously written! It brought tears to my eyes as I thought of my two year old and how big he has gotten. I miss those teeny tiny snuggle cuddle days too :(. Happy Birthday to your little girl.

Lindsee said...

Sweet, sweet, sweet! What a treasure this note will be for both of y'all. Happy birthday, Annabeth!

stacikristine said...

What a sweet, sweet letter. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I'd love to meet your sweet little girl someday--and see Jackson all grown up!

Kim Safina said...

Amanda,

You are leaving such a beautiful Legacy for your darling Annabeth.
There is nothing like motherly LOVE and WORDS of affirmation to carry us through this life!

Thank you for being such an AWESOME WIFE AND MOTHER!!!

HAPPY "2" BIRTHDAY ANNABETH!

wow!!! Jackson's big "5" birthday is coming up!!

I hope to see you while I am in Houston!
Blessings,
Kim Safina

Patti said...

Our little ladies were born on the same day, and I so enjoy reading about, and relating to, your joy in mothering Annabeth.

Katie said...

Thank you for sharing these sweet moments with us. Two more weeks and I'll post about my own sweet two year old princess. Love it!

His Jules said...

Happy Birthday Annabeth!!!

Amanda you are an amazing wife, mother and daughter of the King, I say that only because of all I see through your blog and your Mom's but also because it is what God laid on my heart as I read your beautiful post. I know that AB will cherish your letter in the years to come. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Dionna said...

Such intimate and deeply personal thoughts. I feel blessed to read them - for they are the written chord of every loving mother's heart.

Truly beautiful.

Leslie and James said...

So beautiful! And so fun to read since my small group is doing the David study and we just watched the session where she talked about AB turning 1! Happy birthday!

Shellie Paparazzo said...

Oh, Amanda. I have a lump in my throat, and that takes a lot to get me to expres emotion in any way. I tend to hold things in. I wish I had willed myself to remember when my kids were little instead of being sad and depressed and wishing that had a better mommy.

bethany said...

Your words are so tender and sweet. What a legacy you are creating for your little girl.
Happy 2nd Birthday sweet Annabeth!

Jess said...

This is so beautiful. What a sweet keepsake to hold onto for your little girl.

Mandy said...

I just started following you and your mama on Twitter because I've been doing your mom's studies for over 7 years... This is my first entry I've read of your blog and it touched me so tenderly. I don't have kids nor am I married but I am learning what a precious and important role being a Mom is and how lovely children are... This post is my dream for all mothers out there to feel. Children need lovin so bad these days...
God bless you and little Annabeth :)

annalee said...

oh how your words touched me, and i know they will be so dear to annabeth when she reads them years from now. what a delightful mom you are to your kids!

Jamie said...

What a beautiful letter! I just sat here and cried sweet tears in my coffee while I read it. Happy Birthday Annabeth!

Unknown said...

Reading this post, I don't know what brought me here tonight but I have a good idea of who. I have tears rolling down my cheeks as I cling to my newborn daughter. She's three weeks old, her daddy is sound asleep in bed and now she is sound asleep with her head on my shoulder and although it is so late and I'm so tired, for some reason I googled this blog I remember from years ago, came upon this post, and cried as I read the words you wrote to your daughter years ago.
It's so encouraging in the midst of night time feedings and exhaustion, to take a moment and remember to cherish her and focus on her and not let myself get worn down by all these changes and new duties as a mommy. When my daughter was born, I had her foot print stamped in my bible over psalm 139
Thank you for sharing such a precious love letter with the world
I pray you and your daughter are doing wonderful