Six. I can't quite comprehend how you are turning 6 because I can still vividly remember you staring up at me the moment they placed you in my arms after you were born. You were so alert. And your eyes were blue.
When we first found out we were pregnant with you, I was scared. Scratch that. I was terrified. We'd only been married for 2 months and had no idea what we were doing. But God knew exactly what He was doing and I've never been able to imagine what life would have been like had it not happened that way.
At 20 weeks we found out you were a girl. We were overjoyed, but that terrified feeling I'd had when we found out we were having a baby came back. All the mistakes and not so great choices I've made in my life, pains I've endured and pain I've caused came flooding over me and I desperately didn't want you to be like me. So from the beginning, I've fought to make sure you feel valued, and loved, and important. A few months ago you came to me and asked, "Mom, what does ugly mean?" I did my best to explain and then said that sometimes people call other people ugly. You looked at me with all the innocence in the world and said, "That's terrible." And it is. I suppose many would say I've sheltered you from certain things as well, but I'm okay with that. I'm okay with you not learning the definition of ugly until you were almost 6. My hope is that you see the beauty in everyone and everything - looking deeper than the surface because the surface so often hides what's underneath (good or bad).
Your birth wasn't easy. In fact, of the three of you, yours was the toughest. I pushed for 3.5 hours and I wasn't even aware of the passing of time anymore. Just that I needed to be DONE pushing and holding my baby. You were quite content to stay put, but with a little help from suction and a whole lot of pushing from me, you burst into the world. And our lives were changed. Life is so much better with you in it.
You teach me more and more as each year goes by. I was worried about having another baby because I didn't want our relationship to change, but God eased my worries and Sprout was born when you were 2 and half. You weren't too sure about him at first, but your love for him is fierce. We see it any time he gets a consequence you don't think is fair. Or when you're worried about him getting hurt. Or teaching him something new. He's hit the age where he wants to do everything you do. Sometimes you like that. And sometimes you want to be left alone.
I pray you always know how loved you are. That if you ever start to doubt yourself or your ability to do anything, that you remember that anything is possible with God. That you never fear failure. Or success for that matter. And that when things get tough, you'll pray about it and keep going. I pray that you'll have the confidence to try new things, even if you're scared. That you'll grow up seeing the world through God's eyes. That you'll see that everyone matters, no matter their skin color or background or beauty. They all matter. And you do, too, You matter. Never forget that. Even when someone tells you you don't. Because you do. Your story matters, too. Be kind. Even when others aren't. This will be one of the hardest things to do - to turn the other cheek when someone wrongs you.
I pray you always love Jesus. That when you fail or get your heartbroken or find yourself in a lonely place, that you'll remember that you're never alone. Of course I wish you didn't have to fail or get your heartbroken or find yourself in a lonely place, but sadly, for most people, it's inevitable. I also hope that when you succeed, find true love or find yourself surrounded by those who love you, that you'll remember that you're never alone.
My heart feels both heavy and light as you turn 6. Heavy because I cannot believe so many years have passed and that you aren't a baby anymore. Light because I can't wait to see all that God has in store for you, for us in the next year. I feel like just yesterday I held you for the first time, but I also feel like I've known you forever.The past year has been amazing for us as mother and daughter, and I couldn't be more proud of the little lady you are becoming.
As a toddler, you were so cautious. But over the past several months I've watched you throw caution to the wind and replace it with a carefree spirit for adventure. My first born. My only girl. I have all the memories from the moment you were born stored inside me, but I feel like I blinked and we were here. I'm afraid if I close my eyes the next 6 years will have passed when I open them.
You blow me away every day with your creativity. With your wit. With your love for nature. With your strength. With your love for Jesus. I have so many wishes and hopes for you, but I know that as you grow you'll pave your own way. And as you grow, may you always feel worthy. Because you are. May you always be brave. Because you are. May you always feel loved. Because you are.