Dearest J, my firstborn, my first girl.
It’s your birthday tonight, and I’ve got some words to say to you. Truth be told, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed these days … truth be told, I’m a lot overwhelmed .
Our life just keeps on happening in trickle down ways on trickle down days, and I turned around and you, my first baby, have been here a decade.
I spent most of that decade in a daze wearing yoga pants and clutching a coffee cup, hastily posting pictures to Instagram and Facebook so I could remember it later. And I’m joyful for the memories and terrified of the future and drowning in the medicine. I want to laugh and cry and take a nap all at the same time.
And girl of mine? It’s a great grieving dance of motherhood in adulthood and losing your life to save it and sometimes just losing it.
You are old enough to catch a glimpse of the moves now, between my awkward shuffle on the bad days, and the moments I choreograph hours of cutting, ironing, and stenciling bricks on an old flannel bed sheet, culminating in the Harry Potter tenth birthday celebration for you, my girl, who, I swear, grew two feet and light years in a scant five days at sleepaway camp.
And you know what? In the bustle of the dance my darling girl, in the moments I trip over my two left feet and stray off the beat of the gospel, when I stumble over my tongue, shouting at you over the music? You give me all the grace and those, those are the moments I grieve and hold most dear.
I have more words for you.
Precocious: forward, mature, gifted, talented, clever, intelligent, quick.
Luminous: full of light.
We are working on more … maybe for your eleventh birthday. You have a way of making us tongue-tied.
Happiest of birthdays to my witty, empathetic, high-spirited artist who sees the world in shades of color I don’t even dream in. You are a gift to me.
Praying the love of Christ over you tonight, and every night. All my love.