Well today's the day. One year ago we were waking up wondering what your little face was going to look like and who you were going to be.
A year later, I am blown away by all the ways that God has used you to grow me, to change me, to mold me into a better person: a more appreciative wife, a kinder sister, a more patient friend, a wiser mentor . . . Every single day, I learn more from you about God's love for me than I ever knew before the day I first held you in my arms.
I can't wrap my mind around the fact that you are ours. Well, truth be told, we know beyond a shadow of doubt that you belong to the Lord. But we are so grateful and amazed that He has entrusted us with such a beautiful daughter.
You woke up just a few minutes ago (you must have known it was your birthday!) and I rocked you back to sleep in the sweet silence of your room, wondering how you got so big that you hardly fit in my arms anymore. I remember so many nights I spent with you in the brown suede rocker: feeding you, rocking you, praying over you. I (almost, maybe a little) miss our special time together, alone in the darkness at all hours of the night and morning.
I know you will not remember this year, so I wanted to share a few of the things I wish you could remember, and things I never want to forget:
-The look of joy that lights up your face at all your accomplishments: the first time you rolled over, sat up, crawled, pulled yourself up to stand . . .
-How much you loved being at camp, even being passed around to all the kiddos!
-Your obsession with all animals: "doggie" was your first word after "dada" (which I think is every child's first word)
-How crafty you are in your avoidance of eating anything that isn't sweet. You are your father's daughter.
-Speaking of that, you are absolutely enamored with your daddy right now. I love seeing you two together, it melts my heart.
-Your personality: You are so outgoing, a little social butterfly who loves being the center of attention and hates missing out on anything.
-How easygoing and flexible you are. We always tell people that it's a combination of your personality and us dragging you everywhere.
-Everywhere we go, people come up to us and tell us how beautiful, sweet and wonderful you are. As if we didn't know that!
Most of all, I want you to remember how LOVED you are. Your daddy and I love you so much! If you could remember your first year of life, I would want you to remember all the times we rocked you to sleep. The days when we laughed and played and even danced. The times we walked back and forth down the road at camp, and the times we swam and splashed in the hot sun. I want you to remember how much I love you, and how hard I am trying to be a good mom to you, even when I have no clue what I'm doing (which hello? is pretty much all the time). When you're a teenager, and you hate my guts or think I'm out to ruin your life, I want you to remember the times you reached for me, or climbed in my lap to hear a story. Or held my fingers as I helped you walk.
But as hard as it is for me to say this (or write it down), I also want you to remember the times I failed. The times I simply didn't have the patience, and the times I cried in frustration and confusion. Those nights when I was bleary eyed and desperate to get back in bed. The days when I would rather spend time on my computer or talking to a friend than playing with you. Those days when I missed special moments or refused to read you a story for the thirteenth time. Because honestly? Those times seem just as important as the good ones. Maybe they don't make me look as good, or help me feel as warm and fuzzy inside; nevertheless, I am certain they are shaping who both of us are and growing our understanding of Christ. As someone wise once told me, it is not until we realize how imperfect and sinful we are that we will realize our desperation for Christ. And it will not be until you recognize our complete inability to be the perfect parents that you will understand Jesus and His beautiful grace.
Happy Birthday my sweet Jayce-Face. I love you, daddy loves you, and most importantly, Jesus loves you!