Saturday, December 22, 2007


Brad and I have a long history of celebrating our children's birthday milestones in wildly different emotional states. He is way more into the "yahoo" moment of the occasion and I lean strongly toward the "boo hoo" feeling which is generally accompanied by lots of crying. For example:

(My throat is tight and my eyes are watering.)

"So you just wanted to have kids so we can get them out of the house as soon as possible?"

Brad rolls his eyes and sighs deeply out of exasperation.

"So you just wanted to have kids so we can never be alone again for a single moment in our lives?"

We are ruled by extremes.

So here I am on Lilly's 4th birthday. She is growing up, my girl. And as usual, I am not okay.

For each birthday, I write my kids a letter. Not one to receive any time soon, but for the future. College, maybe? Or when they get married? Or maybe when they hit a rough patch in high school? We'll see.

But I want them to know how as they were changing, growing, maturing, and driving me crazy that they were loved. Above all, without exception, and more deeply than I can possibly express with any clarity unless my heart suddenly develops the ability to type.

I don't include only the "high" points of developmental milestones, but struggles, frustrations, and rocky patches as well.

There is a certain beauty to knowing you are loved without question despite less-than-perfect tendencies. Parenting is certainly a mix of elation and frustration. But sometimes, years later, when the intensity of the small struggles has worn off, it's easy to look back with rose-colored glasses and see only the happy, compliant times. That's great in many respects, but there is a shallowness and simplicity when someone loves you and delares, "You are easy to love."

That sort of love, while sincere, feels better suited for small puppies and uncomplicated lives.

I just think how blessed I am that God included so many of the failures of the greatest kings, prophets, leaders, and disciples in the Word. Not that I revel in others' sin, but to realize that these people screwed up BIG TIME and yet God loved them, used them, and even blessed them as privileged pillars in his kingdom is awe-inspiring. That certainly takes a love greater than any human has to offer.

So she is four. My baby. She surprised us when we found out she would be ours and continues that theme in spades to this day.

I have no idea how the quietest, meekest, easiest baby morphed into the most rambunctious, opinionated, insightful little girl I know. But I am thankful for her complexity.

For in it, we are forced and compelled to love her highs and lows and the craziness in between. It is quite the rollercoaster ride of emotion, but abiding through it all is love.

She is simply amazing. And I love her.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Lilly Bean!!!
We love you,
Josh, Karen, Payton,
Audrey, and Reesey Piece