Today is my sweet daughter’s third birthday. What a crazy, beautiful milestone! In some ways, at only 25 myself, I can barely believe I have been a parent for three years. Ever since I knew I was pregnant, and moreso when I found out she was a girl and she became really real to me, this girl has been my heart, and the tied-for-first (with my husband) most important human person (excluding Jesus, who always comes first) in my life.
My little girl turning three fills me with so many feelings. In many ways, she’s not a baby anymore, but I still see so much baby in her. At the same time, I see so much possibility and promise of the child and adult this amazing, beloved-by-God little girl is going to be
There’s fear there too. What if she inherits my chronic pain and illnesses? What is going to come as she gets older that I can’t protect her from?
With all those thoughts swirling around, here is a hypothetical (she cannot yet read or understand the concepts laid out here) letter to my dear daughter on her third birthday.
Dear beloved little one,
You’re finally three! On one hand, I can’t believe it. How is my little baby so big?
I thank God everyday for giving Ethan and I the gift that is you. You, our little honeymoon baby, were such a blessing. Before that fateful day in late May when two pregnancy tests confirmed my worried suspicions–yup, there’s a second line, clear as day–I had my life all planned out. It was going to be at least five years before we had you. We were going to be settled, both graduated from school, likely back in Michigan, probably buying a house.
Oh, how God sees human plans and laughs!
You have filled my life with a purpose and joy and beauty I never thought I’d experience, especially this young. You are my sunshine on a cloudy day. I thank God for you everyday. You are better and brighter and more special than any of my life plans without God could have possibly been.
I worry, too. I think that’s a normal mom thing, worrying about their babies.It’s not your fault, beautiful. It’s just a side effect of how much I love you. I don’t know what your future holds, darling girl, but I know there will be pain and heartache. That, my dear, is just a side effect of life, I’m afraid.
And I worry about your little body. You are so vibrant and so active, it’s hard for your mama to keep up with you sometimes! I do the very best I can. When you fall down a lot, often on purpose, silly girl, and bruise easily, I can’t help but fear that you will inherit my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and possibly my Chiari malformation, and have to live everyday with the struggles of chronic pain that your mama does. Oh, I would do anything to save you from that fate!
But, what I do know is, whether you inherit my disabilities or not, whether you’re in and out of doctors a ton as a kid like I was, whether you have to give up passions, like band, like I did, you are going to be okay kid. You know how I know that? Because your mama went through them, and she’s okay. I’m okay because I had an incredible support system, and parents, and friends, and most importantly, a God, who loved me endlessly.
And little one, good news: you are just as beloved! You are surrounded by a community that adores you! You have a mama and daddy who think the world of you and are so committed to being there for you. No matter what happens, sweet girl, what challenges you face, please, keep coming to your mama. I love you endlessly, and it will always be OK.
But I know I and your daddy and your grandparents and all your aunts and uncles, both biological and related through love, we are human. We are going to mess up. You are likely going to say you hate me and can’t wait to go off to college, just like I said to my poor parents. But through all of that, you are beloved by a perfect God. The number one thing I hope to instill in you, my dear daughter, my heart, is how dearly God loves you. Because that is the truth that will carry you through life.
I hope three is a magical year for you, filled with learning and growing and the joys of childhood. I am so glad I get to be with you through it. You are such joy. And so, so loved. Always.