Open Letter to My Firstborn

Sugar Bear,

Today you asked me if your tummy was big. I told you it was not and then made the terrible decision to ask you if mine was. You informed me indeed it was. Thanks for that. You keep my ego in check. Thanks for being my accountability partner without even knowing it.

During bath time you directed me to go fold the laundry. I asked for clarification three times before I understood that I was having some domestic failure going on. I appreciate you encouraging me to not be lazy (though we really need to work on your delivery…).

This week you said your husband was going to be just like your Daddy, complete with muscles and having a job outside the home. When I inquired what you were going to do all day,selfishly hoping you’d stay home with my grand kids, you said you were going to take care of me. I appreciate your willingness to live with me forever. Unfortnuately, kiddo, you’re gonna have to peace out of our house in about 15 years. I trust you’ll be thrilled to do so. My hope is you know the door is never closed on you. Even if you have a house of your own, Daddy and I will always have a home for you.

You asked to play soccer instead of continuing with dance class. My desire to live vicariously through you and your athletic abilities is a little absurd, but I assure you the drive you possess to excel at everything from coloring to writing the letter “K” will bless you abundantly if you put your trust in God to guide your steps.

Some nights you run into Daddy and my room declaring you’ve had a nightmare. The fact that you feel safe enough with Daddy to comfort you more nights than not makes me smile. At some point, though, you’ve gotta let me have my half of the bed back. Your full size bed in your room is calling your name, sweet girl. Go get your snuggle on with those sheets. I believe in you! You’ve recently confessed you just need “some Daddy cuddles.” Those “nightmares” are really just an effort to jack my bed space. Well played, daughter, well played.

You’re a food snob. Part of me wants to give myself a nice pat on the back and ask for praise all around. The other is annoyed. The part where you’d prefer Gouda instead of plain ol’ Cheddar. The part where you attempt to leverage bites of vegetables in an effort to be excused from the dinner table. I’m thrilled you have an eclectic palate. I’m also so blessed to know that each day we’re not without food. Sorry in advance that we’re out of eggs. I’ll prep you at bedtime not to expect much more than cereal and milk. My bad.

At night when we pray before bed or you ask to tuck me in I’m usually just thinking ahead to when I  can go to sleep. I’m sorry for this. I often put my own needs and desires before yours. You’ve been on the back burner often and my prayer is that you’ve never felt it. Know I’m constantly praying for God to turn my selfishness into a desire to spend intentional time with you. You are valuable. You are a blessing.  You are a challenge. Thank you for being all of those things.

You’re  smarter than me. Your linear thinking and ability to analyze thing catches me off guard. You are your father’s daughter. I am thankful. Once you’re in school I can’t help you with your homework. I’m sorry. I graduated from both high school and college with nearly a 4.0 GPA but I assure you you’re smarter than me. May your book smarts never define you. May you never stifle your intelligence to appear inferior to your peers. To a man. To anyone. God has blessed you in many ways. Shine that light, little girl, shine it. Just don’t roll your eyes when I have to Google answers to Kindergarten math. It’s not my strong point. Learn to deal with it.

God has chosen me to be your mother. You didn’t get a say in it. You were just born, bright eyed and a fighter. Your time in the NICU was a scary time for me, one that prevented me from bonding with you in a way I would have desired. I have spent the last three years trying to make up for the crucial time I missed in those first days. I assure you it was not my fault, I was scared, clueless, and overwhelmed. All I knew from your uncle’s experience in such a critical part of the hospital was that babies that go to be cared for never come home. My biggest fear was not being able to rock you to sleep in your nursery that I worked so hard to make an explosion of pink. This fear plagued me for many months and caused me to dive deep into my career and work on our relationship through feeding you bottles and practicing tummy time.

Interacting with you now reminds me just now much I missed out on once you were born. You were helpless, and though you’re convinced you’re all grown up, you still need me now, too. Thank you for reminding me through the day of the ways that you’re thankful for me and know nothing about the failure I sometimes feel I’ve been.

You love Jesus and your frog. You love your brother and your Daddy. You love many people and many things. None of them have hurt you yet. You’ve lived a great life and seem to have thoroughly enjoyed it. I, too, love you. Dearly. You challenge me to eat less chocolate and dust every now and again. You are argumentative and sarcastic but ask for forgiveness when you’re defiant or disrespectful. You are many things, but you are not mine. You are not Daddy’s. You will not be your husband’s. You are God’s-we’ve just been given the gift of spending time with you and making memories. Know that everyone will fail you. We’ll ground you when you’re older and tell you to change your clothes. We’ll give you a curfew and raise our voices. You’ll slam your door and probably go to bed without dinner. Regardless, you are beautiful-and I’m not acknowledging just your physical appearance. Your sensitive demeanor and compassion for others is contagious.

You are a hoot, my sweetie. You keep my view of myself in check and encourage me, whether you know it or not, to see the best in others. You are loved by so many and most importantly by the King.

Tomorrow when we don’t give you bacon and eggs for breakfast give us some grace. We’ll do our best to give you something more acceptable for lunch. While you have to choke down some Fruity Pebbles I know you’ll thank us afterwards. And if you don’t, we’ll work on your manners a bit and enjoy a day where you challenge me to be a better mother to you and I remind you that you are loved.



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