To my little Chicken, my sweet Princess, my Maura.
You, my sweet child, are the one who taught me to be a mother. Now, don’t go getting a big head about it. Every one of your siblings has taught me something about myself and been part of the plan for our family when only God knew what it was that I needed.
But the gift God gave me in you? It was the gift of unrealized motherhood. You see, with your older 3 siblings, they came so close together (Sarah, then 18 months later RJ, then 18 months later John) that I felt a bit overwhelmed. I spent a lot of time being a new wife, a new mom, a new homeowner, a pastor’s wife, and living in a town no closer than 6 hours from the nearest family members. I spent a lot of time being stressed out, focusing more on keeping all my plates spinning in the air instead of enjoying the 3 precious gifts I had to keep me company every day.
And then 5 years passed. And my 3 blessings grew up. And once the overwhelming part of diapers, bottles, and sleepless nights had passed, I realized how much I wanted to hold a baby again. I wished for you. And God answered me “yes”.
I prayed for a girl. I would have been just as happy if you’d been a boy but I really prayed for a girl. God again answered me “yes” and He also gave me a little copy of myself. I see my own childhood pictures every time I look at you, Maura. Your sweet blond hair, your chubby cheeks, your dimples. I also hear myself in you every time you let out a squeal – either laughing or crying. You are so much a copy of myself that I feel a special kinship to you, my love.
When you were born, Maura, I said that you redeemed me as a mother. For the first time ever, I learned what it felt like to quietly just sit and hold a baby, and to forget about the dishes in the sink or the laundry in the basket. I rolled around with you on the carpet while you were learning to crawl. I took naps with you. I let the urgent things in life take a back seat to the important things, like reading a pop-up book or taking a bath together.
Your first two years were bittersweet for me. I was so joyful at this amazing gift I’d been given. And at the same time, I cursed myself for not recognizing it sooner with my other children. But that regret fueled my motivation to take advantage of every day. It forced me to recognize the importance of the small things. It honed my focus on what I knew would make me happy.
And you, Maura – YOU make me happy, along with Dad, Sarah, RJ, John, and Amy. You are my reason to smile.
I love you. xoxo
This is another post in the “Letters to our Daughters” series, which I’m doing with other women from Clickin Moms. Please visit Carla’s blog and read hers next.