I stood there with my palms open in pure disbelief. A little girl? Really? I was in shock. Caroline, I never thought your mother and I would have a chance at loving a little girl. And then... it happened. "It's a girl!" the doctor said.
Well, seconds after and now, a year later, I am so happy you are our little girl. Oh, and what a beautiful little girl you are. Everyone thought you looked like me at first. Everyone but your daddy that is. I knew the moment I laid eyes on you that you had your mommy in you. I don't know if it is the little twinkle in your eye or your soft olive skin, but there was something that said, "I'm your little lady; your other girl to love," the very first time I held you. Funny how a year later I can still think back and remember very, very vividly how it felt that first time I held you in my arms.
One year has passed and what a year it has been. You are a lovely little lady but, a lovely little lady who knows what she wants when she wants it. Most of the time that want is your mommy. For the longest time, you didn't really want a whole lot to do with me. You knew who I was and you knew I was important. Now though, you love to have my attention. You play this little bashful peek-a-boo game right now that is very sweet. You look away and then look back and when we meet eyes, you giggle and giggle. :)
Caroline, you have a smile that makes me absolutely melt, while also saying to myself, "Oh boy, I'm in trouble." You are absolutely beautiful, not surprising, knowing who your mother is. I am the daddy of a little baby girl who can steal my heart with just one look or giggle. I can't say that I know what I am doing with you like I did and do with your brother. As you will know someday, I come from a long line of boys: dump trucks, dirt & superheroes. However, I will say this... this journey of raising a girl is not one that I would trade for any other in the world. I am excited and eager to see where this little lady takes me. Whether it's tea parties, dollies, ponies or even cars, football and trucks, I promise to support you and love you every step of the way.
My hope and whole hearted wish for you on your first birthday is that you learn to know The Lord and trust Him with all your heart, follow His ways and take refuge in Him always. My second wish is that you and I would grow a strong, trusting, loving relationship where you ALWAYS feel supported. You will always be my little lady. Even when someday you think I am the worst dad ever, (which you will at some point), or even when I walk you down the aisle on your wedding day.. I will always be your daddy and you will always by my little lady.
I love you and can't wait to see where this journey takes us. I can't wait to teach you and also learn from you. We've got a lot of memories to make.
I love you, Little Lady,
Hello, Sweet Girl. My heart is so full of love for you and also love for your Creator. When I reflect on what this first year of your life has been for me, one word stands out: surrender.
This year, I have learned to surrender. See, I wanted you. I planned for you, I prayed for you and I was never nervous or scared throughout my pregnancy with you because I knew being a mommy was hard work with beautiful reward, and I knew that watching your daddy become a parent only made me love and admire him more, and I knew that your big brother needed a sibling and a lifelong friend. And I thought I had it all together. I thought I had this mommy thing down.
But doubt and fear entered my mind within seconds of hearing you cry for the first time. Twenty seven minutes earlier I was breathing through contractions in our living room and now you were in my arms... and after nine months of thinking you were for sure a boy, I was holding a baby girl in a pink hat. It had all happened so fast and it was all so unexpected. And I questioned.
I questioned why I didn't even know my own baby in my heart. I questioned how I was going to fare as the mom to a little girl and if I would be able to teach you what it means to be a woman. And I stared at a dear friend who was struggling with the hurt of losing a baby girl just months earlier and was now watching me welcome one into the world. I questioned God's timing. It seemed cruel and confusing and messy. It took months for the truth that we had a baby girl to soak in... to realize that the hair boys and tutus weren't just make believe. And in the quiet moments, I stared at you and allowed your beauty to captivate me. God doesn't make mistakes and He formed something beautiful in you, and He entrusted you to me. And I was thankful.
But there weren't many quiet moments over the past year. Between your crying and your brother's rambunctious two-year-old ways, I was overwhelmed a lot. I was tired. I had long, imaginary 'to do' lists with all sorts of stuff I thought was important and necessary but no longer had time for. I tried to cram it all in but failed time and time again. And I believed the lie that I was failing.
Many days, I didn't have the energy to read my bible or hardly utter a prayer. But still, God was teaching me. He would meet me in the dark of your room, as I laid on the floor feeling helpless and listening to you cry. He would say, "Don't you see that it's the same with you, My Daughter? I've met your needs: you are safe, well fed, with clean, dry clothes... and still, so often, you cry. But know that whether you are actually in pain or in need, or whether you're crying for no good reason at all, I'm here. Just as you lie on the floor of your daughter's room, even when you can't see me, I'm here." And slowly, very slowly, He taught me these little lessons, begged me to trust Him, and called me to surrender more fully.
"Just stop," I would whisper to you as you cried, and I would wish that I had time to sew or blog or even just take a shower. "Just stop," He would whisper to me. "Stop crying and striving and wanting more than Me. I am enough." I was humbled over and over again as I was forced to surrender, to die to myself and my own desires. And it hurt. But every single time I take a leap of faith and chose Him and the good work He had for me right here, of being His daughter first, then a wife and a mommy, and relinquishing the stuff that I no longer had room for, such as self-interest, a perfectly kept home and a desire to grow my small business--or really, just caring what people think more than what He thinks and chasing after the shiny things of this world-- It was scary to let go of those things, but every time I let go of something, He filled that space with peace.
His ways are so much greater than the ways of this world. This world's standards leave us just short, never quite right and always striving. His ways give us refuge. This is what I hope to teach you as you grow.
Because I often didn't have the energy to pray eloquent words over you, every night before bed, I simply read you the scripture that hangs above your crib. "The Lord Your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will calm you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
Thank you, My Dear Child, for forcing me to learn the truth of that verse and causing me to surrender. It was all worth it.
I love you,