My little Isla,
This is my first attempt at writing anything since you were born. It will be sketchy and clumsy. But that’s not because of you. You’ve been a welcome distraction from the fact that I was already seriously struggling to write. I think I posted six times last year total, and most of them were with a lot of stress and hesitation. But your dad kicked me out of the house this morning with my lap top and a free latte card, so here I am. It’s not that there’s nothing to write about. On the contrary, your birth is probably the biggest event in my life. That and marrying your dad, but birth is far more dramatic than a wedding (assuming everyone crucial shows up).
There are several babies here and so I’m distracted and missing you already. Maybe especially because you were still sleeping when I left. There’s also a table of older men and that makes me weepy right off the bat. Old friendships. Vulnerability. Babies. Seriously beautiful stuff at the coffee shop this morning. Also some pretty impressive beards – so while I’m happy to be here, part of me wishes you and your dad were here to share it.
I haven’t told you this yet, but I spent many years being scared to death of motherhood. Personal issues, fears of screwing the whole thing up, awareness of my own selfishness all made me hesitant. (Not to mention actually giving birth!) And I’ve come to believe American culture contributes to those things by obsessing about the value of autonomy for adults and also of a perfect childhood for kids. But here’s the thing: I was so, so wrong. I love you and I don’t have to try. I want to take care of you and I don’t have to force myself. You are beautiful and interesting and I don’t have to talk myself into seeing it. I hope you experience it someday – knowing that love can be so powerful and one-sided is a great boon to my understanding of the love from God. And of the love he hopes to see in all his people for each other.
When I fell in love with your dad, it happened very quickly, and then more slowly, and over again. Choosing to love someone comes with starts and stops and decisions and fears, but not so with parenthood. There are no hesitations or issues of requiting. You are my family and I love you. Just like that. Blown out diapers don’t change that. Trouble sleeping, refusing to eat when you desperately need it, the stuff of babyhood – none of it closes my heart to you. If anything it opens it more and pulls at its strings as I wish I could fix it all. And I know that will continue as you grow and change. I am no longer afraid of anything compromising my desire to give of myself for your sake, and I will always be grateful for that discovery.
I love you, sweet Isla Jane. May you grow in the knowledge of that, and that it is only an inkling of the love that awaits you in your relationship with the Lord.