Monday, November 22, 2010

Dear Sophie -

It's Monday, and a busy one at that.  So much so that I've been locked away with my work and haven't even had the chance to kiss you good morning yet - one of the great benefits of working from home.  I miss you my sweet child, and you are busy with your day, not even stopping yet to knock on my door and rush in for hugs.

But you are still ever present in my thoughts and my heart.  My love for you is unending.  Just because you haven't seen me yet today, I am still here with you.

While you slept, I watched over you, prayed over you, gave thanks for you.  When you fell asleep last night, I crept into your room to turn off the lamp next to your bed - your security blanket for the uneasiness darkness brings you.  Early this morning, when fall's chill covered your room, I layed a warm blanket over your sweet little body to keep you warm.  And as you stirred in your bed this morning, I heard you and gave thanks that a new day with you was about to unfold. 

In all this, I am reminded of the way God loves us. 

In the same way that I am constantly checking on you, brushing the hair from your face while you sleep, adjusting your pillow to make you more comfortable, snuggling up next to you in the night, God does the same for us.  He is always present, always protecting, always comforting.  Only he doesn't take a break to watch TLC on Sunday nights like I do.  In that sense, it's so humbling to think that no one could love you more, deeper or better than I do.  But He does. It is He who sets the example.  I am just a poor reflection of His beautiful love.  As much as I am there, He is ALWAYS there. 

And as I rushed into my day today, not stopping even for a moment to say good morning to my heavenly Father, I am reminded that He is still there.  Listening to me, watching me, loving me.  Knowing that He gave to me - and delights in - another day to love and adore Him is overwhelming.

So as I give thanks for you, I also give thanks to Him.  Another day to love Him, to love you, to enjoy our sweet family.  We are so blessed and so loved.  I hope you find this peace and truth in your own life sweet girl.

And as you grow and your days get busier, just remember there is someone here - watching, loving and waiting for you to turn around and notice.

It's Jesus.

Turns out, He really does love you more than your mama - how's that for a mind blowing Monday?

I love you my baby girl,

Momy (that's how you are spelling Mommy these days ;-)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dear Sophie -

I am envious of you.  I see the world through your eyes and I long for my own to see life the way you do. Especially because you lack worry. Anxiety. Strife.

You don't worry about the laundry or the bills or the messes that need to get cleaned up. You aren't anxious about the "what if's" and "then what's" of the world.  The things that keep me up at night. You are content to go with the flow, riding out the waves of life, trusting in me and your daddy.

We are your guides.  We are the ones you look to for an example of how to respond to the uncertainties of your world.  The foundation you stand on for balance.


I've spent so much of my time, especially since becoming your mama, praying for balance.  Recently, I've had a revelation that life isn't something we can put neatly into little measurements, with each compartment getting its own equal amount of time, it's own "balance".  8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for family, 8 hours for self..

Wait a second mom! That's 32 hours.  Aren't there only 24 in a day??

Yes my brilliant child, there are.  And that's my point.  There is always more to be done than there is time to do it.  Working more than 8 hours means a sacrifice of sleep.  Taking time out for me means time away from you. And so on and so on.  So, my darling, I'm learning that rather than balance, I have to find an equilibrium.

I love this definition of equilibrium: a stable situation in which forces cancel one another.

A stable situation.  That's what I'm trying to find.  A place where the sacrifice of time away is canceled out by the quality of time that we spend together. 

Take for example this moment.  Writing this letter.  I started work early today so I could finish while your nanny was still here.  Rather than rushing down to be with you (which I so desperately desired), I took advantage of the time you would normally be in someone else's care to do something for myself - write. Something I so desperately needed.  And so, minute by minute, I try to find my equilibrium.  The place where my needs and wants cancel each other out and I'm left with peace, joy and the ability to embrace the exact moment I'm in. 

Paying bills, doing the laundry, cleaning up the messes?  Those all have spaces too. But I'm learning not to let them bother me so much.  I can live with the mess.  I am learning to live without the worry.  But without equilibrium, I can not stand upright under the pressure of the world. 

So my true stability?  The lifeblood that sustains me?  That's Jesus. It's His example I'm trying to find in that elusive balancing act of life. That way, when you look at me, you will actually see Him. That's my prayer for you today Sophie.  That you never lose your perspective on the world, and that you continue to trust, learning that your hope - our hope - comes only from the Lord.

It's a short letter today.  I have a date with a three year old and her super handsome daddy. 

I love you the mostest -

love, your mommy

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dear Sophie,

I've written to you - both here and privately - of how much I love you.  And I do.  I adore you beyond belief.  But I thought maybe you'd like a little insight into the person you are becoming so that when you're grown, you can look back and laugh about the origins of your personality.  You are truly the funniest person I know (you get that from me).  Everyday you do, or say, something that gives me the biggest belly laugh.

Today was no exception.

We had a lovely day planned with two of our favorite ladies - Lauren and "Lauren's Mommy".  Lunch, shopping and sprinkles cupcakes.  But you were the real entertainment today.  Your words, your expressions, your sassy little walk...I love it all.  Sometimes I wish we had a tv crew following us around, documenting your life because there are just some things you have to see to believe.  Our life together is a little bit like that.  But..I digress.

At H&M, you found these little mannequins that looked like kids.  You found one you loved and decided to name him "Sophie".  The only problem was that no one else was allowed to touch or play with Sophie.  This was particularly sad for little Lauren, your self-professed best friend whom you "LOVE"!! Apparently, a boy is already coming between the two of you, because anytime she tried to get near him you practically growled at her, swinging your arms out like a lion trying to protect her baby cub.  The whole time you were begging me to take your picture with "sophie".  I was laughing so hard, I couldn't take the picture or administer any of my truly effective parenting techniques to keep you from ripping Lauren's limbs from her body.  Luckily, "Lauren's Mommy" interveined long enough for me to snap this picture...

If you look closely, you'll see both your look of smug satisfaction and Lauren's sad little face in the background.  Oh are the most stubborn, strong-willed child I have met.  I have NO idea where you get that from. ('re daddy, obviously!) But I'm so glad for those character traits of yours.  Like Auntie Tamara always tells me, we're raising independant women.  You'll be that for sure.  Don't ever lose sight of that baby.  Even if others don't like it or the world tells you to be less, you stay strong. Be assertive. Know who you are and be proud of it.  Just trust me on this one thing...pick the friend over the boy every time.  You'll never be disappointed.  The right one will be the one you don't have to fight over, because he's so in love with you, he can't possibly look at anyone else. 

There are so many more higlights from today that make me smile, but the one that makes me laugh out loud when I think of it was when we were in the Disney store.  Lauren's mommy found the cutest Nemo costume for baby James and you just HAD to try it on. So, off it came from the hanger, and on your body it went.  You pranced around the store, fish tail wagging behind you, looking at how fabulous you were in the mirror.  Don't believe me?  See for yourself...

You were so proud of that little costume.  You modeled proudly as everyone admired how cute you were and told you so. But that wasn't the funny part.  That part came a few minutes later when I realized you suffer from the same afflication mommy has called verbal diarrhea.  It's a real disorder, I promise.  Look it up in urban dictionary! I did...and laughed hysterically.  Some of the definitions weren't fit for print here.  But these three pretty much sum it up...

1)An adj. given to someone who expresses their awkwardness through words.
2)Used to describe a person who can not control his random thoughts from exploding, which get them into trouble.

3) A person that speaks their mind without any filter; consequences could be profoundly funny or insulting to the person listening

All three fit the bill for me more often than not.  But today, as you sat in your Nemo costume three sizes too small and took in life around you, you couldn't help but notice the cute little baby that passed by you, pushed by his daddy in a stroller.  And that's when I realized, you suffer from this verbal venom too.  Because you asked, as loudly as you could:

"MOMMY! What's wrong with that baby????"

Horrified, I could do nothing but look down, pretend that you weren't my child and try to keep from laughing.  Oh...and try to sneak a peak at the baby to see what was actually wrong with him.  From my vantage point, the only thing I could see was that he was lacking any hair on his head, and I'm guessing this must have been what perpetuated the question, since you're not usually one to point out unusual features of others.  But, that might all change now, given your recent diagnoses. 

Luckily for us, the dad laughed and relayed the exchange to the other dad pushing a stroller next to them and they seemed to have a nice chuckle over the event.  Or, they might have been plotting to trip you outside of the toy store.  I'm not really sure which...

So honey, be careful with your words.  You really can't get them back, once you say them.  Train yourself to work on that internal edit...especially for your mama's sake.  Or if you must express yourself so dynamically, stick to self descriptions.

Like the one you had tonite when you climbed up on the chair in my bathroom, looked at yourself in your new woody pajamas and exclaimed:

"I'm so beautiful, I can't even STAND it!"

Me either baby.  I can't stand how beautiful you are to me.  And, you're pretty good looking too.

No one loves you more!

love, your mama

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dear Sophie -

I've struggled with this post, because everything I wanted to say sounds so cliche:  I can't believe you're three years old!  You're growing up so fast!!  We just brought you home from the hospital 5 minutes ago as a tiny baby and now you're in preschool!! 

So, I had to think about what it is I really wanted to tell you. 

The truth of the matter is this.  I love being your mom more than anything I've ever done in my life and more than anything I could ever hope to experience.  There simply isn't enough time in either of our lives to love you the way I want to. It's what gives me hope, encourages me to have faith.  It makes me long for Jesus to come reign on earth right now, so time would never end and I could love you forever.  Being your mom makes me want to tell more people about God, in hopes of influencing their perspective on eternity.  Being with you makes everything else in this world seem a little duller.  Nothing holds a candle to the way you brighten this world.  Your enthusiasm for life and living it outloud is contagious.  There's no one - children and adult alike - that you encounter who doesn't leave as your friend.  You inspire me to be more bold in the world.  Have I mentioned how much I adore you??

I know there will be moments in your life - likely when you are a teenager - that you will question my love for you.  I'm bound to make decisions you won't agree with.  Or impose punishment you feel is unjust.  You might feel like I'm against you.  I promise you, there's nothing that could ever be further from the truth.  I am your biggest fan, your truest friend, and the person most changed because of the person you are. My love for you will never, ever,, not ever, change.  It will not fail.  I hope that's a truth you come to know all through your life.

I've loved you the longest, besides Daddy. Oh, and everyone else who got to meet you in those 4 hours after you were born before I did.  But you held out for me, didn't you?  You held it together for all of them, looking around and knowing something was missing.  Someone was missing.  The moment you finally found the comfort of my arms, you broke out in tears, and so did I. You couldn't keep it together anymore.  You're still that way.  I love that I am the one who you can be the most real with, with whom you share your truest colors.  I hope that aspect of our relationship never changes.  I pray that you will always seek comfort in my arms, my darling daughter.

Thank you for allowing me the honor of being you mom.  I can't think of a single luckier person in the world.  Here's to your 4th year on earth and a million more to us being together.

I love you princess,
your mommy  :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Just a little preview of the birthday pics and post I owe my precious girlie!!!

Holding Matt's hand and looking at your cake...

Frosting cupcakes with Aunt Shell.

You and your Angie  :)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Dear Sophie -

We're getting ready to leave on vacation in a few days, and I have so much to do. Between working and packing and trying to get all of the details taken care of before we go away, it hasn't left much time to sit and think about the trips we're going on in soon. But now, as I sit in the quiet of my office, I am quite nostalgic, thinking of what the next few days hold.

We're going to Ohio next week. Just for two days - it's a side-trip of our vacation. But it's those two days that have me both overjoyed and overwhelmed. We're going to your great grandaddy and great grandma's house, to pack it up and get it ready to sell. It breaks my heart that you didn't really get to know them. I think you kind of remember grandaddy, although I'm sure you'll lose those memories, the older you get. It's so strange to me when I think that of the whole life you've lived already in just under 3 years, and yet, you probably will remember none of it when you're older. I hope your memories of grandaddy are always there. But your great grandma - who we called Mamma - she died several years before you were born. When I let myself think about the missed opportunity for her to know you, it makes me so sad. I'm jealous that your cousins had an opportunity to grow up knowing her. Oh Sophia - she would have loved you. You remind me so much of her - you're sassy, just like she was. You're so wise, just like she was. And, you're hilarious - just like she was. You'll never know all of this on your own, so you'll just have to take my word for it. I used to make her tell me all about Grandma Apple - her mother - because I longed to know my great-grandmother. I can't wait to tell you about yours.

So now, we're going back to the home that she and grandaddy lived in for so many years. I think about walking into that home - so full of love, so full of my grandparents spirit - and having you there. I want you to run in the yard, and walk down their street. I can already see you, tearing through the house, squealing with delight. But the part that catches in my throat is something that will be unnoticeable to you. You'll have no idea that two people are missing from the house. Two loving grandparents, who should be sitting in the rocking chairs, watching their great granddaughter laugh and play, clapping their hands and laughing along. I miss them. I miss them so much. I long for them to know you and you to know them.

So this week will be hard on me. And you'll have no idea. But someday, when you look at pictures of yourself standing in front of a strange house that you don't recognize, I want you to have more than just a date on the back of the picture. I want you to know how important it was for me to have you stand where they stood. So important, that I'm about to get on 6 planes over the next 8 days to make that happen. And if you know anything about your mama, I'm sure you know how much I hate to fly. But I would have hated even more for you to miss this opportunity. I can't wait for you to breathe in the air - the smells, the spirit, the memories - of your great grandparents' house.

And I can't wait for the day when you really will have a chance to know them. Come Lord Jesus!!

You have no shortage of amazing family who love and adore you, and you'll be inundated with them over the next week. But I thought you should know about two people who are watching over you from heaven. Especially as we tie up the last physical, worldly reminder of the live they lived, and lived well.

I love you my precious girlie-

love, your mama

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Dear Sophie,

Do you have any idea how much I love you? Probably not. Although I tell you all the time, you are only two and a half. So...I doubt you remember. I mean, I know you love me and you know I love you. I think you conceptually understand what love is. But you also love popsicles, ring pops and watching OomiZoomi, so I am not sure you have a grasp on how deeply I love you. That's what scares me.

Because you're so young, I'm afraid you won't remember any of the time we've had together so far. I'm crazy about spending time with you. We travel, we do fun and exciting things, we make a lot of memories. I have pictures to prove it! ( they're all on my blackberry. At least you can see them on Facebook!!) And sometimes we don't do anything exciting except spend hours and hours together, playing play-doh, painting, coloring and playing pretend. And if anything ever happened to me, I'm so fearful that all of those memories would be wiped out. Your concept of who mommy is would slowly diminish over time, until all you had were pictures of memories that no longer existed in the hard drive of your memory.

My fear is not unfounded. My dad left when I was little. I don't have any memories of him from when I was your age. I have a few spotty memories of visits when I was a little kid, but that's it. So to think of you having to live a life not knowing me just cuts me to the core. It leaves me panicked, anxious and fearful. Which leads me to things like sleeping in your room, taking you on more trips, rocking you to sleep and giving in to your whims a little more than I should, in hopes of building more memories with you. That something in your brain would remember me.

This is a fear I project on your daddy too. I worry about him. His dangerous job. The thought that in protecting someone else's family, he could tear ours apart, irrevocably. It's a risk he willingly takes every single day, God bless him. I'd have to be heavily drugged to ever do his job, but I'm so grateful he does it. I don't worry about him as much as I used to...he's so good at his job. Getting the chance to see him do it first hand has eased a lot of those worries. But life is fickle and there are a lot of bad people out there who like to hurt cops. I worry that someday you might have your daddy taken away from you too soon. That you, too, could grow up not knowing your daddy and my heart hurts for you.

Spending time getting to know sweet Kate and her family, and now learning about precious Layla Grace has made me even more fearful. Wanting to protect you from the world's evils, I snatch you up in my arms and pray that no harm comes to you. I hold you close and grieve inwardly the minute I have to let you out into the world. Either because I let you go on an adventure with your daddy or your nanny, or because I have to leave you behind and trust that someone else will care for you in the same (obsessive, controlling, anxious, smothering) way that I do. I've said it before and I'll say it again...being your mom is both the best and the hardest job I've ever had in my life.

But, because I am your mom, I have certain responsibilities. I know I have to learn to worry less, to let you brave the crazy wide world, to teach you how to survive on your own - with or without my help. And so, one of the things I really want you to learn to be (within reason - no extreme sports that will give your mom a heart attack or stroke) is...


It's something I'm trying to learn more, every day. Imagine my surprise in church today when our pastor shared the news that worry is a sin. That, in fact, God did not create us to be worrisome. In the Bible, the #1 most frequently repeated command is "do not fear". We learned that the Greek word for worry means "to be pulled apart". That certainly describes the way I have let worry consume me. And that 92% of what we worry about will never happen. I'm not sure if that's accurate or not, but it feels that way for me. I worry about a lot of things that never happen (praise God!).

So I'm going to try to change. It won't be easy, and I'm sure someday - when you're a teenager - you'll complain about how I worry too much. I know you won't believe me when I tell you it is possible to worry more about you. But I'm going to try to give up that control. I want to teach you about God and His unconditional love for you. And I realize that to do that, I have to release you completely and totally into His care. Oh Sophia - I can't wait for the day when you know the love that God has for you. It is - incredibly - deeper, fuller and more unconditional than I could ever hope to give you...if you can believe that!

So until then, I'm going to study more about how to fear-less, so I can help you become fearless. I will repeat my favorite Bible verse so many times, that you'll have it memorized before you go off to college (unless you want to live at home until you're 80...which is totally fine! OK, ok...I'm working on it...). So here it is, Philippians 4:4-8

"Rejoice in the Lord, always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

And so my darling daughter, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will rejoice in this day and I will be glad for the time we have. I will not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough worries of it's own.

I love you with all that I am...

love, your mommy :)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Dear Sophie,

Happy 2010! I can't believe this is the year you will turn three.  I'm already so nostalgic over your "baby years" and feel you slipping away from me as you continue to assert your independence on a daily, hourly and sometimes minute by minute basis.  

When you were first born, I remember that EVERYONE that saw us together would say, "enjoy this goes by so fast."  It got to the point where it was a little annoying.  Going by fast? Ha! Those first two months felt like time was standing still.  I wasn't sure which end was up, and I suppose when you're awake 20 out of 24 hours in a day, it does kind of feel like time is moving in slow motion.  One night, one particularly rough night during those first two months, I lay in bed crying because there was nothing I could do to make you happy.  You were miserable with reflux, only we didn't know it at the time.  Your daddy sat in front of you while you were in the baby swing and talked to you.  I remember him saying "can't we just fast forward to one years old??"  I laughed because it felt like we would never get there.  But, before I knew it, we were having your first birthday celebration.  As fast as that came, I seriously BLINKED and your second birthday was here.  We'd gone from slow motion to someone hitting the fast forward button!

I wish I had written more, taken more pictures, video taped more.  Not that you are neglected in any of those areas - far from it.  But, had I known then what I know truly fast the time would go, I would have been better at documenting the "Sophie Early Years".  So there's the first of many truths you'll learn about your mama, Sophie.  I'm imperfect in many ways.  And trust me when I tell you that you will be too.  Take it from your mom - that's a truth you should embrace as early in your life as possible.  Don't waste the time trying to be perfect - it is truly impossible.  

So I felt like I should take a minute to pause at the start of this new year and just remember all of the joy you've brought us over the last year.  The problem is, there are way too many moments of joy to remember them all.  It's cruel how quickly those moments leave and are replaced with new ones.  Bigger ones. Sometimes better ones.  The realization that you're growing is so bittersweet.  How many nights have I prayed over you, begging God to give us another perfectly imperfect, wonder-filled day together?  Oh, how gracious He's been to us Sophie.  And yet, like a fool who wastes wishes, I feel like I should have added a clause to those requests..."and make the day go by as slow as possible, so I can savor every single moment we have together."  I can't slow down the time we have together.  But I can tell you that every minute of every day since August 14th, 2007 has been infinitely better, richer and more joyful because of you.  I will never take our time together for granted, because there are so many people who never get the chances we've had.  

So, as I continue to watch the beautiful metamorphosis of your life unfolding before me, I will be grateful for every single day we're together.  And instead of mourning the loss of my "baby", I will embrace the gain of my precious child.  I will celebrate your milestones, your growth, your spirited independence.  And, I will try to remember all of this when you scream "Don't talk to me MOMMY!" 

Here's a funny story to end with.  A few days ago, you and I went out to dinner while daddy was working.  You were, in typical Sophie fashion, bossing me around and saying things to shame me in public.  Basically making me question why we ever taught you to talk.  You weren't bratty (not my girl!) but just extremely opinionated and loudly expressing your dissension.  A woman walked up to me and asked how old you were.  I told her you were two and she smiled, telling me how cute you were.  Then she said, "good luck when she's 14!"  

I happen to be of the opinion that I'll need more luck when you're four, than when you're 14.  But, only time will tell.  And that's something I'm very much looking forward to...more time!

Here's to a fabulous 2010 together. one loves you more than me!

your mama!