Let’s play Memory!
I turned down the radio and focused my ears toward the back of the car to make sure I heard her correctly.
What? I asked, feeling confused.
Let’s play Memory! she insisted.
I looked in the rear-view mirror to confirm that it was just the two of us in the car. Perhaps one of her siblings never actually exited the car when it was our turn at school drop-off? A quick scan of the back of the car revealed that yes, it was just Meadow and I in the car.
Let’s play Memory! she repeated.
Being the practical and safe driver that I am, I responded with logic, I can’t play Memory Meadow, I have to drive.
Undeterred by my practicality, she continued, let’s play Memory, I’ll go first.
Flip, flip. Yes! Got a match, rang her sing-songy voice from the backseat.
Flip, flip. Another match!
Flip, flip. Aww. Not a match. Your turn.
For the next 15 minutes while Meadow sat in the backseat and I drove to our destination, Meadow and I “played Memory” without a memory card or its match in sight. We played Memory with all the enthusiasm with which it’s played when we are sitting at the kitchen table because this is just life with Meadow. Life with Meadow is always, well, interesting. . .
And fun. . .
And unexpected. . .
And beautiful. . .
Five years ago today, on a chilly November afternoon, in room filled with nervous, bitter-sweet emotion, Meadow entered our world and changed our lives forever.
Five years have passed. There are things I can’t remember about that day. I can’t remember the exact position of the hands on the clock when my doctor uttered the beautiful words, its a girl!. I can’t remember how many nurses were in the room. Was it a sunny day? Was it cloudy? Were there snowflakes in the air? Rain? Those small details are lost somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind. But there are other things that I remember–things I will never forget about the day this beautiful soul was born.
It is impossible for me to think of Meadow’s birth without thinking about my Mom. It is impossible for me to reflect on that beautiful day without also taking a deep breath and remembering that when Meadow joined our family, she brought with her a wave of healing that I never expected. Meadow and my Mom are so intertwined in my heart, in my story, that even though they never met, I can barely think of one without thinking of the other.
My mom died two and a half years before Meadow was born. During those two years, I worked hard to find my footing. Grief sent me reeling and I rode the waves as they came. Before Meadow was born I was so scared to have a baby without my Mom in the world. I was so afraid to care for an infant without my mom a phone call away. I was scared that I couldn’t do it without my Mom. But then, the moment came. In an instant, this dark haired baby girl was placed on my chest and my heart burst wide open and incredible love and healing rushed in.
Five years ago today, Meadow was born and our family felt complete. Five years ago today, Meadow’s birth taught me that out of ashes, beauty rises. Five years ago today Meadow joined our family and taught me just how strong I really am. Five years ago, Meadow entered the world and reminded me that life goes on and when I open my eyes to see it, life. . . well, it is oh, so beautiful.
So, for the fifth year in a row, on this day, I write for Meadow. On her birthday, I give her my words, knowing that today they will mean very little, but believing that someday my words will be her treasure. Today is and always will be for my ‘Baby Girl’,
As I sit here today, five years after God gifted us with your presence, I think about the you that will be in the future. In my minds eye, I see you sitting in a college dorm room, surrounded by clutter and books and clothes. In my minds eye, I see the scene, but I know very little about the person you will be in that day. So my minds eye shifts again and I see you a few years down the road. I see you in your home. Maybe you have a baby on your hip? Maybe you are rushing out to work? Or maybe you are sitting with the one with whom you’ve committed to spend your life? The story shifts in my mind because, of course, I don’t know what the future holds for you. Still, I look down the road, knowing that you will not forever be nestled under the shelter of my wings.
Today, I write to the young woman who will be. I write to the soul that I do not yet know, but even now, at five years old, I’m beginning to catch a glimpse of that person who will be. You see, we see your spirit and your spunk and your joy every single day.
We see the gift of your beautiful curious mind. We see the way you hear and see things and you want to know and understand how everything works. We see the way you see the world with eyes full of wonder. . .
Meadow, as we have watched you grow over the last five years, we have seen the way you are so uniquely you. We have seen it in your style. . .
Your intensity. . .
And especially in your love. . .
Meadow, we cannot imagine a world without you in. We cannot imagine a world without your beautiful soul. . .
And even at five we understand that we are just beginning to know you. We are just beginning to understand all the beauty that lies deep inside of you.
And Meadow? I understand that just as I am getting to know you, you will spend years getting to know yourself. Over the next year you will, ever so slowly, begin the journey out into the world. You will begin to find your voice, separate from mine. You will begin to learn and experience new things and these experiences will never end. So Meadow, today I just want you to know this. . .
You are deeply and profoundly loved. Not just today, but every day of your life. You are loved. You will be loved.
So Meadow, as the days move on I want you to know that in those times when you feel alone. . . we will be here.
When you feel like you’re not enough. . . you are enough.
When you feel scared. . . it’s okay to feel it.
When you feel sad. . . it’s okay to feel it.
When you feel lost. . . we will be here to remind you that you are loved. So deeply loved.
When you feel joy. . . we will feel joy with you.
When you celebrate. . . we celebrate, too.
When you need to cry, our shoulders will always be here.
When you need a soft place to fall. . . we will be here.
So Meadow, today we celebrate YOU. We celebrate the beautiful girl that came into our world and made our lives richer. The beautiful girl who gave us so much more than we ever could have imagined or hoped for. Meadow, thank you for reminding us, every single day, that love and joy are always right in front of us. . .
Thank you for being so perfectly you. . .
Happy Birthday, Baby Girl,