Last week, we are driving to school and I glance at you in the rearview mirror. I can’t believe you are almost ten, I say.
Why? You ask.
I don’t know, I say. Sometimes, you still feel new to me.
You are not new, though. I mean, you are, but you are not. Ten years is a lot of time and so little time, too.
The day you were born will forever be etched in my heart. The way you swept into our lives and our hearts so swiftly bringing with you healing and hope and refreshment after a season of hardship and loss.
I cried a lot in the days after you were born. No, they were not tears of sadness. Is there such thing as tears of love? Because that’s what they felt like. Tears of pure love. Heart exploding love. I spent hours simply staring at you. Tears of joy and love slipping from my eyes to your body. What a gift we’d been given.
I will forever grieve the fact that my Mom never met you. And yet, somehow, the loss of my Mom made your arrival that much sweeter. The feelings that came with your arrival more acute. More raw.
We wanted you long before you arrived. We prayed for you, waited for you, longed for you. What we didn’t know, though? We didn’t know how much we needed you. How much we needed the lessons you would bring with you.
How much I needed the lessons you would bring.
Beauty from ashes. Beauty from ashes. You are the beauty that arose out of the ashes. Meadow, it was you that taught me that if you hold on, so much beauty can arise out of ashes.
At ten years old, I’m sure you have no idea what you’ve brought to our family. I wonder if it’s possible at ten to really understand how much you are loved. Celebrated. Adored.
I take time to write on your birthday so you will know. Or, maybe, so you won’t forget. Or, perhaps, on a random Tuesday a month or a year or five or 25 years from now, you will need to be reminded.
Ten years of knowing you, Meadow, has been an absolute delight. Ten years of learning you has been an adventure.
You have a spirit of adventure and fun. You turn the most mundane of moments into something memorable. With you we don’t have to look for fun, you are the fun.
Several years ago we were talking about school. I think you were in 1st grade. Maybe we were talking about reading or math? I can’t remember exactly. What I do remember, however, is how you looked me in eye, with the most serious expression and said to me, My brain doesn’t work like everyone else’s.
From an early age, you seemed to know yourself. To understand yourself. Meadow, you shine when you are being exactly who you are. And when you are being who you were made me to be, you invite others to do the same. Including me.
The world needs people who are not like everyone else. The world needs people like you, Meadow.
Just this morning, you came down for breakfast bed-headed and weary-eyed. When I pointed out that a lady bug had found its way onto the ceiling, your entire body perked up. You climbed to the countertop and stood arms stretched high to gently scoop the tiny bug into your hands to take it safely outdoors.
From the moment you could walk, you were a friend to all creatures–big and small.
You have a special gift with animals, Meadow. You love them, I know. And they love you.
Meadow, today you’ve been walking this earth for ten years. That probably feels like a lifetime to you. (I guess it is a lifetime to you.) But to me, it feels so short. Like, you’ve just inched your way off the starting line.
In reality, you’ve already done a lot of living. You’ve already waded your way into life and friendships. You’ve already learned so much and I bet you haven’t even realized it. When I watch you, I notice hidden confidence. A fierce independence. A courage to march to the beat of your own drum.
You are not just fun and games, though, Meadow. This I know for sure. You have a deeply sensitive heart. A heart that feels things deeply. You see things that, perhaps, others don’t see. This is a gift that I hope you embrace more and more as the years go by.
Meadow, every single day, I look forward to you descending the stairs in the morning. I look forward to listening to your stories. I look forward to hearing your musings as I drive you to school in the morning. And when I hear the bus engine roar up our street in the afternoon, I am excited for you to burst through the door and tell me about your day. Meadow, I love being in your presence.
As I kid, the world will tell you adults have a whole lot to teach you. And, of course that is true. But it is also true that kids have a lot to teach adults, too. Meadow, you’ve taught us so much.
You’ve brought so much laughter and life to our home. You get all of us into the fresh air and remind us not to take life or ourselves too seriously. You’ve been known to make even the most grumpy of teenagers crack a smile. Your presence reminds us on a daily basis that life is for living.
Meadow, it’s true what I said–you still feel new to me. And yet, I can’t imagine a world without you. You are beautifully, uniquely Meadow and you bring immense joy and light to my life. I love who you are. I love you.
Being your Mom is one of the greatest joys of my life.