Two years ago this morning, after a horrible ordeal with a spinal that almost didn't happen, you came into the world with your eyes wide. Dr. Redman was actually shocked at how wide your eyes were! Both the boys came out pretty chill... but you came out immediately making your mark. And I'm so grateful for the anesthesiologist, who we actually see a lot now (long story... awesome, but long), for fighting so long to make sure I was awake to see you and have these memories. The rest of our stay in the hospital, you amazed everyone with your big eyes, precious face, and sweet disposition. There was a nurse who would actually finish her rounds then come back and hold you because I just couldn't sleep anyway (and wouldn't for days... another long story that you'll hear someday). She'd deal with everyone else, then come back and visit with you and I.
You're getting to be such a big girl. Just this morning, you asked for something you wanted, realized it wasn't a good idea, and before I could speak a word, you said "No, I don't think so." You woke up very early today, which isn't too unusual. Daddy brought you to snuggle with me while we woke up, and we had a great conversation.
"Good morning sweetie. It's your birthday today! Happy birthday, little princess."
Right here... this is where we insert the typical Maelynn that takes my breath away. You gasped, said "My birthday?" and smiled that gorgeous smile that knocks us all flat. Daddy went to get your birthday donuts... that little tradition we started with Ryan. Your brothers must have known something was special today too, because they woke up about 45 minutes early. We had a great breakfast with all of us together, and we've started our day. As I type, you're watching one of those LeapFrog things you and Richie like while you play. Never did I realize someone could be breathtakingly beautiful with more than half-down pigtails, jammies, and her brother's shoes. But wow... little girl, you are so many things. And before I forget... before the busy-ness of our family's life washes them away, I want to make sure you have a way to know...
You are my clearest talker. You speak so nicely, and so clearly.
You love your bows! I thought I was making them because I liked them, and wanted you to have pretty things. Turns out you love them too! You will sometimes ask me for a bow when you don't have one.
You adore your brothers. You and Richie are naturally the closest, since you spend every day together and go pretty much everywhere together. You also tend to be a little stinkerpot to your brother... you know how to push his buttons, and even as young as 18 months you'd take something of his and run just to make him fuss. I'm going to keep helping you work on your empathy, but I have to admit I love your spunk. You love Ryan, even fussing when you think he should be around. He's not sure about hanging out with you yet, because you're still kinda unpredictable, and he's not into that. But he loves you, I promise.
When you cover your mouth and point and something pretty and gasp, "Oh my GOODNESS!" it's hard to not whip out my wallet. But I promise you I won't. More than I want things for you, I want you to be a Proverbs 31 woman. Not enslaved to things and getting what you want right now. We want you to grow in grace, mercy, gentleness, kindness, and truth, not harshness and selfishness.
I want you to know that your daddy adores you. He has adored you since the sonogram at 21 weeks! He will tell you no. He will mean it. He will hold to it. Then he will come to me broken-hearted and disappointed along with you. But he loves you too much to not teach you how to be a godly little lady.
Yesterday, after we went to bible study at church, we had lunch and set out to gather the rest of the things we needed for your little family party. I wanted you to have a Minnie Mouse balloon. We tried a couple of places, and everyone else in Waco must love Minnie too, because the last place we went was the only place we found one. As the lady at the flower department at HEB on Wooded Acres (shameless plug because they're wonderful... same place that kept your bearbearbear when we lost her once) filled up the LAST Minnie-head shaped balloon and handed it to you, you responded with your trademark gasp... "Wow!"... and promptly made your mother cry. With your wide-eyed, innocent wonder, your love and amazement at simple things, you remind me to be wide-eyed too. Too often as adults we get busy and in our quest to be important, we lose the ability to be wide-eyed. Wide-hearted goes out the window, too. I want you to know that you remind me to enjoy some wide-eyed wonder... and I pray that you always will too.
Shortly after we got your balloon, we continued on our quest for marshmallows and shortening for fondant for your cake. The nice lady put a weight on your balloon so you could play with it and not lose it, but at one point I felt Minnie go a bit too far over my shoulder. I didn't grab it because I thought the weight was there. Your excitement over the Minnie balloon soon overpowered the knot in the string, and I think I had a mini-heart attack (or is that a "Minnie" heart attack... *snort*) as she floated up to the ceiling. You sat there stunned for a minute... and once you realized we couldn't get her, your heart broke. You cried and cried, and kept saying "I'm sorry Minnie!" as if you could apologize her down into your arms again. I waited in my own stunned stupor, fighting back tears myself! Soon an employee came up... Shane, I'll not forget his name... and said he'd see what he could do. In the meantime, we met a lady who shares your birthday and her mother. Kinda cool! Mr. Shane brought back a regular balloon and a whole spool or ribbon. Hmm... would the other balloon talk its friend down? There was tape on the other balloon, and soon Minnie floated down into your arms. You hugged and kissed her, and told her again you were sorry. Turns out, when Mr. Shane went to the floral department sharing his predicament, the ladies said, "Oh no! Not the little girl with the Minnie balloon!"
The most wonderful thing I can share with you... the most important, the one thing that will make your life amazing... is that God is not like that balloon, sweetie. True, He wants you to cling to him. He wants you to realize your need for Him and love Him. But if you happen to let go... for a minute, for a day, for years... He will still be there, waiting for you. You just have to believe. Hold onto that wonder and believe. No one can take away your faith but you. Trust me, dear one... faith in God and His sovereignty is worth clinging to. He will never leave you brokenhearted.
Thank you, my dear Maelynn Elaine, for being my daughter. God has already used you in my life in so many ways. Holding my own beautiful daughter in my arms, realizing that your self-worth could look a lot like mine, I decided I had to learn to love me. You inspired me to learn to conquer so many things, simply because you're going to need to do that someday yourself. Thank you for making me see you and your beauty, with your perfect nose and elegantly shaped mouth, your sparkling eyes, and realize that you look a lot like me. If you're beautiful, and you look like me... where does that leave me? And it would break my heart to hear you call yourself anything but. So I have to humbly learn to see myself as beautiful, too.
I love you, Miss Mess. Your Daddy, your brothers and a host of others do, too. God made you fabulous, and I thank Him for you every day!