There were no gifts under the tree that year.  We didn’t really even notice, which is a wonder for me, a gift lover.  Our hearts were caught up in anticipating a baby.  I was as any first time mom would be: nervous, anxious, excited, filled with wonder and worry and dread and joy all at once.  It lent a whole new meaning to the Christmas story, to the Advent season, to the waiting for the coming of the promised One.

And then you came, so quickly, taking us all by surprise.  I called the midwife at 6am on that December 23 morning, she said to take my time coming in, but I felt an urgency to get to the hospital.  By the time we left the house for the 45 minute drive to the hospital, I was desperate to get there, contractions coming in wave after wave without a break between.  We got there, checked in, chatted with the midwife for a few moments, and suddenly I was in transition.  Within an hour or so of arriving at the hospital, you were born.  In about three pushes, they laid you on my belly and I just remember your dark quiet stare.  We didn’t have time to think about medicating, we didn’t have time to call family before suddenly there you were.  The midwife sat down heavy in the rocking chair at the foot of my bed and said, “Wow.  Now that’s how it’s done.  You need to give classes to all these other ladies on the LND floor.”  I felt proud, but the reality was, it wasn’t really because of anything I did.  My labor with Noah was far longer and far more difficult with complications to boot.  Its crazy how little of it is up to us, anyway.  “Birth plans” and such–an illusion of control.

From day one until this day, six years later, it’s never been in my control.  What a year we’ve had, you and I.  In a way different than the other children, I feel like we grow up together–you, the firstborn, and I.  You, the one who throws challenges at us that we are hardly practiced for, and we learn as we walk through them with you.

You amaze me as you grow.  I can’t believe we are one-third of our way through our parenting journey with you.  Only twelve more years until you’ll be free and ready to take off on your own little wings.  I hate the thought!  I can’t believe its gone already and I’ll never have it back, all those precious baby years with you, so tiny and so new.  Yet each year with you is so much fun, as you grow and change and become more and more your own little person.

I love everything about you.  I want you to know, you are so very special, my phoebe girl.  God has mighty plans for you.  He’s already working in you and through you.  He has entrusted hardships to you at a young age, and He will be faithful to see you through.  He will be faithful to carry you all the way.  He may not remove the thorn, sweet one, even though we so wish He would.  But He will bring great good from it, so much good that you will one day marvel with great joy and say, “The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made…The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.”  (Psalm 145:9,17)  ALL of it.  All.  We won’t understand a fraction of it, but we have this promise in black and white–He is good to all, He is righteous in all that He chooses to allow or cause.

You are still one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received in my life, you are such a treasure.  Through you God keeps teaching me that I’m not in control here–He is.  I’m so so proud of you, all your hard work, your willingness to try things that are scary and difficult for you, your quick turn to repentance when you’ve done wrong, your courage and bravery and general usual state of HAPPY.  I just love you so.  I treasured our day together today, playing together, snuggling, just keeping it simple, thanking God for the gift of life.

I love you so


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