Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Letter to My Daughter As She Awaits the Birth of Her Daughter


Dear Eri,

You are sitting, waiting, at the edge of something so huge that no words can contain it. With days—maybe even hours—you will become a mother. One of the best gifts any woman could ever receive. Also the hardest.

It doesn’t seem it could be 27 years ago (almost to the day—will she be born on your birthday?) that I was welcoming you into my arms. My third child on this earth (our first baby having gone to Jesus before he/she was born). And my first—and only—daughter.

You know how I felt in those first days after your birth. Ecstatic. Almost beyond belief. I really have a daughter! Thank you thank you thank you Jesus. The cascades of pink roses. The little girl figurine Dad brought into the hospital. You know the story well. In fact, I’ve told you so many times it has become a joke between us.

But now it’s you, honey. You’re the one about to give birth to a daughter. I know how you’re feeling. Excited. Nervous. Watchful. Sometimes worried. Impatient. There’s a longing, isn’t there? A longing to meet this little girl you have nurtured and sheltered within your body for so long.

A few words for you as you wait. You already know what I am going to say first. Being a Mom is an amazing gift. You have no idea how wonderful it is going to be. No matter how exhausted you may be after the delivery, when you hold that baby, you will know in a nano-second how “worth it” it all was. No matter what she looks like after her ordeal, no matter how loud she screams, you will find yourself loving her with a fierce, joyful love you cannot even imagine yet.
Mama-love is an astonishing thing. And it’s a good thing God gives it to us because we need it as moms. Not just in the early new-baby days. But in every day of our mom-lives. It’s what gets us through all the twists and turns on this road called motherhood.

Mama-love and the grace of God. Especially the grace of God. Because being a mom is not only the best thing that could happen to you. It is also the hardest thing you will ever do. At times it will feel like “mission impossible.” What makes it possible is God’s strength and that amazing, inexplicable, ferocious love God will give you for this child.

So while you are waiting—and waiting, and waiting, a few bits of random advice. It may seem a strange time to be giving advice. But I have to take some time off in my day from my constant pacing and praying, pacing and praying, as Dad and I await news of this baby from the other side of the ocean. And you will have more time to read this before the baby arrives than afterward. And my words will be here to come back to some day when you need them. And so, God willing, will I!

A couple of months ago a mom in an Atlanta-area Mom To Mom asked me a great question: “What are the words of wisdom you might offer your daughter as she becomes a mother?” Here are a few samplings—with the promise of more words (and many prayers!) to come.
  • You’ve just become a lifelong learner. No, you won’t know everything you think you should about being a mother. But you will learn as you go—and be the better for it. You and your daughter will definitely grow together!
  • Rely on God’s strength and wisdom (James 1:5 will become a mama-mantra)—and the encouragement and wisdom of other moms. Don’t try to “go it alone!”
  • Remember that God—and kids—are very forgiving. Yes, you will make mistakes. But consider how many I made—and look how you turned out!
  • Stay on your knees. It’d good training for what will be your lifelong job: Praying for your children.
  • Don’t forget to laugh a lot! It will ease the tension, soothe the pain—and make you much happier and more fun as a Mom.
  • Stay close with Richie. It’s easy to let the marriage slip away in this all-consuming job of mothering a new baby. I remember a quote I read recently from a new father about his marriage: “I feel like the old dog—and my wife just got a new puppy!”
  • Savor the moments. This will seem impossible in the middle of the night when the baby just won’t stop crying. But as one young mom told me, “When your kids are young, it feels like forever. But the years fly by….”
  • Something to look forward to: Being a mom, in a sense, gets better all the time. I’ve loved each stage along the way (well, most of the time). And just think--maybe one day your daughter will be just about to deliver her first child. And you will know the joy and anticipation (and nervous pacing!) I feel right now.
I love you honey—so much more than you can even understand. But very soon you will begin to know more of what mother-love means. And in the meantime, please take this as a HUGE cyberspace hug. That’s it for now (with, as I said, so much more to come). I have to get back to my praying and pacing.

Stay well, my precious daughter—and your daughter too! You are in God’s good hands!

With enormous love,
Mom

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