My dear, sweet Blythe Kathleen:

One year ago, you came into our lives in a flash and a fury. We went to the hospital hopeful that it was time to meet you, but soon everyone was telling us we were probably going home. And then, you made it known that the time was NOW. You were ready to mark this world with your presence. You were ready to leave the safety of my womb. You were ready to be born. 

Your Daddy's knees nearly bucked when the nurse said, "Oh! It's time…NOW!" and started wheeling me to the delivery room. He clenched to my bed rails and whispered prayers for me and for you. And in a matter of moments, I was holding you in my arms. You nearly disappeared in the towel they wrapped you in, barely 6 pounds and five ounces. You squawked, and then nestled in close and silently went back to sleep. 

And in that moment, you made me a mother. 

In the past year, you have stretched me in ways I never knew I could stretch. I felt physically broken for awhile. I was exhausted, so very exhausted. And just when I thought I'd reached a limit, I realized I could be stretched and pushed even more. But through it all, you were there to guide me back to myself. Your tiny fingers would gently wrap around mine, and I knew it was all worth it. 

And I knew our journey together was just beginning. 

And then you learned how to smile. And then to clap. And then to say bye bye. And then to dance.  As soon as we knew you would be a girl, we began praying the word JOY for you: that you would be filled with joy; that you would bring joy to others; that you would know the joy of Christ. You brought your dad and I joy in so many new ways each day. Your name itself means "joy", and as we watched your little personality develop, we were mesmerized by your joyful spirit, and reminded once again that our God is so very faithful.  

We love to go on walks with you, and watch your little dimpled hands grip onto the front of the stroller as you take in all the sights and sounds around you. You are an observer, and are quite inquisitive about life and how everything works and moves. You're also quite dainty! Not only are you petite, but you do things daintily. You pick up toys and food and ANYTHING with just your forefinger and thumb. You've mastered the art of putting on necklaces, and once you put one around your neck you tilt your head to the side and smile, as if you're saying, "I'm SO sweet." 

You've been a great eater for us from the start. You will try anything we put in front of you, and gobble it right up. We nursed for 11 months, and you weaned perfectly. You've become a noisy eater though, which is funny because most of the time you don't make a lot of noise! You get so excited when we put you in the high chair that you dance and wiggle from side to side. With every bite you take, you talk and talk and talk. 

I've always loved little kids, Blythe, but I never knew that I could love you like I do. It is a kind of love that goes clear through me and becomes a part of my every moment. When I fell in love with your daddy, I knew that our love was special, but I didn't know that from it we would grow so much more love! Because of you, we have felt closer to each other. We want to be the very best parents we can be for you, and we want you to always know that we love each other, and that we are a team. There is a verse in the bible that simply says, "God is love." I know that this is true, because when I am holding you in my arms, and I feel that love that takes my breath away, I know that what I am really feeling is the presence of God. 

When I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a teacher and a mother. Before you came, I taught High School English, and I really liked my job. But as I felt you growing inside of me, I knew that God had made me to be your mother more than anything. So we spend our days together now. Some days are tough. Some days you're clingy, or you don't nap well, or you poop all over everything. Some days I feel like I'll never catch up on anything, and that I don't ever get a break. But then you do the actions to "If You're Happy and You Know It" for the first time, or you crawl over and put a book in my lap to read to you, and I am reminded that the dishes can wait, that this time is so fleeting, and that these were the days I had been dreaming about since I was a little girl. 

Many days I ponder what your little life will become. I wonder what your interests will be, what your hair will look like, and if you'll have a passion for reading like me? I wonder what you'll want to pursue in life, if you'll be athletic, or musical, or a little of both? I wonder if you'll want to start a rock collection, or paint pictures, or play with Barbies? But more than that, I wonder if you'll be a young girl filled with compassion for others? I wonder if you'll have a hospitable spirit and make others feel welcome in your presence? I wonder if you'll realize that what this world tells you you need is all excess? And mostly I wonder when you'll learn that the one thing you truly need is a Savior? 

Blythe Kathleen, our "pure joy", thank you for all you have taught us in the past year. Thank you for being such a calm, sweet, happy baby girl. Thank you for expanding our hearts and our lives. In your big brown eyes I see so much of myself, and sometimes it is scary to realize that I am responsible for teaching you and showing you how to interact with the world around you. But mostly, when I look in your beautiful eyes, I see this wonderful gift looking back at me: I see this chance to try again every day and be the best version of myself I can be. 

We love you so very, very much. When your days seem dark and troubled, when it seems like we are fighting you for no reason, may you always remember that we're in your corner. When we fight in a dressing room about what you can wear, may you remember that your modesty and your beauty are precious gifts we are trying to protect for you. When we set curfews that you don't like and say, "Nothing good happens after midnight", and tell you not to spend time with certain people, may you remember that we are trying our best to create a safe place for you. When you don't get a brand new car when you turn 16, and you don't get a cell phone as soon as you want, may you remember that we are trying to show you the importance of true value, and trying to teach you needs vs. wants. When you leave for college and the world seems bigger and scarier than you ever thought it could, remember that you're always our daughter, we will always love you, and we will leave the light on for you any time you want to crawl back into your bed at home. When you leave us for good, and go out into the world on your own, may you have learned the love of Jesus, and know He is always near you. 

As you add years to your life, may you look back and know that we have loved you from the moment they laid you on my chest. 

Happy First Birthday, Blythe Kathleen! There is nothing you can ever do that will make us stop loving you. 

And when you turn 21, and 31, and even 51, please know that you are still the one that made me a mother. 

*pictures taken by MW PHOTO [she is AMAZING, and I will forever be grateful to her for capturing Blythe's personality in these one year photos] 
** Read Blythe's Birth Story HERE
***Read the story behind her name HERE


Hannah said...

Oh my goodness! I can't believe she is one! I feel like you just had her. Does time really go that fast once you have a baby?! She is absolutely adorable, Kelsey! She is one blessed little girl to have you and Brent for her mommy and daddy. I can't wait to meet her :)

Brent said...

Loved it! Well said.