The green and white checkered dress she wore with the little harness top as she wandered barefoot on the sidewalk was enough to melt my heart. We picked it up some place by way of hand-me-down; it’s no hand-sewn gem by any stretch. And yet that sweet fabric, against her strawberry blond hair with her chubby little biceps swinging free… it’s absurdly adorable. Sitting with her sister and rolling a ball back and forth across the cement, it created a snapshot in my brain that I hope will lodge there forever. In that instant I saw fully for who she is, the undeserved gift – beyond generous – that God gave us in her.
This week she turns two. Seven hundred some-odd days of waking up with this small person in our house, sharing our moments and days with her. Her playful smile and extroverted personality, her inquisitive spirit. Her humor and show-offy antics win the affection of strangers as much as family members. “What a happy child!’ everyone comments. And she is. She is a joy.
I was struck this week with the extravagance of the privilege we mothers hold in being able to know our young ones so well, have such an inside track on their development and emerging personality. I know the silence upstairs that likely means my toddler has gotten into trouble. I know the noise she makes when she needs the potty. I can interpret her cries – frustrated, hurt, angry, tired. One morning as I was translating a few new phrase of her particular “dialect” to her father – “No, she’s saying, ‘Watch this, Daddy!'” or “That means, ‘More milk please,'” – I was struck by the wonder it is to hold this role in the life of another human being. We are witnessing the unfolding of a one-of-a-kind human that God created with His own hands in His image. And no one else gets a front-row seat like this, at least not as close as ours. Nowhere near. It’s amazing.
That we get to witness this process, and not only witness the development of a person but help train and direct this soul – this baby becoming child becoming adolescent becoming adult – is remarkable. Why should God give us such a privilege? He need not have. But He does.
“From the fullness of His grace we have all received one gift after another.” (John 1:16) And this child, as each of my children, are truly such gifts.
Happy birthday, my sweet and beloved two-year old girl. No one loves you more than your daddy and I do, except the Father above who made you. To Him be all the thanks, and all the glory.