It’s your birthday today, and I’m wishing I could light a little candle in your world and plant a sweet kiss on your cheek. Instead, you’re oceans away, and I’m simply hanging on to waves of hope. I wish I could take pictures of your face covered in cake, gentle nudges to pray that an amazing guy will someday be guilty of the same shenanigans on your wedding day. Months have passed since I first saw your adorable face. It has been grace that has kept me occupied and distracted during the wait, just as it has been grace that has helped me walk with patience the past nearly 8 years of waiting to bring you home, Little Bird. I still remember the start of my paper pregnancy at the kitchen table all those years ago, always wondering who you would be. Little did I know the setbacks and decisions that yet awaited and that the paper trail was far from over!
And little did I know that that unexpected paper trail that journeyed through the years would take me on another journey as well…to greater degrees of hope. Not the sappy kind of hope that wishes a favourite sports team wins or that you’ll make it to your appointment on time, but the kind that presses down on you with a weight of glory. The kind that leans into expectancy and rebels against cynicism or doubt. The kind that holds with an open hand rather than a closed heart. The kind that believes that life can come from death, that sees the darkness and believes that light will win. A hope that chooses brave in the face of fear and loss. A hope that’s like a Velveteen love that becomes more real, worn bare by brokenness that has found a greater beauty. The kind of hope that is forged by being made and remade one day of waiting after another.
You see, I’ve spent a lifetime learning to hedge my bets, Baby Girl. I’ve experienced some of the hardest disappointments, many in places they should have least been found, and ones I pray you’ll never have to know. So I learned to be my own safety net and keep my dreams manageable, I suppose. Hope stopped coming naturally to me along the way because it meant I’d have to live with expectancy, that I’d have to press into believing, and live fully alive to the moment yet forever remember the fragility of it all, and I couldn’t afford the kind of heartbreak that experience had taught me can come with that.
But then you graced my life and started to teach me about hope again…choosing to embrace fully with expectancy the “not yets” of life while “happily ever afters” remain uncertain. You teach me to see you despite the unknowns, to see the invisible threaded through the tangible. As the sun bathes my face, I see your silhouette from behind, riding your little tricycle down the long road stretched in front of us on evening walks. And I remember too when I saw you running through a nearby field of wispy dandelions as the spring gave way to summer. When I watch a father and his son throwing a baseball around, I see you there too. I’m excited to watch you soak up the world in slow wonder, much like this journey I’ve been on waiting for you. So many take for granted everyday what I’ve been praying so very long for. Thank you for teaching me that sometimes dreams look like finding the extraordinary in the everyday ordinary and stitching eternity into the seemingly mundane.
All dreaming and seasons come with their own kind of growing, Sweet One. All things bloom beautiful in their time, though time will sometimes feel like a great thief more than a blossom-maker, including on 1st birthdays when we’re oceans apart. I am sad for the days I am missing right now of your precious life, sad to be missing your soft baby cheeks and little toes, comforting your tears, and knowing I’ll never have a photo collage of these moments in time. But Heaven will tell the stories we missed together on earth, Little Bird. Tonight, I will curl up on your bed again, take your little lamb in my arms, and pray the Good Shepherd will take you in His, protect you, fill your gaps, send you a gentle soul who comes when you cry. I pray that He will make you a ray of sunshine and let your heart feel how much you are loved.
Both the now and the not-yet have their own blossoms, so we’ll learn to call time our friend instead of our foe. And we’ll keep believing that birthday cakes and bedtime snuggles and bathtimes and bicycles will be our gift for your next birthday. Bloom bright, Baby Girl, pinks and oranges and brightest yellows! And wish upon a thousand “happily ever afters” because hope sometimes looks a lot like dreaming big and finding your way Home.
Happy birthday, Little Bird!
All my love,