A letter to Sofia.

I didn’t know I could fall in love so fast, but baby girl, you stole my heart the moment I felt you free from inside me. The moment I saw you, that was the end. It was the end of ever thinking I could live without you.IMG_1209

And even before that I loved you. I loved you when the pregnancy test was positive. I loved you when I heard your heartbeat for the first time. (I laughed because I was so full of joy.) I loved you when I felt you kick. I loved you when my body hurt so bad that I could hardly move. I loved you when I felt fat because you were growing so big inside me. I loved you when I felt pain in my side and in my back from carrying you. I loved you with every contraction. With every bit of agony, I loved you. I loved you when I couldn’t see the end of the pain. And when it finally did end, it was so easy to forget. All I knew was how much I loved you.

I loved you then, and I love you even more now. My love for you grows with every day I know you. My love for you is more than you can fathom.

You’ve only been here for four days, but from the moment you were conceived, you were with me. Your heart beat with my blood, your bones grew with the strength I gave you. Now it’s your turn to face the world, but don’t think you’ll ever be alone. Your heart still beats with the blood I gave you and your bones will grow with the love of your daddy and I.

You will never walk alone. We’ll be here to hold you. We’ll be here to comfort you, support you, and cheer you on.

Baby girl, I wish I could tell you how much I love you, but with all the words in every language I could never find the right ones to tell you how big this love is. I hope you catch glimpses when I kiss you. I hope you can see it when I hold you close to me, when I look at you, and hope you can feel it when I tell you that I love you.

I hope you always know you’re beautiful. When you were born I couldn’t stop saying how pretty you were. “She’s so pretty,” I said to the nurse. “She’s so pretty,” I said to my mom. “She’s so pretty,” I said to your daddy. Everyone in the room knew you were beautiful, but I couldn’t stop saying it out loud. “You are beautiful,” I said to your sweet dimpled face.

I hope your heart is never broken. I hope you never get older. I hope you don’t grow too big to fit in my arms when I carry you. But a day will come when life is not easy for you. A day will come when I forget that you used to be so small. But sweet girl, you’ll always be my baby. You’ll always be my girl.¬†You are the blood of my blood, the bones of my bones, the flesh of my flesh. You are the heart of my heart. And sweet baby girl, I will always love you.

To love the one you cannot love.

The one where I’m brutally honest about something I’ve never posted in public.

How do you love a man who brings knots to your stomach and silence to your lips
whose voice makes your insides cringe and your outsides stiff…

who lies through his teeth, telling the world his beautiful lies,
claiming to provide,
though your family collects unemployment checks from the government
and groceries from the food bank
while he sits on the couch for 10 hours a day…

Not a care,
Not a worry,
No guilt,
And still no job applications…

How do you love a man whom you have always feared
to put you on the streets,
or in the hospital,
or in the grave,
though realistically, probably only from a broken heart
and shattered expectations…

How do you love the man who called you a rebellious liar,
a child, a runaway,
when you followed your dream,
and believed in what the Lord could do through the passion in your soul…

How do you love the man who calls himself a lover of God,
yet lies to his friends,
his church,
his family,
himself,

Whose anger you know better than his love,
whose yell you recall more closely than words of affirmation,
whose eyes have never seemed kind

and whose hands have always been an enemy,
instead of a
counselor
protector
comforter…

How do you love the man who has made you cry,
more than he’s made you laugh,
whose blood runs through your veins,
but whom you fear to call your father?

—–

How did he forgive them men who betrayed him for silver,
who mocked him,
beat him,
lied about him,
killed him?

How did He love the ones who could not be loved?

On growing up.

My cousin, Matt, left for bootcamp yesterday. In just 3 months he’ll be a U.S. Marine. That makes me feel old. When I look at this picture of us, I see 4 grown ups.

I look at my nearly 21-year-old face and see a woman, no longer a young girl. That’s the most drastic difference I see in myself because it is easy to compare to my younger self. But I know my passions and desires have become clearer as well. I’m more than half way done with college, and already planning my first career as I prepare to serve in the Peace Corps in Central America.

I look at my snazzy younger brother, Seth, who is less than a year from turning 18, and I think, Wow, what a man! A man who thinks deeply, and dreams ambitiously, and acts maturely (for the most part). His plans for his life are far more passionate than mine were at his age, and his self-awareness is strong. He is independent and knows who he is and who he wants to be.

I look at my cousin, Matt, who is 22, and I see a young man who is starting his life — his own life — who is leaving home to serve his country. I see my cousin as a mature man who is making big decisions and taking responsibility. He is smart and kind and respectful and it’s obvious he cares about his family, though there has been tension in the past.

Then I see my older brother, Nathan, who is 23. He’s working on taking action this year. I see that. I compare who he is now to who I knew a few years ago and I see a young man who desires independence and who wants to be a man after God’s own heart. His desire is for people and he’s taking actions to get to a place where he can serve. He’s still a jovial guy with a big laugh, but he’s learning when to be serious and make decisions and do hard things.

I look at who we’ve become and where we’ve come from. Our attitudes have changed from raging hormonal to responsible and ambitious. We’ve gained a little more life experience and learned the importance of our families who, in adolescence, we tried to push away. Today I’m proud of who we are and excited to see who we will become.

The four of us at my cousin Mikey’s wedding in November 2006.