Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Daughter's Birthday

 She likes sunshine on her shoulders, watching sappy movies that make her cry, and hanging out with the 'fam. She is thoughtful, determined, and opinionated, yet she is tender, compassionate and cares deeply for the poor, the disenfranchised, the lonely, and the hurting. She loves well -- her husband, her daughter, her family, her friends. She readily opens her heart and her home, and is a lover of community in its finest sense. She seeks to know God more deeply and is both an encourager and one who speaks truth to many. She is a natural born leader and a big picture person who often can step in, assess a situation and immediately see what needs to be done. She is unafraid to speak her heart and her mind. I have watched her develop the maturity, wisdom, and discernment to handle her marvelous gifts.

   As you might surmise, The Daughter is our only daughter and she is sandwiched between two older brothers and one younger. They adore her, taught her the value (their value) of competing for anything and everything, and nearly drove her crazy at times with their shenanigans. She just might have been a princess but for them. I also credit her brothers with helping to develop her sense of toughness and that sense of fairness that led her to become an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. Needless to say, she is a marvel to me.
     My husband and I were not as diligent and serious with our family planning as young couples seem to be today. We probably really only discussed at length the decision to have our first child, and the rest just seemed to happen according to God's perfect plan. To be honest, I was filled with more than a little trepidation when I learned that fall that I was expecting another child. My first two sons were only 16 months apart and life was busy, busy, busy chasing two active little boys. The oldest would not yet be four when baby number three would arrive, meaning that I would have three children under the age of four. Yet my husband and I wholeheartedly believe that children are a gift of the Lord and so while we waited a bit to tell our family and friends our news, we immediately began to pray for the child that I was carrying.

   After two sons, it was too much to hope that this baby would be a different sex; yet I secretly began to hope that baby number three might be a girl, even though my doctor, my husband, my pediatrician and everyone else who claimed to have the gift of prophecy told me that I was likely to have another boy. Back then there was not an option to discover the sex of one's child, so I had many months to gaze longingly at all of the pink in the department stores. But with so many prognosticators, I always passed by the tiny dresses. As the day approached, I unpacked all of my boy baby clothes, washed them one more time and carefully ironed the hand-sewn batiste day gown that each one of them had worn home from the hospital. Yet, when I packed my suitcase to go to the hospital, I tucked a tiny white bonnet with a ruffle around the edge in the very bottom of the suitcase where no one else could see it. It was my one secret. I had not even dared to show it to my husband. It was the physical representation of the secret longing that I carried close to my heart. I remember when my second child was born, I had wondered aloud to the Lord whether or not I could love another child the way that I loved the first...and proceeded to be amazed when the Lord opened the floodgates of love for my second I did not doubt that God would more than meet me with whatever He had planned. I knew that I could trust Him to give me all that I needed to be the mother of three sons. I was confident of God's grace and as ready as I thought I could be. I was prepared.

    Yet, after fourteen hours of labor, at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 30th, my husband and I could not have been more surprised and delighted to have the pleasure of making the acquaintance of The Daughter, who came crying loudly and lustily into the world. I don't think either one of us could believe our eyes! And yes, I dressed my little girl in the same gown that the boys had worn home from the hospital, now complete with a little white bonnet with the ruffle all around.
     Happy Birthday Daughter! You continue to bring joy and surprise into our lives. We are so thankful to the Lord for you!

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