Three years a daughter, Three years a mother

Saturday was the best day I’ve had in ever so long.  So much so that I’m fairly certain I told my husband how content and overjoyed I was nearly 20 times as we sat together and wound down from the busyness of the day.

Yesterday we celebrated three years of our oldest, our daughter Noelle.

Noelle Ava on her birthday from birth to three

The more I stop and really see my children the more overwhelmed I am with how much beauty God poured into each of them.  My Noelle is fully of curiosity, joy and compassion.  She was given a doctor play set by her grandma and she has been attempting to “feel us better” ever since with TLC and immense determination, watch out or you could take a pretend needle to the face.

I sit here at my breakfast table listening to the thunder and rain and reflecting on this morning three years ago.  In a small hospital room, exhausted with a freshly cut C-section scar across my abdomen.  I was trying to walk without abs and praying to learn how to nurse and swaddle my freshly given baby girl.

I’ve been a parent for three years and although I love each child with reckless abandon, there is something about a firstborn that causes a woman to reflect on her motherhood journey with each milestone.

As I have been raising a daughter, she has been bringing up a mother.  The day she was born is the same day I truly became a parent.  Those first sleepless nights taught me to be tough, to push through life on adrenaline from my reserve tank.  Our nursing journey was a struggle, for the first month we stayed up all night crying together, wondering how something so natural could be so difficult.  She lost weight and things suddenly revolved around the number on the baby scale.

back when we were brand new

Finally we hit our stride, she gained weight and I found rhythm, she fell in love with bananas and I made a freezer full of baby food.  She learned to walk and I learned to forget myself and enjoy the mother life, so full of repetitive service and small, unseen tasks.

She has her fathers eyes and my boundless energy, she is my daughter and my partner on the journey.  Practically everywhere I go, every errand I run and most of the showers I take, she is there chatting and giggling.  We’ve crossed the country together on airplanes and in minivans, marveling from our unique perspectives at what we saw out the window.

She struggles with her independence and somedays so do I.  She wants to do her thing and some days so do I.  As she is learning to trust me and be shaped through correction, I am allowing my inner toddler to be molded to the mothering call of my father-God.

As we grow together, we are both humbled by the mistakes we make, the things that are broken by our reckless actions.  She breaks ceramics mostly while I’m more prone to break a day with my impatience and selfishness.  Yet somehow our relationship and connection to our God is full of grace and as I give it to her she gives it right back.

There is always an “I’m sorry” and a tight sticky hug, and sometimes we share some “coffee” or ice cream if we really need to smooth things over.

My cousin told me that the parenting journey changes as your children get a little older, that in some strange way they become your little friends.   I’m finding that to be true as we have our inside jokes and routines.

Right now my favorite is “no nose” and “yes nose.”  This is a game that came straight from her imagination where we rub noses by either shaking or nodding our heads depending on if we’re going for “no nose” or “yes nose.”  We both enjoy watching the muppets and singing along to “moves like jagger.”  We like to share food and snuggle up over a book.  She does not like Downton Abbey and I don’t love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse but somehow we make it work.

Of course there are still moments of teaching and correction, strained conversations and frustration.  So it will always go with those that we love most.

But she is my companion on the journey and when she rounds the corner of the hallway each morning with her bedhead and wet diaper I’m ready deep down to do another day with my daughter, whatever it may bring.


  • Ruth A. Verkaik

    Leanne, This was THE BEST recap of mommy/daughter that I have read in a long time!!! Thanks for bring me back to my own memories of my precious kids many many years ago!!

  • Lisa K

    Try Anne of Green Gabels. She may not be up for Downton yet but I think I started my love affair with Avonlea at 3 or 4. I can’t believe she’s 3!

  • Joy

    Beautiful written, friend. Quite moving.

  • Rebecca Roberts

    Beautiful post. I can’t believe she is three already. Sometimes I still expect her to be the newborn I was fortunate enought to spend her first few days with.

  • Heather Tiger

    Lovely and such a treasure for the years to come. Happy birthday Noelle!

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