To Noelle on her fourth birthday




Oh my sweetness, we woke up this morning and you were four. Technically it all happened yesterday but I was so busy party prep that reflection time was non existent until bedtime.  Poor planning on my party.

But as evening fell we laid in bed together, readying Busytown books and reflecting on the day that you were born.  And all the beauty and spirit of your life washed over me like sweet music, pure and perfect.

I can’t believe it’s been four years since you burst onto the scene and we started this mother, daughter journey together.

When I watch you navigate your days I’m brought to tears by your gorgeous soul.  There’s a lot of talk about creativity these days, but you don’t even know what that words means even though you embody it in it’s purest form.

When you play outside with your imaginary bunnies, Piner, Buzz and Heinz, I wonder if perhaps you shouldn’t teach a segment on creativity at a conference somewhere.  The way in which you engage our world is astounding and watching you discover and explore life is truly one of my life’s greatest gifts.

These days I’m committing myself to tuning into what God poured into you and doing my best not to get in the way of it.  No, my job is to teach you discipline, patience and perseverance among a thousand other things.

I think you were born with the gifts of kindness, selflessness and hospitality.  We learned this deeper still yesterday as you greeted your party guests with hugs and served them each a blue, plastic cup of lemonade whether they wanted it or not.  You manned your station long after everyone had been served, pouring a dozen spare cups “just in case.”

We decided that it was your party, you could pour if you wanted to.

And pour you did, until the counter was full of cups and the floor was sugary sticky.

We had to peel you away from the lemonade station, there was too much lemonade poured.

Too much baby.

This reminds me of something I want to tell you, now and for the rest of your life:  The world is going to do a damn good job of telling you that you’re too much.  It does this to all of us but I worry that you’ll encounter it more than most as a creative, busy, beautiful girl and someday woman.

They may tell you that you’re too loud
Too wiggly
Too busy
Too curious
That you talk to much
That you weigh too much
Or that you’re too tall
Too ambitious ( I hope )
Too emotional

Too much.

And the worst part is that I know for a fact I have joined in the chorus and will continue to do so.  And that I’ll be the first one for whom you try to change, to please.

But try not to concern yourself with pleasing us.  Please God.  He’s the only one that matters when it comes to the art of pleasing, I know it won’t seem like that but it’s true beyond words.

My prayer for you today, on the occasion of your fourth birthday, is that you are already forming a resolve of inner contentment.  That you fall in love with the person God created you to be.  That your creative, lovely, compassionate core is protected from all who tell you that you’re not enough.

I pray that our home continues to grow into a place where you are loved “as is” and that we, your parents and family, are most interested in doing God’s work in your life.  That we are listening to his plan for your days and disregarding our unimaginative notions of who you should be.

I pray that God blares his will for you into our ears until it drowns our our human preferences.  

That he protects your from those who aren’t interested in loving you “as is” and try to conform you into something for their own selfish sake.

Most of all I’m thankful for the gift of Noelle.  You have undone and rebuilt me baby girl, in four short years with more to come. You have been a balm to my own relationship with my lost mother.  You are more than I could have hoped for, asked for, prayed for.

You are everything I was afraid of and exactly what I needed.

And God?  He is all knowing, so good, so worthy to be praised.

Grace, Selah, Amen and a Thousand thank yous to our Father.