It’s been twelve years.
Twelve years since my doctor looked at me and said the words I’d hoped to hear: It’s a girl.
The emotion in the hospital room is palpable. Chad is beside me, my sister in the corner of the room, a dark haired, tiny baby is placed on my chest.
There are tears of utter joy. Healing tears.
If I’m being honest, it’s difficult to untangle Meadow’s arrival from the loss of my Mom. They missed each other on this earth by nearly two years, but still they have always been intertwined in my heart.
The loss of my Mom brought a cloud of sadness that settled onto life. Yes, there were moments of joy in those years, but even in the joy there was a shadow of sadness. The deep, unspoken feeling, I wish she were here to experience this.
I was nervous to have another baby without my Mom. She was in the room with us when Chanelle was born. She was my ‘phone-a-friend’ for everything. She was my once, twice, three times a day call. She was my call for no reason except to say, whatcha doing? After she died, I became accustomed to that cloud. The tinge of sadness at every joyful moment. Would the birth of this new baby be the same?
Turns out, there was no need to worry.
It’s a girl, the doctor says as she beams and hands over our sweet new daughter. In a moment, the tears of joy come. Chad, my sister, me. Tears of happiness flow. My heart, I thought forever broken, experiences a joy that is unexplainable.
Joy that is hopeful.
Joy that is healing.
Joy that is pure.
Chad and I talk often about how much my Mom would love Meadow. My mom, quite quirky in her own way, would love Meadow’s unique personality. I think they would laugh together, I think they would conspire against me together, I think my Mom would tell me to chill when I’m exasperated with Meadow.
I wish my Mom were here. But here’s the thing–the birth of Meadow, twelve years ago, taught me that beauty does come from ashes. That there is joy after pain.
Meadow is that joy.
My ‘baby’ is twelve today. No longer a baby, not quite yet a teen, today is for Meadow.
You are twelve years old today. And while I doubt you will read this today, someday you may look back and stumble on these words. More than anything I want you to know this:
You. Are. So. Loved.
Meadow, I can’t imagine a world without you. A world without your joy. Your humor. Your love. Your uniqueness.
It seems that from the moment of your birth, you were exactly who you are. You’ve always walked to the beat of your own drum. You’ve never needed to go with the crowd or be like everyone else. You’ve simply been beautifully, uniquely you and that has drawn others to you.
I hope you never lose that, Meadow. I hope you hold on the bravery that allows you to walk to that different beat. To be exactly who you are. Because when you are exactly who you are, Meadow, others feel the freedom to do the same.
I’m not sure you can appreciate today, the bravery it takes to be exactly who you are–but that’s what it is. Meadow, you are so brave. This year, we’ve watched you join soccer teams where you know no one. We’ve watched you put yourself in uncomfortable positions and become (somewhat) comfortable being uncomfortable.
And while that may not seem like an important skill to you now, someday you will understand that so much of experiencing the fullness of life means being comfortable being uncomfortable. And while I know this hasn’t been easy for you, you’ve done it anyway, and that’s the key.
Meadow, you have added so much joy to our family. A lightness. A fun. A go-with-the-flow-ness, that didn’t exist before your arrival. Maybe, it was because you were our third and we lightened up a bit with you, but I don’t think so. I think it was your one-of-a-kind personality that taught us all.
The way you love animals.
The way you love people.
The way you play.
The way you delight in all things.
Meadow, as much as we are here to teach you–you have taught us.
You have taught us to lighten up. To delight in the little things. To not take ourselves, or life, too seriously.
And while you are full of fun and joy and laughter, there is another, deeper side of you that I love equally.
It is a sensitive side. A side full of depth. Wonder. Questions. And feelings.
Oh, Meadow, I love that side of you, too. It is beautiful, and deep, and thoughtful.
The reality is, Meadow, I believe God brought you to us because he knew we needed you. Not any child. Not any baby. Not at any time. He knew we needed Meadow. And he knew that November 17th, 2011 was the perfect time.
He knew the gift you would be.
And what a gift you are.
Meadow, I am so incredibly thankful that God gave us you.
I am proud to be your Mom.