My darling girl,
We tucked you in bed, your last night as a six year old; you eagerly looking ahead to seven, me wondering where these seven years have gone. I feel like it was just yesterday when I went into labor for the first time in our small apartment, scared, apprehensive of what was to come.
Birthdays are always bittersweet for me. It's such an amazing thing to watch you blossom and grow into your own little being, but the pace at which life is passing us by is overwhelming.
As is our birthday-eve traditions, we filled out your birthday book, filling the pages with your memories from this last year, little trinkets and artwork you and I want to remember. I couldn't help but glimpse back into the years that passed, seeing your tiny 3 year old handprint outlined carefully on fading pages.
And maybe that's what grieves me. The passing of time and memories that move so quickly for me to absorb.
Yet I know I am who I am today because of you and all that you've taught me.
Sometimes I wish we could start again...you and I, but with the knowledge and experience that I have today. I wish I could gift you the mother that I am today, one that is not weighted by the cares, fears and distractions of the world.
But I know I would not be the mother I am had it not been for you, our firstborn.
You made me a mother for the first time, and for that I will always be grateful.
You taught me the meaning of unconditional love, of the grace that is found in the unknown, in mistakes, messiness and the brokenness of navigating motherhood for the first time.
You and I have journeyed through much unknown territory together: from breastfeeding, disciplining, sending you off to school for the first time, introducing more siblings to our family.
Through it all, you have always been a constant joy, even through my every shortcoming as a mother.
In the most unexpected moments, we discovered we would be parents to you. So much of me was not prepared for this monumental transition. I was still growing up myself, figuring out who I was, and trying to find my purpose in life.
Even through finishing school, starting a career, and striving toward countless ambitions, I have found this to be true: sweet girl, you have brought the greatest purpose to my life, and nothing compares to the gift of being your mama.
I hope you will always believe this as you continue to grow, venture forward and thrive; to know that you are deeply loved and have forever changed my life for the better.
In the moments where I doubted my ability to be the mother you deserve, your sweet love has been a constant reminder of the redemptive grace that will always carry us through the imperfect beauty of life.
Through the messiness, unknowns, and uncharted waters of our future, I know that one thing will always be certain: I will love you forever.
Happy 7th birthday Celeste, I thank God for your precious life and gift of being your mama.