Oh, be still my heart. The thoughts that go through a mother’s head when she sits still for a few minutes…
I’m sitting in my office* wearing my new earbuds that I got as a Mother’s Day listening to a classical music and out of the corner of my eye I see a slide show on the television that I created almost two years ago to display during our “Happy Hamrick Day” celebration – the day that our adoption was finalized.
These pictures are making me feel very sentimental… and the beautiful music I’m listening to is adding a poignant underscore. Because the slideshow is mostly of Anna, things I’ve been thinking about lately regarding her are flooding through my mind and I thought I’d jot them down while I have a few minutes.
Anna, throughout your life I will tell you lots of things… things like:
- You are lovely. You make me smile, and while I want you to know that always, please know that it’s not your job to make me smile. You were not put on this planet to make me smile, to give me a daughter, or to fill a pink-and-frilly-hole in my heart. You were put on this planet for big things and only God Himself can reveal those things to you. I am so honored that Mama Kim has allowed me to take part in watching you grow into the woman you will be.
- You are beautiful… you are “make-people-do-a-double-take” kind of beautiful. I pray you never question your beauty. I want you to know you are beautiful and lovely and all the things girls hope to be, but I also want you to know that your beauty is not what makes us love you. When we mention your beauty, it’s not to tell you that your worth is in your beauty… your worth is an immeasurable value set by God and has nothing to do with your physical appearance. With that said, we are often shocked by your beauty because we are still so surprised that God saw fit to allow us to be your parents.
- You are strong. You are so strong. There will be challenges you will have to face and you have it in you to face them with grace. Yesterday you opened a door onto your toe and it hurt. I wanted to scoop you up and make the pain go away but I did for you what I did for your brothers… I said, “Rub it!! Rub it!!” and you did. Within five seconds you calmed yourself down and were telling me, “I okay. I okay.”
* * * Even though you are strong (and this may be even more important to understand than that you are strong), you have a safe place in me and daddy, and your brothers… a safe place to let someone else be strong for you. You are very quick to tell us that you’re okay when you trip or get a scraped knee… It’s literally the cutest thing to hear you yell out, “I okay!” just after you slipped on your blanket or ran into something. When you get hurt and rubbing your boo-boo doesn’t make the pain go away, I am here, ready to scoop you up and snuggle you. You don’t have to be strong. You don’t have to be okay. You can be hurt, mad, sad, scared, confused, annoyed, and any combination of those things. Your feelings are not threatening to us. We are okay with them. Like I said before, you don’t exist in this world to make sure I’m happy… My job as your mother is to make sure you’re okay. You have my permission to not be strong all the time.
- You are brave. You can climb anything and you are willing to try anything. Once. If you try something you don’t like, you very clearly remind us next time that you don’t want to do that again. At the moment you are very certain you don’t like tall slides, but you did it once and figured out that they aren’t your jam. For now, anyway.
- You are smart. As in, crazy smart. I googled it. Kids your age typically don’t the vocabulary or sentence structure that you have. You figure things out on your own and you know how to get what you want. I can’t wait to see what you do with that brain of yours.
- You are an encourager. I love picking you up from your class and hearing your teachers tell how you told them GOOD JOB when they set the table or held the door open. You make others feel good about themselves and you bring life and joy into any room you enter. While I don’t think that’s what God put you on the planet for, necessarily (meaning, I don’t want you to think it’s your job to make everyone happy at your own expense) I do firmly believe that it’s a part of your character, who you are at your core, and I believe that when you make others happy, you receive genuine pleasure. Keep these in mind… you should encourage others and at the same time, set healthy boundaries. (We’ll talk a lot about boundaries as you grow up.)
My sons… what treasures you are.
- I love watching you grow. I adore sitting with you in the mornings, reading books that impact your lives. This week as read from a historical-fiction book and then took a rabbit trail down a path that often goes unexplored in public schools, I rejoiced. I felt a deep sense of satisfaction: I homeschool you so that we have the freedom to learn what we want to learn and on our schedule, and so that we spend our limited time together in the best way possible.
- I love sitting with each of you individually when you need help with a subject… it’s time I look forward to. Sure, I want you to understand your math or science and not need my help, but when I need to sit with you to help you figure something out, I treasure those times.
- I love watching you transition from boys to men. You teens are doing so great at this. (In the moments you act more like boys than men, I’m reminded that my job is not quite done… if you’re reading this, go pick up your socks!)
- I love watching each of you with Anna. All four of you have such unique and special relationships with her. I feel I’m getting to see a taste of what each of you will be like as dads. What a fun result of having bigs AND a baby at the same time.
- I dread watching you guys move away and at the same time, I am doing my best to make sure you’re prepared for whatever next-step is ahead of you. Please know that I’m very aware that during this duty station Hayden graduates and at the next, Carson and Bailey will. It is not your job to make me happy but please know that by being the men God created you to be, you are making me the happiest mom on the planet.
To Mama Kim:
May your Mother’s Day be lovely. May your little ones hug you and be extra sweet today. We honor you as Anna’s first-mom every day. When we ask her, “Who loves Anna?” she lists us, her brothers, her grandparents, and you, and each time in a different order. Your place in her life is permanent. Forever. You are her mother… her first mother. You hold a place in her life that I can’t hold and I don’t want to. You. You are first.
To the moms… mine and Matt’s:
Thank you for being such amazing examples of motherhood. I pray I honor you in my parenting.