Wednesday, March 31, 2010

red tricycles and red letter days

Dear Ainsleigh,
Eight years ago today, because of you, I earned the title "Mother." Even now, I have trouble finding the words to accurately describe what that did to me. I've been looking back at those pictures of you from your first years and I feel so incredibly grateful that you are mine. Just a few days ago, after I praised you for something you had done, you threw yourself into my arms and squeezed my neck, murmuring that you loved me. As I inhaled your unique scent, it was like an involuntary thought, "Stay like this forever." As much as I tease you and your siblings about NOT getting older, I know you will. I think more than staying under four feet tall or lap-sized, I want you to stay the way you are. Which, if you think about it, sounds really obvious. I mean, how could you not be you?

Recently, I have struggled with how to be a good mom for you. We have been frustrated with each other and confused as to how to make things better. I have worked hard to read talk to some people about what I can do to help you the best way possible, and still have you know how much I love you (because it will probably only be once you're a LOT older that you will realize that some of this stuff that seems hard now was because I love you). A couple months ago, a dear, wonderful and wise friend who has experienced similar things with her daughter shared a story with me that I want you to know (she doesn't remember where she clipped it, and it was long before she ever had need of it, but that's how blessings sometimes work):

Now, while some of the things we've struggled with are not nearly as incapacitating as what this woman is talking about, the sentiment remains the same. The fact is, the very characteristics about you that have proven to be frustrating, have also been incredible assets. You notice detail that I would otherwise have missed. You are such a good friend, a best friend, to your brother. You are such a good sister, a beautiful example, to your little sister. You are such a good helper, determined to do what is right. This little red tricycle of mine is strengthening my legs in ways I never imagined, but I suppose that is why they needed to grow. And this little red tricycle of mine is making its ways through beautiful places I would never have seen, never have admired, never have appreciated.

My heart laughs and cries to wish you a happy birthday today. Hop on the back of this tricycle, little lady, because the ride might get a little rough, but it's also getting spectacular. I love you something fierce, my sweet girl.



wanda said...

Well, now I'm crying (not good for the eye makeup!) before I head off to seminary.

Happy Birthday to sweet Ainsleigh. We love her so much.

loewymartin said...

Well put my friend. A very happy birthday to Ainsleigh. She's so very lucky to have you and Joel in her life. As are we all.

laura said...

Way to choose, like, the most adorable pictures of her of all time. She sounded so grown-up on the phone yesterday! I can't believe it.

I wanna see her ears!