My little Landon,
I’ve been to some really beautiful places in my 24 years of life. I’ve seen the snow-capped Swiss Alps, watched the sun go down over Florence, hiked to the top of Mount Vesuvius, and swam in the waters off the Amalfi Coast. I’ve fallen in love with the changing of the leaves in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I’ve snorkeled in Jamaica, and I’ve prayed on the beaches of Haiti. But you, my dear, really do surpass them all. When I looked into your sweet face for the first time one year ago today, my heart was wrecked forever.
It’s hard to put into words exactly what this past year has been like. When I think about the fears your Daddy and I have had to face and the uncertainty we’ve had to walk through, I’m reminded, once again of our Savior’s unwavering protection and provision. I have learned so much in this process of becoming your Mama (and have so, so much more to learn). Jesus has redeemed parts of my brokenness that I never thought was possible. Just saying the word “Daddy” out loud used to feel like a knife cutting right through me, even when I did my best job pretending that it didn’t, and now? Seeing the way your Daddy loves you has healed that wound in my heart, replaced my hurt with gratitude, and allowed me to see just a glimpse of our Heavenly Father’s faithfulness. This year has been a year of hard changes, big sacrifices, and growth. There have been tears and frustrations, times that we’ve lost sight of how immensely blessed we are, and times that I’ve felt I will never be enough. But, oh my goodness, sweet boy… the joy you’ve brought outweighs it all. You light up a room. You giggle all the time. You wake up smiling every day. Your sweet voice plays over and over in my mind, even when you’re asleep. There is nothing I cherish more than spending every day with you. Learning more about you, watching you discover new things, and praying for you is the delight of a lifetime.
At my second ultrasound, they discovered that you had a calcium deposit on your heart. That led to many more ultrasounds and tests and I was really unsure of what it would mean for your development and health. Then, right after you were born, you wouldn’t cry like you were supposed to and they rushed you to the NICU to get your lungs cleared, leaving me there panicked, just wanting to hold you and know you were okay. To a lot of people, those are just small things that, in the scheme of things (compared to what some families have had to go through) seem really trivial. But, for me, they were huge, scary things… things that made me totally and completely surrender myself and your little life to Jesus. You see, as selfish as I am as your Mama, you don’t belong to me. You belong to Jesus. Him entrusting you to me to nurture and raise up in a home where you’re pointed towards Jesus and a love for Him is cultivated from an early age is my greatest honor. But, you’re His, sweet boy. Never, ever forget that.
When I said earlier that there were times during this last year when I felt that I will never be enough, I mean in little tiny ways, and also in big, important ways. Did I hold you enough? Did I hold you to much? Did I make your rice cereal too thick? Are you ruined forever because I give you apple juice? Is it my fault that you got pink eye that one time? Do I wash your hands enough? Do I wash my hands enough? Am I teaching you enough? What am I doing that I shouldn’t be doing? What am I not doing that I should be doing? The what-if’s, the not-sure’s, the I-worry-about’s… they would completely consume me if it wasn’t for my Father’s promises. You see, without Him, I really can’t do this. I can’t be a good Mama to you at all. In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” That’s exactly how being your Mama is. Praying everyday that He’ll give me the wisdom, the grace, and the strength to be a good Mama is what gets me through. And His mercies are new every morning.
I never, ever want to forget the little quirks about you that I’ve fallen deeply in love with this year. The way you cross your ankles. The way your white-blonde hair flips out in little curls behind your ears. The way your blue eyes sparkle. The way you look just like my Paw. The way you get so excited when you see food (especially Krispy Kreme doughnuts) and airplanes and say “ooohh oohh oohhhh!” The way you look taking a bath in our kitchen sink with the morning light streaming through the window. The way you turn and look at me over your shoulder with that mischievous grin on your face when you discover something new. The way you reach up and tug on the belt of my robe in the mornings while I make my coffee. The way you take my face in your fat little hands. The way it sounds when you say “Mama.”
I could go on forever, but there would never be enough words to describe the insurmountable joy that being your Mama has brought me. Your Daddy and I love you so much, Landon. Happy First Birthday!
I’ll love you forever, and always more than the day before.
*Photos by the one and only Meredith Fields