“Give faith a fighting chance”

Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,
I hope you dance, I hope you dance

-I Hope You Dance; LeeAnn Womak

Dear Baby Girl,

It’s been five months since you entered this world and completed my life.  In five months you have learned so much and taught me even more.  In our lifetime together there will be many more lessons for us both, but today I want to talk to you about faith.  Not the kind that comes with the structure of going to church, although we will talk about that at another time.  But the kind of faith where you just sort of let go, and let life happen. 

I’ve talked to you a lot about working hard to get what you want.  I’ve preached about being determined and not giving up.  And I mean all of that.  But there’s another side of it.  Sometimes, honey, some things are just a leap of faith.  There will be some things that you can’t control, and then you have to let it go and have faith that it will work out. 

Love is leap of faith.  Trust means putting faith in someone else. Reaching for the stars means having faith that you’ll catch one.  Forgiveness means having faith that you won’t regret it.  My greatest hope for you is that you’re able to do all of these things.  Chose to throw caution to the wind and love someone with a fierceness that will scare you.  Then trust that he will have the good sense to guard your heart with care.   Go after your dreams and give it all you’ve got, even when the outcome is unsure.  And, when your feelings are hurt or someone is unkind to you, find a way to forgive and rebuild your friendship. 

There is a certain relief in giving something up to God, to knowing that it will work out – one way or another – and trusting that the final outcome will be what’s best.  It’s a hard place to get to.  And being there once doesn’t mean it will be easy the next time it feels like something is out of your control.  But when all else fails and there’s nothing left to do but hope?  Then hope, little one.  Take a deep breath, give faith a fighting chance and dance. 

I love you, sweet girl.

4 Month Letter

Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. 
Listen to the shouldn’t, the impossibles, the won’ts. 
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…
Anything can happen, child.  Anything can be. 
– Shel Silverstein

 

Hello Baby Girl. 

Four months old today.  Four whole months.  Like every letter I write you I could marvel about how big you are or how cute.  I could go on and on about how much I love you and how the squeals and giggles that you greet me with when I walk in the door after a long day at work, make whatever annoyance or frustration I’m bringing home melt away. 

But I think instead I will talk to you about the things I want you to learn as you grow up.  And while it’s not fun to hear this and your daddy would give his left arm to prevent it, I want you to know that sometimes you will have to fight for what you want.  Whether you are learning to walk, trying out for a starting position on the basketball team or interviewing for a job.  Sometimes you will fall.  I want you to get back up. 

Get back up and try again.  Put one foot in front of the other.  Practice.  Kick. Scream. Cry.  But get back up.  You are already such a determined little girl that I have no doubt that if you dream big dreams you will achieve big things.  You will find people along the way that will tell you can’t.  There will be voices in your head that tell you to just give up; to go home.  But I want you to remember that you can do anything you set your mind to.  Stretch your imagination.  Reach for the stars. 

Your mommy and daddy will be with you every step of the way. 

I love you, sweet girl.

3 Month Letter

Dear Princess,

Good Golly! The last month has just flown by.  I’m not even sure where to start your three-month letter. 

So let’s start with I love you. I love everything about you.  The way you’re starting to get so big and so proud of yourself when you accomplish a new goal – like holding up your head (which you now do with ease) or being pulled into a sitting position or almost, but not quite rolling over.  Sometimes you don’t even know what you’re doing until those of watching you get all excited and then you give us this little half grin with a look like “yeah, I’m good.”

The last month has been a big one…  you had your Christening, we celebrated your first Christmas and we took you on your first roadtrip. You slept through the Christening, even when Uncle Father Charlie poured the water on your head. You  went on a nap strike and thus cried a lot (for you, anyway) during Christmas.  While your grandparents and family were downstairs eating, you and Mommy and Daddy were upstairs rocking, ssshhhing and bouncing.  But, you did pretty good on our trip to Washington D.C. for the bowl game.  You got to meet your cousins, including one who is only a couple days older than you.  You two were eyeing each other up – I think you trying to figure the whole thing out.  Probably by the next time you see her you’ll both be running around and we’ll be telling you to play nice and do crazy things like share your toys. 

You are really starting to be fun, baby girl.  You have a personality that shows when you stick out your lower lip if you don’t like something – giving us about a four-second window to change whatever we’re doing before your pout becomes a whine and another six seconds before that becomes a cry.  Your cries have gotten louder and are still heartbreaking, but the good news is that you laugh now too.  Ah… your laughs.  They are maybe the best thing ever.  We’re not always sure what’s going to make you grace us with a giggle, but once we find it, we don’t stop.  You giggle and we giggle and then you giggle some more. 

I love spending time with you.  I hope you know that.  I live for the weekends when I can pull you into bed with me after Daddy gets up to run and we can snuggle.  Because that moment, the one where you put your little hand on my chest or wrap your hand around mine, give a big sigh and drift off into contented sleep… that moment right there is what I live for. 

I love you sweetheart. 
Mommy

2-Month Letter

Hi Pretty Girl!

Oh, my darlin’, where has the time gone?  You are two months old today and already you are changing so much.  You’ve gotten so much bigger – gone are the days that you fit snuggly on my chest or could lay in Daddy’s lap.  You’ve shed your newborn look, packed on inches and pounds and grew out of clothes that you didn’t even get a chance to wear. 

You’ve learned all kinds of new tricks.  You’re holding your head up, almost all the time.  You can successfully put your hand in your mouth – although you don’t know what to do with it once it’s there.  And, I think that you’re thinking about rolling over.  It’s so cute to watch you throw your legs over to your left side and then your eyes get all big and you look at me as if to say “Uh oh, Mommy.  Now what?”  So, I roll you the rest of the way and you’re not really sure if you like it on your tummy.  But when we roll you back and clap about what a big girl you are, you grin and make noises. 

In the past month, Mommy had to go back to work and while I hate leaving you in the morning, the best feeling in the world has been coming home to see you.  I love it when I can come home at lunch time and give you a bottle or snuggle on the couch with you. 

Speaking of snuggling.  That has to be the absolute best part about being your Mommy.  I love to cuddle up with you in our bed on weekend mornings or on the couch in the afternoons.  You get all comfy and cozy and drift off and then I usually fall asleep soon after you.  Nine times out of ten, you don’t wake up until I wake you.  I’m probably spoiling you, but too bad.  This is one of those things that in a few more months you’ll want nothing to do with, so I’m soaking them in while I can. 

Some days my heart swells with pride over the things you do and the way you’re growing and others it breaks a little because you’re changing so fast.  Your daddy and I love you so much, sweetheart.  You’re the best thing that ever happened us. 

Happy 2-Month Birthday!
Love,
Mommy

One Month Letter

Hi Baby Girl

You are one month old today! (OK yesterday… you should know by now that Mommy is not always exactly on time.) And already you are changing SO much that it makes me sad sometimes. There were days when we first brought you home from the hospital that I found myself wishing out loud that you could talk and tell me what you needed or wanted because I just didn’t know what to do for you. But I don’t want to wish your life away. I’m trying to find ways to savor these moments with you while you’re still small enough to curl up on my chest and take naps, watching you give us little smiles, listening to you start to coo and make little baby noises that just melt my heart.

This last month with you has been wonderful in ways I could never have imagined. We received so many cards and gifts from people who are are so happy for us because of you. Do you understand yet how important it is to have people looking out for you? Maybe people that you don’t know all that well or people you don’t see every day, but people that care about you just the same. That’s one advantage to living in a small town, I suppose.

You’ve made such a difference in the lives of your daddy and I. For me, you’ve challenged me in a new and amazing way. Before you arrived I was feeling pretty confident that there wasn’t much I couldn’t handle. At work, I’ve finally got my stuff together and know how to handle most of the fires that are thrown at me… but with you… you take some figuring out and you made me realize that no matter what happens within my office walls, what’s really important is that you are healthy, safe and happy. That’s my new purpose in life. For Daddy, (besides being the new girl in his life that he’s head over heels in love with) you have been a much needed ray of sunshine during a sort of bad football season. Having you to come home to took the sting out of bad days at practice and games that didn’t end in our favor.

Some days I can’t believe it’s already been a month and other days I feel like you’ve been a part of our lives forever. I’m going to try to write you one of these letters every month and talk more about you… what you’re doing, how you’re changing, etc. We are also going to try to get a picture of you each month with Mr. Bear so we can see how much bigger you’re getting. Maybe someday you’ll like reading them and learning what was going on around you during your first year or so of life!

We love you, sweetheart!

Week 1 Letter

Dear Baby Girl:

A week ago today I was still trying to coax you out of my belly by going for long walks, eating everything thought to induce labor and bribing you with expensive gifts. You, my dear, clearly thought that your 9/23 due date was just a suggestion and you weren’t much interested in coming on your own. So on 9/30 we checked into the hospital where the doctor hooked Mommy up to some medicine to force you out. I thought we would be there for quite a while, but I guess once you knew you had to come out – you decided just to get it over with and at 3:33 that afternoon you were born.

And since then you have completely changed our lives. You’ve completed our lives. Daddy and I often talk about how we didn’t know what we were missing until you made us a family. You are loved by so many people – you have grandparents that are completely hooked on you, aunts and uncles that think you’re the best thing ever, and lots of friends who are dying to meet you. We’ve been able to introduce you to many of them already, but there are still quite a few to come.

In the week that you’ve been here, Mommy has learned quite a bit about you.
– You like to suck on your hands. At least I think you’d like to if you could figure out how to get them in your mouth. Most of the time you just slap or scratch yourself in the face, but occasionally you get the hand in the mouth and then you really go to town.

– You’re going to be a good eater. At the hospital you scared us because you weren’t really interested in eating, but now that we’re home, you’re eating ALL. THE. TIME.

– You have your Daddy completely whipped. He hates it when you cry and would give you his heart if it would make you stop. When we go for doctor visits and they’re poking and prodding you and really making you mad, sometimes I think Daddy is just going to pick you up and tell them to stop.

– You’re a pretty good sleeper right now. Especially at night and early in the morning. Afternoons and evenings you get a little fussy, but for the past two nights, you’ve pretty much slept through the night.

– You are going to be a stylin‘ baby. So many people have given us great gifts for you. Once you’re big enough to wear them, I can’t wait to put you in the super cute pink outfits that we’ve gotten.

Munchkin, we are so happy that you’re here. We love you so much.

Week 40 Letter

Hi sweetheart!

I think that this will probably be my last letter to you before you’re delivered. You’re scheduled birthday is tomorrow, although so far, I don’t see that happening. While I’m starting to see some really tiny signs of labor, I think you’re pretty content where you’re at. But soon my dear you will be joining your daddy and I in this great big world.

We can’t wait for you to come. In fact just this morning, Daddy reminded me to write a letter to you to tell you how excited we were to hold you. And he’s right. We are so excited to meet you and hug you tight and cover your little face with kisses. For so long all we’ve heard from you is your heartbeat and the only moves we’ve seen you make have been through my belly. We can’t wait until you’re here with us – even if that means you’re crying your head off and flailing your arms around.

Over the past couple of weeks people have been telling us how much you’re going to change our lives. And while I think that you already did, I know that it’s only going to get better. We’ll be able to see the world through your eyes when you’re 1 and learning how to walk and when you’re 3 and asking all kinds of “why” questions and when you go to school and start making friends and when we take you to new places and show you new things.

It’s going to be so exciting to watch you grow up. I wonder if you will be just like your dad or if your personality will be the mirror image of mine or if you’ll be the perfect combination of both of us. I wonder if you’ll beg to go to the farm and see the animals or if you’ll turn your nose up at the smell and if you’ll like to read or would prefer to be outside playing. Will you be athletic and smart or Miss/Mr. Popularity and creative? Oh, the things we have to learn about you!

It’s almost time for us to meet you, Munchkin, and we couldn’t be more excited!

We love you!

Week 38 Letter

Munchkin,

There are many ways I would like for you to take after your father. I hope you get his smile and the mischievous look in his eyes when he has a surprise or is up to something, hopefully you’ll get his athleticism and his determination to succeed, and if you’re lucky enough to get his poise and calmness under pressure you’ll be just about set. But could you please, please try to leave his stubborn procrastination out? I’m sure you’ll hear this story 100 times before you turn five, but he made me wait a LONG time to get married. And while it was all worth waiting for, it was a little annoying too. So when the doctor tells me that things are not progressing for the birth of you at all yet, it makes me think that you’re going trying to imitate your dad and show me that we’ll do things on your time schedule.

I am super happy that your heart beat has seemed to have found a normal rhythm. I don’t think the doctor has heard any irregularities for a couple of weeks now, so that’s really good news. But it’s really time for you to start working on entering the world too. Otherwise the doctor is going to start throwing words at me like induction and schedule and I don’t want to do that. I want you to come when you’re ready, but darlin’ that’s gotta be soon.

It won’t be so bad here, I promise. We have a nice bedroom all ready for you, all sorts of gadgets and baby products, and a whole bunch of family and friends that want to meet you. I know you’ve gotten all cozy in there over the last 38 weeks and while some days I like keeping you all to myself and being the only one that knows when you’re asleep and when you’re wiggling around, I promise, life on the outside is much better. We’ve got play dates all lined up for you, holidays where you will get to be the center of attention and a week with your grandparents while Mommy & Daddy go to Mexico in May. Sound enticing???

We have a week and one day until our next doctor appointment, so let’s see if we can’t start causing some kind of progress so we can hold off the induction talk, OK?

Thanks, Munchkin. I love you!

Dear Munchkin,

We have another doctor’s appointment tomorrow and two things will make Mommy very happy. First of all if you’re heartbeat is all nice and rhythmic again and secondly if you’ve done as I asked and started to plan your departure from my belly.

According to my boss I can’t expect people to do things if I don’t make their goals and objectives very clear, so I wanted to be sure you understood what was expected of you tomorrow. If you have yet to accomplish these goals you still have about 18 hours to work on it. I expect big things of you tomorrow! Okay?

Thanks baby.
Love,
Mommy

36 Week Letter

Hi baby!

You made a lot of people happy this week when the doctor couldn’t hear an irregularity in your heartbeat! Good work! We’re all very glad that you got that worked out before you were born and that it didn’t take any kind of medical intervening – you did it all by yourself! Daddy said to tell you that if you pull that kind of stunt again you’ll be grounded for five years – the years between ages 13 and 18! So, since those are vital years to your social life, let’s just keep the heart beating in perfect rhythm, OK?

You’re still moving around a good bit. In fact a few night ago, Daddy felt you rolling around in there and it sort of freaked him out! He’s used to just feeling your hiccups, kicks or thumps, so when you actually pushed up against his hand, he didn’t know what to do. I wish you could have seen the look on his face. The belly laughs from Mommy probably kept you up for a while after that. Sorry, but it was pretty funny.

We’re getting pretty close to you due date but we still have some things to do before you arrive. You need to work on developing your lungs a little bit and getting a little bigger. Mommy has some work stuff to take care of, some cleaning to do and a few things left to buy for you. But really, if you decided to come tomorrow, we’d make it work with what we already have. We had a couple of baby showers in the last couple of weeks and lots of really nice people got us lots of really cool stuff for you. You have a car seat to ride home in, a place to sleep once you get home, some outfits to wear, bottles to feed you and diapers to… well, we know what the diapers do.

We need to talk about your arrival little one. At our appointment this week, the doctor told Mommy that you may know where the door is, but you’re not even knocking on it. That’s OK for now, but you might want to start working on your exit plan. Your lease is just about up! I know it’s warm and comfy in there but we want to meet you and Mommy really wants to be able to see her toes again sometime this year, so start thinking about packing it up and moving out. OK?

We love you!

PS. If you could remove your foot from my rib cage for the duration of your stay, that would be greatly appreciated as well.