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Dear Abby,

You turned four months old yesterday. Four beautiful months have flown by. Other than the two weeks at the end of May when I returned to work, each day has been spent nursing, getting to know one another, laughing, crying, nursing some more, napping, not napping, nursing again, finding our harmony in the ebb and flow of short days and long nights.

Tomorrow I return to work, and I miss you already.

I am becoming brave. Facing fears. You are growing big. Becoming a smiling, screeching little girl. (Yes, in the past week you have found your voice and your crescendos of “talking” sound very much like a baby pterodactyle has taken up residence in our home.) IMG_0020

While I know that you will play and laugh all day without me, my heart will break this week and every week after. Probably for the rest of my life. There will always be a little of letting go in our relationship, as you fulfill your destiny and I bravely parent the miracle that you are.

Perhaps this realization will help me to trust God with your future. I have been holding on so tightly, but in the late hours of one evening this past week I found myself on my knees once again surrendering you to your Heavenly Father. I can’t imagine losing you, and that fear has kept me from dedicating your days to a future I can’t control. IMG_2810

Your beauty astounds me. You have long, dark eyelashes and olive-tinted skin so much like your daddy. Yet, it looks like you may have my blue eyes and reddish-tinted hair. You are now in the 52nd percentile for height at 24.5 inches and in the 17th percentile for weight at 12.5 pounds. You certainly don’t ever miss a meal. IMG_2825

Lately, you have figured out how to charm your way into our bed, and you sleep much longer and more deeply when you are cuddled between your parents. As I will soon spend many of your waking hours at work, I haven’t fought this new habit, but rather cherished the moments of watching you drift off to sleep with one hand stretched out toward me. This morning, you woke up screeching/cooing in delight, and we spent many minutes kissing and talking and making the bed together. Sacred minutes. IMG_2857

IMG_2858Your mommy is learning to find her value in things other than productivity and routine. In things other than household chores and exercise. Yesterday, my one goal was to snuggle you after you had vaccines. We spent hours in bed together. I’ve started to see a professional counselor to deal with postpartum depression and associated issues from my past that are now rearing their ugly heads. I don’t have the emotional or physical energy to deal with these issues on my own and am choosing to admit my weakness. In doing so, I’m finding strength. Strength to bravely face a host of unknown tomorrows. Strength to make one goal each day that I can successfully accomplish by the time darkness sets in. Strength to combat childhood lies with God’s truth. Strength to make a new mantra: “I am not a failure. I am not a failure. I am not a failure.” Even my to-do lists look radically different, and I often only wash my hair once or twice a week. Thank goodness for ponytails and dry shampoo and sleepy eyes that don’t look in the mirror much anyway.

Our family is not a failure. We may be living in a home not our own. We may be living on a budget that doesn’t really exist right now. We may be pulled in every which direction. But, we are not a failure. We are a precious trio that together will do great things. We can live in a state of amazing grace even now. Even today. Even tomorrow.

I’m waiting on the supernatural. God will use us and surprise us and change us. Perhaps in a mighty leap of change or perhaps in the working out of mundane life.

Either way, you are a gift. A life-changing, heart-altering gift. Four months ago we met and fell in love. For the rest of your life I choose to greet you with the same awe I felt that day. I felt this morning in your laughter. I feel right now while you nap. I will feel tomorrow when I pack my lunch, make your bottles, and leave for work. Heart-stopping, tear-jerking awe.

God is good.

God is good even when everything is stripped away, and my soul is laid bare. Even when I am confronted with my frailty and selfishness. Even when you fuss all day or are awake at night. Even when I can’t muster the energy to make love or even make dinner. God is good in those moments. In the moments when I am a living sacrifice. Holy. Blameless. Because of Him.

I can’t imagine there being enough of me to go around this year. Between rocking and nursing, I am poured out as it is. However, I must believe that there is more grace for tomorrow. A larger portion of power. The words of Ephesians 3 ring in my head: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that you could ask or think, to Him be the glory in Christ Jesus.” Never more has our family needed this promise. IMG_0040

To my dear friends, I ask for your patience and grace in the coming months. I may not return your texts or phone calls. I may not have time for coffee dates even though I’m chugging cup after cup in the morning. I may not have time to write my usual birthday, thank-you, and I-love-you notes. Please forgive me.

To my fellow bloggers, I imagine that my posts will be more rare, as I return to teaching and spend as many of my “free” hours reveling in my family. Playing with Abby. Taking walks with David. Redefining what it means to be married and be working and be parenting. I will update when possible, but I’m letting the responsibility and joy of my writing go for a season to focus on what is most pressing. Mothering. Teaching. Fulfilling my role as birth doula for expecting couples.

To my fellow mommies, please be honest with yourself. Although I’m not sharing details here right now, I’m admitting my struggle with postpartum depression and deeply rooted lies about my person and my purpose. I’m letting those close to me know, so they can keep me accountable. And, I’m swallowing my pride and opening my heart to a professional counselor. I’m becoming brave.

To my dear daughter, I can’t imagine how much you are about to grow and change. Already we are considering introducing “real foods” and thinking about how life will be altered once again when you finally achieve the mobility that you desperately crave. By the end of this school year, your fuzzy baby hair will have turned curly and your coos will have turned to babbled words. I’m ready to experience each change with you. I will be here no matter what. I will hold your hands and rub your forehead as you fall asleep. I will pray over you and for you and with you. I will laugh at the little things that hold your attention and open my eyes to the big things that really matter. IMG_2864

This is my four-month-birthday commitment. This is my confession as a mom. This is me being brave.

~Lauren a Wife, Mama, Teacher, Doula, Daughter, Friend, Sister….A Brave Woman~

And a few more photos because you are just that adorable (and I don’t have the time or energy or motivation to update a baby book)… IMG_2890IMG_0041IMG_0052IMG_0055IMG_0079

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