Lydia, I can’t believe you are four today. I know I’ve said that every year, but every year it’s true. Four seems like a new chapter, one I can’t wait to open with you. Lydia, you are compassionate, inquisitive, sensitive and full of joy.
A couple months ago I was mopping in the kitchen. You came to me distraught, begging me not to clean underneath your blue table because there was a family of ants living there and you didn’t want me to hurt them. I smiled so big at your compassionate heart, but later I did have to relocate the ant family back outdoors. Lydi, I pray you always care for the forgotten, the small and the overlooked. Seek those people out for they have something special to share with the world and with you. And they often make the very best friends.
You are always asking questions, a million questions a day it feels like. (Confession: sometimes in the car I have to tell you we are going to have some music time because I can’t keep up with all your questions.) But I love your questions. I love the way you discover the world and how you ask me what certain words mean. I love how you want to know what everything says. I can’t wait to see your face when you read a paragraph for the first time because I imagine fireworks going off inside your head. You love books, just like your momma and daddy, and when we come to check on you before we go to bed we always find surrounded by books. You will “read” stories you’ve memorized to your babies and animals in bed by the light of the stars sprinkling your ceiling until at last you fall asleep sprawled out across your covers. Don’t ever stop asking questions (except when Momma and Daddy tell you we need a little quiet time in the car.) Read everything you can get your hands on. Read biographies and fiction, cookbooks and news, bestsellers and indie books. Read authors who disagree with you. Read authors who lived in a different time than you. Every single person has a story. You have a story too. And every story is a part of God’s Big Story.
This past winter we were watching the Olympics, and they featured the story of an Olympian who was also a mom. She had left the world of competition after the last Olympics but then suffered a miscarriage that made her rethink her leaving. As she talked about her miscarriage, she started crying. You were snuggled up beside me on the couch, and you asked why she was crying. I told you she had a baby in heaven just like we have two babies in heaven. You asked me what our babies’ names were, and I told you we never named our babies, but we thought the first baby was a girl and the second baby was a boy. You got quiet for a few minutes and then said, “Momma, can I name the babies?” I said yes, and you thought for another couple minutes and said, “Hannah and Hampton, that’s what I want to name our babies.” The Hannah was a surprise because you had never mentioned anyone named Hannah before. Hampton I knew came because you love Hampton Bruce and his mom and dad. I shared the story with Hampton’s mom Heather and she said maybe you were on to something because Hampton means “home.” Then I looked up Hannah and it means “grace.” Though God took our babies to their eternal home, He showed us much grace during that season, grace that has made me parent you and your sister differently than I would have otherwise. Of course, I want to protect you from pain. My heart shatters at the thought of your heart broken. But I know pain is a part of this world, and I know firsthand God can reveal Himself to You in a special way when you go through pain. Don’t shy away from loving people because your heart might get broken. Loving people is messy stuff, but it’s the only thing worth doing.
Your sensitive spirit allows you to sense when others are hurting. There were a handful of days this past year that you came up to me out of the blue, wrapped your arms around me and whispered in my ear, “I miss EEOO too.” I cried every time because I couldn’t figure out how you knew when my heart was heavy. But really I do know. Your sensitivity is a gift from God. I pray you will use that gift to look out for those hurting. I pray you will use your words to encourage others and let them know they aren’t alone.
Lydia, maybe more than anything else about you, what I love most is your joy. You make a declaration almost every day that, “This is the BEST DAY EVER!” In your world, every day gets a little more fun. You squeal when we pull into our cul-de-sac and you see new lilies opening up. You jump up and down when you hear the garage door opening and Daddy is home. And I’ll never forget your reaction when Daddy brought you and Charlotte into the ultrasound room and you saw your new baby on the screen. You see the gifts all around you, and I know God must smile when He sees you enjoy them. Because I certainly do. Treasure those gifts, Lydia, those small moments, those little things. Gratitude and contentment will fill you with so much joy.
Lydia, we have big adventures awaiting us this year–our first year of homeschooling, a new baby, sharing a room with Sissy. Our anthem for this year is, “We can do hard things.” We can and we will do hard things, Lydia. We will make lots of mistakes, we will have bad days, and we will want to give up. But we won’t. For in doing hard things, we get to see God do what only He can. And that’s where the real adventure awaits.
I love you, Lydia Marie. These four years have been incredibly special, but I know the best is yet to come. To the moon and back…and back again.