Dear Debbie Joy,
Last Sunday morning, we met your precious little sister, Gabby Jane. Perhaps it’s a bit of a surprise that the first letter I’m writing after her birth is to you, not to her. But as I launch into the journey of parenting another little human, I realize how much you’ve given me. You made me a mother. Your birth broke open my heart to love, hope for, and grieve this world more than I ever thought I could. Moreover, before your birth, my biggest fear was that my child wouldn’t love me. Once you were born I realized that worry was silly; my love for you was enough to hold us both long before you first uttered that sweet sentence, “I love you.”
In the months leading up to Gabby’s birth, you became obsessed with babies. You carry your baby doll everywhere—to church, to the grocery store, in the car. When we’re home, you bring her to me and request, “Cozy?” That’s my cue to swaddle her in one of your old flannel blankets. You gently rock her to sleep and then place her in bed. You cook baked beans for her in your play kitchen while carrying her adroitly on your hip. You softly stroke her head and murmur, “Sweet baby, sweet baby, I love you.”
I wasn’t sure what to make of all this until your daddy told me, “What she wants most is just to be you.” I tried to deny it, but I realized there’s no mistaking the resemblance between the phrases of comfort and affirmation you offer her and those I give to you, and between your busy multitasking of holding your baby and doing your “chores” and my constant balancing act of motherhood. In your playful mimicking of my behavior, I see something that I never expected to see or believe: For all my faults, for all the times I’ve failed, I am a good mother.
This knowledge changes everything as I become a mother to baby Gabby. Though I know we’ll face many struggles as we go from one child to two, both under the age of two, I know this time that, through God’s grace, I can become the mother God has called me to be.
Watching you become an older sister this week has been one of the greatest joys I’ve known as a mother. You showed your nurturing nature yet again as you met your sister, declaring, “My baby! Us hug.” While some of your “pats,” “hugs,” and “kisses” may be a little rougher than I’d like, the tenderness you hold for her is obvious. Gabby will grow up looking to you as an example of strength, courage, and compassion.
Thank you for turning me into a mother. And always remember, though you are currently more than three times the size of your sister, you will always be a baby of mine.