Dear Olivia

So it’s your birthday.

And you are now eight!

How did eight years disappear that fast?? They flew by in a flash. And now you are becoming a young woman. And a beautiful one at that.

I remember the moment I knew you were in my belly. I couldn’t button my shorts and I felt all jittery inside. I knew something must be happening. So I told your daddy that we should take a test together to see if what I was feeling was really a baby or me just being silly.

my shorts I couldn’t button!

We waited until the next morning, because that is when they tell you is the best time to take a test. Well, at least this kind of a test.

I was still so jittery and a bit nervous. What if there really WAS a baby inside? This had never happened before and I had prayed so hard that it would. This would make me a… Mother.

Was I ready for that?

I waited until Daddy came back from the bathroom. He wanted to see first. He just gave me a smile and a nod. It was real!! There was really a baby.

And that baby was YOU, my sweet girl. It was fun having a baby in my tummy for the first time. It was all I could think about. Every moment of my day, you were in my thoughts.

It was fun telling your grandparents too. We found out the day before Mother’s Day and so we were able to surprise both Nana and Baba in a special, fun way. They were so excited.

telling Baba

It was fun buying baby things and thinking about having a baby… what would it be like?

I couldn’t wait for everyone to know you were in my belly. I was surprised at how long it took for you to start poking out! And was so proud when you did!

you were 6 months old

It was so fun being pregnant with my sweet friend… we would have our girls together!

And then the end came near. It was Dadada’s birthday and I came over to his house to make his birthday dinner. I was heavy and big and shuffled around the kitchen that night. We knew it would be soon.

The next morning I woke up to a different kind of twinge. I called Daddy who was at work and told him that this might be it! And the funny part? It was Lu-Lu’s birthday! We thought for sure you would be her special birthday present!

Who says you can’t eat while in labor! Eating my main crave – cereal!

But no, you wanted your very own birthday. It was a long day and night of waiting but finally you came. You were born the next morning at 4:43am weighing in at 6.15 and were 19 inches long. And I finally got to hold you for the first time.

You were so pink and beautiful, just as a girl should be. And all we could do was stare at you. We knew we would call you Olivia, it was such a beautiful name, we thought. Why wouldn’t a beautiful girl be called by such a beautiful name. Rose was your next name, in honor of your great-grandfather (his mama’s name) whom you would never meet here on this earth.

After a few days, we brought you home. We were so ready after having to leave you alone in the hospital for a night. It broke my heart to drive away without you in the car with me that first time. I cried all the way home and didn’t sleep like they told me too. How could I, not having you safe in my arms to nurse and protect. It was the longest night of my life. We got up first thing in the morning and drove to the hospital to see you. You were still so pink and little and you were mine. It didn’t matter what they said, I would never leave you again.

And I didn’t.

When we arrived home, we didn’t quite know what to do with this sweet little bundle. So we just stared some more.

How could we not. You were just so beautiful.

Then we couldn’t believe how fast you grew!

You grew…

And you grew…

And you grew…

And you loved your fingers.

And you learned to say “Bye-Bye”.

And you loved food and got so mad when you couldn’t reach it!

And you wore us out with your never ending energy!

But it didn’t matter. Cause we loved you and you were ours and what a joy you were.

And then you were 1! And yes, it happened that fast.

Organic, sugarless cake – because you were the first!

And you did it so well.

And you didn’t know it then, but you got a very special birthday present… a brother.

And oh how you loved him!

Then we were to quickly learn that there wasn’t much you were afraid of. Even kissing lizards!

Or airplanes, or doggies, roads, or strangers, not even Mommy or Daddy! And we knew that God was going to make you into a strong woman someday. And it was our job, we were finding, to help you channel your strengths and weaknesses. We had so much to learn… (and still do)

You are so vibrant and full of life! So strong and determined. And you have taught this young Mama so much.

And you still are, teaching me that is. Everyday. Like how to let go of control. To trust God with the unseen. To love no matter what. To pray. And that parenting isn’t a formula. It’s a day by day adventure that is often messy, full of mess-ups, but even more full of the grace of God.

We are learning that together, aren’t we?

I love that you are now 8! I loved it when you were a baby, then a toddler, then pre-schooler, kindergartner, and 1st grader… I loved it all! But I love you more and more each day, so I can say I love you the best today. And I will love you even more tomorrow.

I love that you are 8 because of the relationship we have now. Instead of just crying and throwing a tantrum, you are now able to tell me what’s wrong. I love that you tell me, that we talk. That you ask if we can have another one of those ‘feelings talks’. I LOVE it when we curl up together on the couch or on my bed or your bed and we talk together, laugh together, cry together and pray together.

I love it when we watch Avonlea’s together. When we read together. When we go to the coffee house, just the two of us. I love watching you dance and sing and do plays. And when you play waitress and when you help me cook in the kitchen. I love watching you play house with your brothers. I love watching you care for them and for me and for your daddy.

Levi practicing his photography skills, hence the blur!

I love watching you learn to work at Kooky Mooky’s with Baba and Dadada. You are becoming such a hard worker and you are so good at working with people. I knew you would be when you were just a baby, when we would walk through Wal-Mart and you would wave at everyone who walked by.

Your new friends you had just met at Uncle Gary’s and Aunt Jillian’s. You had a picnic with them. You brought your Bible and fruit, so you could have a healthy meal and read to them about Job, your favorite book of the Bible.

You have taught me how to see people too, Olivia. You have taught me that I don’t have to hurry through the store or through life. We can stop and notice those around us. That we can push hard to have compassion, to see their hurt and to show concern.

God has given you are heart of deep compassion and mercy. You pray for Haiti and Japan after the earthquakes. You want to meet the missionaries who live there and help the people. You ask when you can go and help them. You pray for the orphanage in Ukraine and you ask about the children who live there. Do they have parents? Why not? Do they have food and beds like we do? Are they happy, are they sad? Because you care. And it makes me care.

And then you ask me when you can join the circus and be a circus girl! And what do I say to that? You already are a circus girl… because life is like a circus!?

Thank you for loving me, Olivia. For teaching your Mama so much. For having patience with me and extending me grace and forgiveness the countless times I get it wrong. Thank you for being mine. My girl. My only girl. God must have thought you pretty special when He chose you to be the only girl in this family of boys!

He has much to teach you. Much to show you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life, even now. He is already using you, sweet girl. Be patient during this time of preparation. Because, remember, He is always preparing us for something. And you are no exception. Can you trust Him, even though you don’t always understand?

Mom and Dad are here to help you, to hold your hand through this life. To encourage you and be your cheerleader. Because life is hard, we know. So please, come to us when you feel sad. Come to us when you don’t understand. Come to us when you are stinky and rotten… because we will always love you anyway.

Why? Because you are ours. And that is how God loves us. Not matter what, no matter when… because we are His.

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl. Your Mama loves you to pieces… every single piece.

Your Mama

3 thoughts on “Dear Olivia

  1. i remember showing up at the hospital right after you had given birth to sweet olivia. hunter and i had just started dating. she was so tiny and SO beautiful.

    i was afraid to hold her because i was just “being accepted” into the family and didn't want to push the limits, or, for heaven's sakes, drop her!!

    happy birthday sweet olivia. as your aunt amy, i can't imagine a better neice!

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