Dear Olivia

I think I may have blinked.

I didn’t listen when they told me not to.

Somehow you are ten now and I’m not sure I’m ready for this.

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I finally figured out how to be a mommy to little’s. I know what to do when my baby or toddler cries. And what to do when they need a nap. I understand what it means to lose a favorite toy and what must be done to retrieve it. I’ve learned to be calm(er) when nothing I do seems to make it better. I breathe more often. I know how to pray for the little years, for protection and perseverance and to give thanks for the chaos. I’ve grown into this mothering-of-little-people and it fits quite well.

But this. I don’t know quite as well.

I was watching you as you ate your birthday dinner. I had to look twice because I wasn’t sure I was seeing the same girl. This one looked so grown up. So very pretty and mature. It makes this Mama’s heart quiver just a bit.

I remembered back to when I was 10. I remember being in 4th grade. I remember curling my bangs every morning and using way too much hairspray. I remember playing on the play ground at school and flipping my cocky ponytail around. I remember the layered socks I wore and how I had to scrunch them down just right. I remember making fun of my best friend because I thought it would make this boy I liked like me. I remember her face. I remember mine and how I promised myself I would never do that again. I remember going to a different church. And listening to the Bible preached for the first time. I remember all the notes I took and how I couldn’t wait to tithe my money. I was so proud of myself and told all my friends. I remember reading my Bible for the first time and understanding that it was written for me. I felt the weight of it all and it would make me cry. I remember missing my friends when we started to homeschool. I remember playing house with my dolls and wishing so much to be a mommy. I would even put a blanket under my shirt and pretend to be pregnant. It was all I ever really wanted out of life.

And you, my girl, made me just that. A mommy. So thanks!

When they told me you were a girl I was so happy. I wanted a girl. But it made me a little scared too. Raising a girl takes so much. It’s such an important job. And I wasn’t sure I had what it takes. Part of growing up as a mother, means realizing you never will have all that it takes. That’s the scary part I think. Knowing that we are just stewards of our children, that God is the real parent and the results of our parenting rests assuredly in His hands. These things may not make sense to you right now. But one day, when you are on the phone with me, crying because your baby wont sleep, or because he just hit you for the first time, or you’re afraid you are losing him or her, you will remember these words and it will all make sense to you then.

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I tease you all the time and tell you that “Mommy knows everything!” And sometimes I do know more than you think I do. =)

But really, sweetie, most days I still feel like that 10 year old girl and I’m playing house. But this time it’s for real and it makes me pray all the harder.

It’s a funny thing, this growing up. Your body gets bigger and goes through so many changes, but your inside stays the same for so much longer. I still get nervous and scared about things. I get my feelings hurt too. I wish I could have my own box of cereal and read all day. I want to swing on the playground and play with my friends. And I still use too much hairspray. I wonder if I’m pretty and if people will like me. I still feel peer pressure and make unwise choices. I cry. I want to talk for no reason about absolutely nothing and that makes me feel better somehow. I want to be wanted.

Do you ever feel those things? Do you ever wonder if you are enough, if you belong, if you are loved? Do you want others to like you and think you are special? Do you want to feel important and needed? Yes?? Oh, good. That means you are a normal girl. =)

You will feel a lot of things. Sometimes in the span of just a couple of minutes. It’s how God created us and it’s a normal part of growing up. And this Mama, she understands. Because I think I’m still growing up too.

God understands these moments too. He understands our wonderings if we are enough and He’s not afraid to answer them. He tells us in Isaiah 55:

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“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you.”

God invites us to a Tea Party of sorts. He has everything there all pretty and scrumptious and waiting. We must simply come. Come with our nothing. Come to Him when we are thirsty. Thirsty for recognition and approval. We must come to Him when we are hungry for friendship and love and the things that do not satisfy. We must not waste or ‘money’, our time and effort and desires, on the things that will only leave us empty. We must come to Him and ‘eat’ from Him, for He only has good things to give us that will make our very souls delight in.

So often we settle for the crumbs on the floor. We sit under the table and hide. From Him and all that is good. To be a strong woman of God, you must trust in His goodness. That means opening your heart to Him and drinking deeply. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” We must. Because only then will we not settle and will want for nothing.

Take it from this grown-up-girl. There will always be so much that we will not have, whether it’s material things, emotional, relational or otherwise. This is a broken world we live in. One that does not offer complete satisfaction. Only God can offer that. And you can have it.

These are my words for this tenth year… and every year. You are never too young to learn this vital truth.

I can’t believe I am a Mama to a 10 year old! I am so glad it’s you. Happy Birthday. I love you.

Love,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Your Mama

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