To My One-Year-Old

Dear Amelia,

Happy first birthday, sweet love! It’s been a precious, soul-filling, challenging, emotional, reflective, and joyful year with you.

Your dad and I prayed for you for a long time. There’s a reason we tell you that you’re a joy, a delight, and a dream come true. One day you’ll hear more about that.

I’ve thought back to the night you were born so often in this past year. In the first few weeks, especially, I’d replay the hours room by room: the first painful contraction on the couch, clutching the pillow in the car at 2:30am, the weak first push and the emotional swell that slowly caught up to the physical relief when they placed you in my arms. One day you’ll hear more about that.

The first night at home, we felt clueless and nervous. I think we may have under-dressed you. For the next month, you practically lived in the striped hospital hat because that was not a mistake we wanted to make again. 

In those early months, the desire to do everything right by you was intense. I think I assumed there was always a right answer—How do I make naps less traumatic? Do I unswaddle you entirely or one arm at a time? In what order do I nurse and change your diaper in the middle of the night so you stay awake but also have time to poop? So many questions.

It took time to know you (we still are), but learning this new dimension of myself as a mother has been a process, too. Beyond the sudden bouts of tears for reasons I couldn’t name, I felt that God took a chisel to the self-sufficient and self-centered parts of me and got to work. (He still is.) It became apparent that I could not control or manipulate you according to my intentions and that I needed a lot more grace than I thought I did. Some days I felt the weight of constant responsibility, and the world from our living room seemed so small. Some days I loved that. The Lord gently and kindly led me through this transition, revealing and refining my own heart while equipping me to nurture yours. One day you’ll hear more about that. 

You came back to work with me at 2.5 months old. This was a tough decision, but ultimately I sensed the Lord had good work for me to do both in our home as your mama and in ministry as a writer. Then when you were six months old, the pace of the world slowed as we took a collective inhale, bracing for the coronavirus pandemic’s effects while not fully understanding them at all. One day you’ll hear more about that.

But it was in those subsequent, uncertain, culturally tumultuous months that we settled in as a family—you, Dad, and me. We took lots of walks on the gravel lane and to see the neighbor’s cows. You began playing with us, covering and uncovering your beaming face with the nearest blanket or towel, giggling and crawling away while looking over your shoulder to see if we would come after you. We always would. You slept nearly the whole way to Florida to sit in the ocean and eat sand. You discovered Mexican food and the dog bowls and what it means to kiss. At your fussiest, I’d buckle you into the carrier, give you a measuring spoon or some other kitchen utensil, and walk you through dinner prep, or else vacuum the hard floor. That usually seemed to work.

We’re getting glimpses of the girl God made you to be. You’re curious—studious, even—and not afraid to get messy. You love being outside but seem overwhelmed by loud noises. You love meeting new dogs but are wary of new people. Your spirit is gentle and playful and receptive. There is so much to love about you and so much more to love that has yet to be displayed. 

Our deepest desire is that you come to know the fullness of God’s love, that you’d be a girl after His heart. We continually ask Him for the grace and wisdom to lead you toward Him. He is worth everything. We pray one day you’ll know all about that. 

Happy birthday, Millie girl.

All our love,
Mama and Papa

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