Monday, April 29, 2013

A Letter To My Two-Year Old

Dearest Diana,

They’ve rushed by us like the wind, haven’t they? These past two years, towering behind us. I’ve tried to stand in the center of it all, directly in the bullseye of experience, to feel that wind swirl around me, to lift my face and let it carry me high. 


You are a wonder. Have I told you that lately? I hope so. I hope that I tell you every day, beginning now, until I am gray and you are carrying your own child on your hip. I love the way your curls fall across your forehead. They are an exclamation point, they punctuate every emotion, I am won over before you even begin. I love when you reach for my hand when we walk up the stairs. You are always careful about choosing a finger. Some days your prefer the index finger. Lately you have wanted my ring finger, usually on my left hand. Maybe, even that, is God’s redemption. Do you know that finger carries significance for me, that I used to wear a diamond ring there?

When you were born, I thought I might overflow so completely that there would be nothing of me left. I mean really, I just spilled out. It didn’t matter that you were small, that I had imagined mother love as a fenced-in thing, something I could order and control. Your smallness contained God’s majesty—you were spark and you were light and it was midday when you came but it felt like dawn.  Maybe it’s ingrained in our double X chromosomes, but the love rose like high tide, fierce and protective and so tender I was afraid of breaking your tiny body, all five pounds of you, feather-light but everything in me pouring out to enclose you.

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I was watching you yesterday. We were outside and I was sitting on the steps, you were running through the yard, picking up rocks and pulling up handfuls of grass. You still run as if your legs were brand new, clumsy and distracted; you’re not sure which way you want to go. Maybe the neurons are firing too quickly, your legs are too small to contain it all. It is that sacred childhood innocence, the joy in what I have called mundane, but you have called beautiful and brand-new. It brings me to my knees, the way you can find that tiny speck of glitter on my arm, the little cactus growing on the hill behind our house, or the pool of water filled with rocks that borders the park. You always pull me towards these small miracles, “Mom, Mom, Mom,” and sometimes I’m dragged. You ask me to join in your wonder, to exclaim, so that you can show me the way the cactus pricks your finger when you touch it, the way the water is murky at the bottom beneath the rocks. And the glitter on your arm, Mom, see the way it catches the sunlight? Yes, Baby, I see, I see. It catches and it lands, right there, the glimmer in your eyes.

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I know that our life is not ideal. There is a lot I wish I could change, for myself, for you. Sometimes I am afraid. I am afraid of the future, I am afraid of your hurts, that my love is not big enough, my wisdom not deep enough. But the sufficiency of God stills me, grounds me, reminds me that he is enough, and to hell with this ideal life I’ve imagined. Because he is glorified in our weakness, and what is within matters more than what I can see, what I can touch.

You are only two, a baby, a girl. But you are becoming right before me. The pants you wore two months ago are too short now, when I ask you about the moon, you point at the sky, and you can recognize the color red on your sandals. It sounds incredibly cliché, even trite (and perhaps it’s a cliché because it’s true), but where has the time gone? You have grown up so fast, from five to twenty-two pounds in ten seconds flat.

These first two years together, I hope they are the beginning of a friendship, that I can not only call you daughter, but friend, companion of my soul.  Maybe we will enjoy the same things, have similar hobbies. Or maybe we will be as different as night and day. Perhaps you will be one of those rare people who can bring out the wildly expressive, outgoing part of me. I hope that we can read books together. Maybe you’ll love Steinbeck and Wordsworth and Harry Potter as much as I do, and we can stay up late and talk about it all.

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I’ll talk to you about boys and about sex, about friendship and gossip, about bullies and the power of our words, about guarding your heart and standing up for the downtrodden. We’ll kneel together, lift our hands together, and oh, sweet girl, I’ll talk to you about our beautiful God, about his redemptive power, the gospel that rescues us both, this narrative of grace—it is our DNA, and we are sustained by Him.

This love is deep, this love is high, this love is wide. It goes on and on and on. It is far from fenced-in; I can't imagine it will ever end. 

I am proud, thankful, delighted to be your mother. My life is richer because you are in it. You are the goodness of God towards me; I pray that I can be the same for you. I know that I will make mistakes. I have already made quite a few. My motherhood is imperfect. But together, we serve a perfect God who will carry us, who even now, is carrying us—further up and further in. I am excited to be on this journey with you, beautiful daughter.

Happy Birthday.



  1. this made me cry. you are so beautiful. i feel honored to know you and be your friend. even if only slightly and from a distance. you make me want to write again like i use to. your jumping back in is pushing me to the edge. LOVE IT AND LOVE YOU AND LOVE DI

  2. This made me cry as well. Now that I am a mother, I understand. My heart is exploding and cannot be contained any longer. You are right, there are no bounds to this love.


I would love to hear your thoughts.