Dear Jayci, on your 9th Birthday
As per usual, I’m writing this letter a little late. Which, as you know by now, is the perpetual story of our lives. You reminded me the other day that this is your last year in single digits, and I just wanted to weep at the truth of how quickly you keep growing and time keeps marching. I fear that I have allowed busy to creep into our lives. Sure, most of the time our “busy” is meaningful and fun and even, daresay, world-changing. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t let it steal time and energy from our relationship with you, which is just never ok. I hope that you will forgive me for the times I have been snappy and grouchy with you, the times when I have responded to your behavior with anger rather than grace, with harsh words instead of gentle correction. I hope you will know, mostly, how deeply and fully I love you no-matter-what.
You are such a treasure. What a gift it remains to be your momma, to be chosen for the holy task of walking alongside you as you grow up into the woman God has made you. I pray that every single day you will become more of who you are, and that you will never let the world or the media or your friends or anyone else tell you who you should or shouldn’t be or what you can or can’t do. You are a noticer, you see people and you have a heart that swells with both empathy and hurt. You have big ideas like your daddy, tempered with a more cautious spirit like your mommy. I have been afraid of so many things for so long: of not fitting in, of trying and failing, of losing, of being alone. I pray that your caution will never land in fear. That you will be brave, able to stand up for what is right. Not afraid to take a stand for who you are and what you believe, no matter the cost. That your caution will lean towards wisdom couched in love and not anxiety. That trust and hope will remain firmly clenched in your heart, even when the world and people (including me) disappoint (because trust me, we will).
I know that third grade hasn't been easy for you so far. Third grade was not my best year either, and I know how hard it can feel to be lonely. To have trouble finding your tribe, to be unsure of how exactly to fit in and remain true to yourself. Everything is complicated and messy, and a classroom full of girls struggling with all the exact same things doesnt make anything easier. I just pray that you will keep noticing. Find the other people who are feeling left out, the ones who dance to their own drumbeats and maybe could use a friend to dance with too. I know that’s easier said than done, that sticking up for the bullied, standing beside the lonely, rooting yourself with the outcast might feel like a scary place to be. But I promise you that’s where you will find Jesus, and probably the best and truest friends too.
Hopefully I remember to tell you this every single day of your ninth year, but just in case I dont: you are my very favorite girl. We have lots of boys around here, so sometimes our quiet hearts can get a little lost in the beautiful messy mix, but I want you to know that you are always seen. Your daddy and I, not to mention your adoring (and slightly pesky) brothers, just can’t take our eyes off you. And even more than that, your heavenly Father sees every single piece of who you are and calls it perfect, because it is.
May your ninth year be the best one yet. As your legs lengthen and the days keep flying by, I pray that every day this year you will come to understand the mysterious truth of who Jesus is and what He has for you. Let's trust more and laugh harder, play soccer in the park, go for long bike rides on the brand new Beltline. Let's swim in the ocean and create art together at the kitchen table. Let's make fun of daddy's dance moves, and occasionally let's join in.
I love you my precious girl.