I’ve been working on this letter for over a month. I’ve deleted it completely now to begin again. How can it be? Parents say that all the time, but I just really don’t get it. You’re supposed to “always be baby Emma.” That’s what I promised you before Gloria was born. I didn’t want you to feel like you weren’t going to be my baby anymore, and here you are, not a baby at all. I watched you these last couple of years really emerge into this beautiful woman and I just marvel at your strength. I’m amazed by your resilience. You are laughter and wit, you’re love to the loveless, you are practical, sensible and totally spontaneous all at the same time. You’re the life of the party, often times, you ARE the party.
When you were small, I couldn’t walk out of the room for more than 30 seconds without you trying something out. Maybe you’d try climbing to the top of our upright piano when you were two. Or you’d dump a bottle of baby shampoo into the carpet. Maybe you’d see if baby Gloria could eat dog food, or what was inside of markers, or the toothpaste tube. Maybe you’d super glue your mouth shut or eat a bottle of tums. Maybe you’d stand on a plastic chair and do a backflip off the porch on accident only to land on your feet as I moved in slow motion to catch you. Maybe you’d color your entire face with a red sharpie right as we were leaving for Wednesday night church or get put in time out almost daily in pre-school for kissing the boys. (When asked if they wanted you to kiss them, you responded: “it doesn’t matter.”) Maybe you would change your pajamas three or four times throughout the night and refuse to sleep in your bed. Only the floor was good enough for you. I used to say you were naughty, but now I know the truth. You were an individual. As soon as I stopped fighting you being you, as soon as I let you be who you were on the inside, you started to thrive. When you took dance and art and pottery, when you dyed your hair pink for the first time when you were 10, when you discovered how to listen to the music of your choosing I really got to see what was behind all those little crazy adventures. You’re an individual, and there is nothing cookie cutter about you.
You’ve always been a maker. Sometimes you were the maker of messes, but nonetheless a maker. You’ve always loved to get your hands into clay or paint. It’s how your wired, it’s who God made you to be. I just want you to know that now, as much as ever, to be who you are. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. It doesn’t matter what everyone says is “normal.” You’ve never been one to follow the crowd. So why, my lovely, would you start now? I want to encourage you to listen to the little dreams that God has placed in your heart and chase them with passion and purpose. NOW is the time, and often it’s the only time to truly follow after your hearts desires. You know, I’ve never liked the phrase “follow your heart.” I think that is a dangerous plan. Your heart is deceptive. Chase after God’s will for your life. Don’t fight against who He’s created you to be. We’ve never asked you be anything but true to your self and to God. We’ve never asked you to be anything else than what you are. This year, as you approach the crossroads from childhood into adulthood my precious maker girl, don’t start following the crowd now.
I have so much more to say to you, I could go on for hours but I know that could get a little boring. As I close this letter to you, sweet Emma, I want you to know that you’re good enough for me. I accept you, I love you, I cherish you, I approve of you, I adore you and I’m always, always on your team. I want the very best for you and I love you more than you’ll ever know. I thank God for giving me the privilege of being your mom.
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