Today is your second birthday.
At my first doctor’s appointment, my due date was set for December 18. But when I came back the second time for an ultrasound, they changed it to January 11. I was in the first trimester, which meant I was extremely nauseas and emotional. I cried a thousand tears because I felt they had just added 27 years to my misery.
Towards the end of my pregnancy I started praying you would come early. Maybe it was wishful thinking. Maybe I was exhausted and feeling horribly uncomfortable. But I just had this feeling you would come early. I knew God had already planned the day you would arrive. I also knew there was nothing I could do to change your arrival. But something in me kept saying you would come early.
This is daddy and me at a Christmas party in December. I’m smiling, but I was mis.er.able.
I began telling people you were coming early. Friends and family would laugh and tell me not to get my hopes up. My mommy friends would roll their eyes and remind me this was my first baby. The first baby typically does not come early.
But you did.
You came three weeks early.
Why am I telling you this? Does it really matter now?
When you’re older, you will probably wish you had been born in January instead of having a Christmas birthday. But if you had been born in January, your PawPaw would not have been with us to celebrate your first birthday. If you had been born in January, your birthday would have been right after his death.
I believe God planned for you to arrive early in 2013, because he knew what was coming in 2015.
You won’t remember the first year of your life. You will have no memories of your first Christmas, first birthday, first words or first steps. But they are memories I treasure because PawPaw was there for all of those things.
There have been many times I have questioned God’s plans and timing. Stepping back to look at the larger picture and time frame, I can understand why things happened the way they did.
So here we are, two years later and I’m still praying for you.
Neala, you are silly and sassy, and bring joy to our lives every day. I pray as you grow, you continue to bring joy to others.
Since the day I found out I was pregnant, I asked God to give you a heart of compassion. No matter what you grow up to be, I pray you always choose to love and serve people.
The last few months have been rough, to say the least. Pregnancy seems to wipe me out in the first trimester. Around 3pm I start nose diving into nausea and exhaustion. By the time your dad gets home, I’m on the couch trying not to puke. You and Lincoln are rolling and running around the living room and I’m lying down hoping you don’t need a diaper change or food.
You will come over and touch my belly. This is typically what you will pray:
“Jesus, pay Mommy. Beyee hurt. Baby. Amen. Ha-yay-yu-ya.”
(Jesus, pray Mommy. Belly hurt. Baby. Amen. Hallelujah.)
Melts my heart. Every. Single. Time.
I also pray you would be strong and fearless. I was very shy as a child. Even in high school and a bit of college, I was afraid to be the “real me” because I worried what others would think. You are spunky and sassy and I want you to be proud of those qualities. Don’t ever think you have to try to fit into a certain mold for people to accept you. Neala means champion. Reese means ardor, which is enthusiasm or passion. I pray you grow to be a leader, not a follower. Full of enthusiasm, passion and purpose.
You love to dance and sing. At least three times a day you will ask, “Mommy, pay mukus on you phone.” (Mommy, play music on your phone). Aunt Kimi showed you a tap dancing movie so now you try to tap dance. You stomp your foot as hard as possible while moving in a circle. I’m hoping (and praying) you get your musical abilities from me and not daddy. Dada ain’t got no kind of rhythm!
I pray you would be balanced. You’re girly and prissy and love to dress up in tutu’s, jewelry and giant sunglasses. You love when Aunt Lisa and Aunt Kimi paint your nails. But you also love to play with cars, build legos and wrestle with daddy. You watch Star Wars with him and make the Darth Vader Sound. You’re too small to know the difference between masculine and feminine. I’m hoping as you get older, you won’t feel like you have to be “girly”. If you’re a tomboy and like monster trucks instead of Barbies, I’m ok with it.
The thought of sending you to Kindergarten in a few years sends me into instant sadness and tears. I cannot imagine you spending the entire day away from us. But, I know it’s coming. So I’m praying for your future friends and teachers. I’m asking God to give you caring teachers who still love their job. For sweet friends who aren’t filled with drama. (is that even possible in middle school?)
Most importantly, I pray you grow to know and love God. Not because mommy and daddy do. I pray you have genuine experiences with God. That you feel Him near you, even as a little girl. It’s hard for me to imagine someone loving you more than I do. But I know He does.
I love you sweet girl.
I love you when you obey. And when you scream “NO Mommy!” and run out of the room.
I love you when you are sweet to your brother. And when you are not so sweet to him.
I love you when you wake up at 5:30 am hollering for dada to make you oatmeal, even when I’ve had a horrible night’s sleep.
I love you when we take you out of the bathtub and you immediately pee on the floor. Right next to your potty chair.
I love all the crumbs you drop on our couch, our floor and basically every flat surface in the house.
I love when you want to cuddle on the couch together and you reach up and gently pat my face.
I love your loud giggles, sassy attitude and animated faces.
Never forget how much I love you. No matter where you go, what you do or who you become. Mommy will always, always love you.