Dear Alathea

Although I have been out of school for years, I may be forever ruined by the school calendar. September always feels more like the new year to me than January. With that sense of newness comes anticipation and excitement for me. Change is in the air. There is a change of weather, change from summer routines and daily rhythms, change in clothing and decorations, new learning opportunities etc. Some years the changes are big. Last year we were anticipating my husband changing jobs and the birth of our second daughter, Alathea. Other years, changes may feel like minor tweaks or refining. Looking back on this year, September to September, I have experienced quite the gamut of both. In a little over a month my daughter will turn one, and with that realization comes all the emotion, memories and lessons learned this past year. The best way I could think to process that and share with you was through a letter to her. So here it goes.

“Dear Alathea,

Oh man. Here come the tears, haha. My little love, I CANNOT BELIEVE that it has almost been a year since you were born. Just this time last year, I still had yet to meet you, and having suffered much with my health during my pregnancy with you I was both thanking God everyday that you weren’t born early and yet wishing the days would speed by until your birth.

Your birthday came soon enough, somewhere between early and right on time. There you were, pink and perfectly beautiful with a cry that often sounded like you were heartbroken. Although you weren’t my first baby, I experienced so many firsts with you. For one thing, I got to hold you and snuggle you right away, and you stayed in my room with me the WHOLE time I was in the hospital. I didn’t want to put you down because I was sure that the doctors and nurses were going to have to keep you longer like when Savanna was born. I was trying to treasure all my little moments with you.

Even though you were the second, you were the first I experienced the newborn stage with. My first times up exclusively nursing in the middle of the night were with you. You were the first to sleep in our bed. After a few nights of little to no sleep, I wasn’t as worried about doing everything by the textbook.

You are the first and only you. Learning your personality and seeing what you bring to our family through your little life has been such a joy! You are such a gift, sweet girl. You are determined, and quietly observant but oh so smiley. You love your big sister. Just the sight of her makes you laugh.

You are so loved. God knew what he was doing when He gave you to us and to me. Your name means truth. And you, beautiful Alathea, are a living Ebenezer, a marker of God’s truth drawing close to us through your life. I feel like I get glimpses of what God feels about me when I look at you and Savanna: great joy, delight and compassion in abundance.

I am also learning again the beauty and significance of little moments. As your mama, sometimes I am tempted to think that my life is passing by in insignificant little moments of picking up messes, wiping boogers, endless nursing and laundry. Oh, the laundry! I get tempted to feel like I am not doing enough. However, since you have been born, I am realizing again (like a child I too am being patiently led by God) that you two girls are my greatest mission, and ‘…little moments are significant because they are little moments. These are the moments that make up our lives. These are the moments that set up our future. These are the moments that shape our relationships’ (Paul Tripp, The Significance of Little Moments). Life really is made up of little moments. God slowed me down during my pregnancy, and most days felt as though they were being lived moment to moment of being faithful to my diet and taking my medications. Day by day I relied on Him for strength. And today still, day by day and moment by moment I rely on Him for wisdom and perspective for my days.

It is my hope that one day you will be able to learn from me what I am being taught by God through being your mama. Alathea, the moments when I follow His voice when no one is around are important. The moments I choose to be fully present with you both over finishing my agenda are important. Life is made up of many moments, and though they may seem fleeting, in the grand scheme of things they are big.

I am so glad you were born.

Love, Mama”

Friends, may God grant us grace to live fully engaged. The “little” moments are significant and make up the richness of our lives.