Sunday, June 15, 2008

Four

Annabella was born four years ago today at 6:28 a.m. after sixteen hours of exhausting labor. The midwife, whose voice ushered me to the other side of my worst contractions, said it was a beautiful birth; she told me, "Dance your baby out..." as I swayed back and forth by candlelight, her voice and my mother's touch the lights at the end of what seemed an infinite tunnel.



When it was over and we could see this little girl with a head full of dark brown hair, I knew for the first time what it was to have all my best hopes, wildest dreams, and most vulnerable parts of me balled up and placed inside this tiny, fragile person. I had a whole new set of fears now that her fragility housed everything I knew to be Good. Having her placed on my belly (after a few moments of trying to convince her to breathe) was like walking through a door into a world I knew nothing about, whose possibilities I could not comprehend, whose challenges I could not anticipate. Among the few things I did know that have proven true was the fact that I had never loved like this before--a love that was overwhelming and true, but twinged with pain, because I could never fully protect this little life again now that my womb was no longer her home. She would feel cold, she would know hunger and sadness. And reality has only broadened those possibilities: she now knows what it is to be teased, ignored, disliked, written off, inaccurately defined; she's seen hatred and cruelty, despite my best efforts to keep her from them. And all this makes me see so clearly what a privilege it is to be able to be the place these little people--this little person--can land. Her home. Her always-and-forever-family. What a huge, terrible responsibility, and what an honor. I would be negligent, of course, if I did not say that those things I long keep from her will be brought into her life in the timing that the Lord has forseen and allowed. In this, I have no complaint; instead I thank Him for His Spirit to guide and the wisdom He imparts when this mother needs it most.

Today, on her fourth birthday, I am amazed by her. She aspires to be a professional soccer player-ballerina-archaeologist-marine biologist-mommy. She's fascinated by insects, dinosaurs and sea creatures, particularly those of the predatory ilk. Playing dress-up is a favorite pass time, as is being read to, wearing dresses, drawing, making things for those she loves, taking baths, picking flowers, riding her bike, playing with makeup, collecting and digging for coins/treasure, going to church and playing with friends. The help she provides me is truly a gift; her spirit is kind and encouraging. She adores leaves, and loves to make natural collections of all sorts: rocks, bugs, pine cones...When she prays, she has an honest, open, and grateful heart before the Lord. She's learning new things that surprise me quite regularly. This week, for instance, "That's a whirligig beetle, Mommy. You know because it has black wings, black all over." That was after a severe thunder storm last week that caused us to lose a few very large branches from our Norway Maple, and Annabella collected fallen sticks to "make a burnt offering. Just like Abraham."
To our sweet, big girl: we love the person the Lord has created you to be. Your quirks are the special markers of our little girl; your gifts, our chance to revel in God's handiwork; your challenges, opportunities for the Lord to reveal more of His character; your grace, our pride.

Happy birthday, Annabella Jane Joy. Happy, happy birthday.

Before we met you:

Brand new (day 2):
One:


Two:Three:Four. Birthday picnic breakfast:

4 comments:

Kellie said...

Beautiful.

Clark Family said...

Wow, you're so passionate about things and it amazes me! Annabella is beautiful and a good friend to Sariah. I hope that we soon have more chances to get to know you and your family.

Carole said...

Sue,
I love reading through your lyrical posts. Love the birth stories. Love the passion for motherhood. Keep it up!

JenLo said...

What a little doll!