Friday, January 23, 2009

A Letter to Julia, 2009

My sweet girl,
There is nothing like a birthday and today is yours. You are seven after a mere 365 days of being six. A January 24th will never pass without our remembering the enormous anticipation of your birth—every circumstance an unknown, an uncertainty, but, through the entire process, the reality of our gracious God coming through on EVERY promise He made to us, throwing in a few “freebies” for which we didn’t even know to ask. Even under the encouraging leadership of your Daddy, I didn’t know how to dream that big. You were the crowning glory of all His gifts and your Daddy and I were blown away.

I have been thinking for a long time how life has changed with you. For goodness sakes, you are SEVEN. I grinned to myself just the other day when you literally folded yourself up like a wiki stick in order to ride in the “bus” grocery cart with your insistent brother. In six months, you won’t be physically able to do that. Some things are gone for good, some things I love are here to stay, some things I don’t even know to anticipate and last but not least, some things this Mommy will always miss. Here they are:
Shopping in the baby and toddler section, your well-presented buffets of plastic food, picking out your clothes, bows in your hair, your “baby smell”, your asking to watch “Miffy”, all your curls, being able to lay your whole body on my lap, miniature spoons and rubber forks, Ocean Waves, your liking “super cereal”, airplane, watching you play in your crib from the door, the last bottle before bed, changing table talk, chunky legs, baths just for fun, going “under the cowboy bridge, over the river and through the woods” to UBC, buffalos being “buckle ups”, indentions being “Indians”. (ex. “My shoes made Indians on my feet!”), the jumping thing, teeny clothes, stroller rides when your feet stuck straight out, the heart bib, not worrying if your skirt was too short, board books, free airplane tickets, being my captive audience, and your NOT knowing which cookie or scoop of ice cream was bigger, that I really can’t sing, or that a mobile is really boring.

As I try to think of things to highlight about your six year old year, MANY things come to mind. You have now lost eight teeth and have taken much pride in each new gaping window in your pretty mouth. You have taken off in your reading, staying up to flip pages. We know you have fallen asleep in a bed of books when we begin to hear the thumps as they, one by one, fall off of your bed. When teaching you about reading aloud and paying attention to punctuation, there were times your breathing and pauses sounded more like the beginning of an asthma attack. You tried your feet at soccer and looked adorable in your knee socks as you ran/skipped around with a big grin. You have experienced your first “I love Jesus. Why don’t you?” moments, coming home with a furrowed brow, a puzzled face, but not in the least discouraged. You had Daddy take off your training wheels this year. After a little apprehension, you glided off wondering why you hadn’t asked him sooner. As did a couple of generations before you, you entered the world of American Girl dolls. Now I get to roll my eyes at the catalog prices just like other Mom’s have in the past. This year definitely marks your delightful interest in friends—especially "school friends" and the ones in our cul de sac. If one kid is out front, there are six of you—on bikes, on scooters, hiding in the round, or playing who knows what in our back yard. You remind me of a dear friend who lights up like a cheery lamp- no, make that a roaming spotlight- when surrounded by friends. This is when your energy oozes and your face expresses pure joy.

Maybe the most entertaining thing about you is your creative play. You still love to play pilgrims/wilderness/log cabin. You have been known to hang a clothes line and fill it, sweep the yard with the fireplace broom, and bake bread in the outside fireplace. Your story lines are as good as your accents depending on the country from which you have traveled. Your south Georgia accent is my favorite. (Go figure.) Once when we had picked up a friend for a play date, I put a twang or a drawl on some word and I heard you proudly inform our friend, “She’s from Georgia, by the way.” Over Christmas, I listened in on an "art lesson" you were giving to Brighton in the basement at Meema and Doodle's. You were using one of Meema's pictures as your "subject" and having Brighton copy it. "Isn't this work exquisite and exciting? See the two different colors of pink in this Japanese rose? These fancy brushstrokes make the art even more ecstatic!" As you can see from the pictures, Brighton is a GREAT playmate and he adores you.

You keep a mountain by your bed. Two of them, actually-one on your nightstand and one between your bed and the wall. It seems to grow during the night—books, magazines, slippers, markers, papers, papers and more papers, crayons, socks, pajamas that were “just too hot”, purses bursting at the zippers, and an assortment of animals and dolls. One morning, after complaining of a tummy ache, you started helping me disassemble the precipice. I found a layer of small pieces of foil. Very small and very red with remnants of brown on the inside. These wrappings looked VERY familiar to me because I handle something like that at least twice a day. Dove’s dark chocolate wrappers- lots of them. And so goes the tummy ache.
(First Day of 1st grade and a "sewing" creation from your room.)
I enjoy sharing a laugh with you when your brother blurts out a funny just like last night when he called down that his toothbrush wasn’t working only to yell down a couple moments later, “Never mind cause when I banged it on the counter, like this (on the wall), it works fine!” or when after I got on to him the other day, he came back in the room to show us “exactly what you look like, Momma, when you are getting serious with me”. His imitation was priceless and you knew it too. Laughing with you is hard to beat.
You are a gem, my Julia- one that sparkles and shines even on the hardest of days. When told to have patience with your little brother, you said, “I’ve got patience, but can I ask for how long?” You try. You really do and I am so grateful. I love that you still express stress and anxiety in the purest form possible- tears and wails. Those hard days might include hurt feelings, a scary experience (the big swing), or shots at the doctor’s office.

So the next pictures tell a story that I do not understand. You've been striking poses since you could stand up. From where does this come? I have never seen these poses in the j.jill catalog. Pre-programmed, I guess and, incidentally, a lot of fun.
As verbal as you are and have always been, you still have a lot going on under that pretty brunette hair that you are tentative to share. I have come to realize that you are content with taking small peeks through a closed curtain when it comes to your story. At random times, a wonderful question will pop out of your mouth that I knew would eventually come. I may be brushing my teeth or unloading the dishwasher, but once it is answered, you move on seamlessly to something else. The curtain is yours to open and one day when you pull it back, you will see God’s marvelous work in its entirety. I gaze at it often and hope you find it as breath-taking as I do. I am so grateful for each little stitch God made as He knitted you together in a young girl’s womb. Even though it wasn’t my womb, my heart felt every stitch. Still does.
Happy Birthday, Julia Karis. I celebrate everything about you today.
Goodbye Six. Hello Seven.


Alyssa said...

I woke up this morning anticipating this post! I love the analogy of pulling back the curtain on her story; it is indeed breathtaking! Lovely writing, lovely mom and daughter connection. Happy birthday to Julia!

melissa said...

beautiful post, as always! what a treasure this will be for her. and don't think i didn't notice that beautiful Chinese top she wore to her first day of 1st grade! love y'all - and happy birthday, julia!

Beth said...

Beautiful, Krista. Your words on my computer and your sweet Julia.

Raechelle Ivy said...

Happy Birthday Julia!!!!

nikki said...

just amazing! your words words are creative and beautiful-almost as amazing as the "sewing creation" julia made! looking forward to seeing all that seven holds!

tanya said...

Beautiful. Last sentence got me like no other.

Happy Birthday, Julia!

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. Hope the roses made it on time. Squeeze em bsd

Tori said...

What a precious post. She is blessed to have you for her mom, Krista, and I'm blessed to know you both!

You have no idea how much I learn, through reading sweet things like this, about being a mommy someday. Thanks for sharing this sweet letter with us!

Lesli said...

What a beautiful post! I have a 5 1/2 yr. old daughter who reminds me so much of Julia (especially the American Girl part. LOL) and I'm going to go in and hug her precious, sleeping self right now. I hope Julia had a great birthday, she's such a cutie.

Sarah said...

sort of wish i was 7 so i could be julia's bff

Anonymous said...

Boy, If I can't read this without my eyes sweating do I even have a chance in preforming my girls wedding. What a gift. God is good!


TJ Wilson said...

Yea, no chance, Jeff. Like Alyssa, I've been anticipating this post. Blake - the roses made it and were gorgeous, love that tradition. K, again, you captured her! don't know how you do it in a page so fully. Really, really great. Love that girl!

Garrett and Carrie Kell said...

OK, so I could not read this to Garrett with taking a break to regain some sense of clarity in my speech. Tears, tears, tears. This is so beautiful and I am so inspired to try this for little Eden. Thank you for being such an amazing steward of what God has given you!