I missed your first birthday by 8 months. I've gotten slack over the last couple of years with getting birthday letters written on time and I'm sorry. Even though we're now closer to your second birthday than your first, I wanted to write you a letter anyway.
My sweet girl, you were our long awaited baby. For about a year, I was too sick to conceive, and over time the Lord brought healing to my body and He gave you to us. I was so excited to find out you were on the way, and Daddy and I were both completely in love with you the moment you were born. We still are. In fact, we might spoil you a tiny bit too much. You almost always get a little taste of whatever we're eating because we can't resist your, "A bite? P'eas?!"
I think being a more experienced mama has helped me cherish and savor each stage of your babyhood a little extra. Seeing how fast my babies have grown up has reminded me to slow down. We've spent countless hours snuggling. I love to stop and look into your eyes and listen to the sweet things you say and the words you mispronounce. I love to follow you when you take me by the hand to show me something.
You are such a girl. You get excited about"I wor," ("I wor" = "I wear" = "my clothes") and, "woos. (shoes)" You carry three "beebees" around with you all day long and take such good care of them. You rock and shush them. I love finding them tucked in carefully with blankets around the house. You always tell them, "Nigh-nigh, bee-bee," and tuck them in with a kiss.
Really, you're still a baby yourself, but you get very excited over real babies too--especially your cousin, Gracie. You love holding her. "I wold, Mama?"
I'm hoping your fascination with and excitement over babies will help you with your transition into life as a big sister here in the next couple of weeks. You are so attached to me, I sometimes worry how you'll do with having to share me with someone who needs me even more than you do!
Even though you're so little, you've already become a good helper around the house. You throw away trash without being asked, and you're usually really good about picking up your toys and putting them away where they belong. This is a blessing for your mama!
You do have a stubborn side, for sure, and have started experimenting with telling mama and daddy, "Nnnnnnnnnnnnnno!" Hopefully you'll learn quickly that this approach doesn't work out well.
For the last few weeks, your older siblings have been out of town at Grandma and Grandpa's house. At first, you missed them horribly--especially Katie. Over time you've adjusted, and I think we've both really enjoyed the one-on-one time we've had together. You've been my little buddy. We've done everything together. And it's been sweet. Tonight you fell asleep snuggled up in bed with me, and I just laid there for a while taking you in before I moved you to your bed. I love your sweet baby cheeks and your pudgy little body in footie pajamas. When Calvin is born, I know you'll seem so grown up--and I'm not sure when you'll next fall asleep in mama's arms.
Sweet Josephine, I love you. I love your sweet little voice and the way you smile and giggle. I love how you always want to hold my hand going up and down the stairs ("Hannay?"). I love the way you love your baby dolls. I love how excited you get when Daddy comes home and how you always ask him for a kiss when he's leaving. I have so many moments I wish I could just bottle up and save, so many facial expressions and cute things I want to remember forever. Just like Katie, Benjamin, and Joshua, you're going to grow up on me too. Next thing I know you'll be losing teeth and learning how to read. And then someday you'll probably get married and have a baby of your own.
Even though part of me wishes you'd just stay little forever, I know you won't. And when it comes down to it, I wouldn't actually want you to. That's not why I have babies. I have babies so they'll grow into young men and women who love the Lord and work to advance His Kingdom. That's really what every moment we have together is about--loving you and pointing you to the God Who loves you infinitely more than I ever could. My prayer for you now is the same as it has been since I knew you were a speck in my belly. I pray that you will love the Lord faithfully, even as a child, even now, and serve Him all your days in whatever He calls you to.
Happy First Birthday 8 months late.