To My Teddy Bear on Her Sixth Birthday

Dear Teddy Bear,

Tomorrow you will be six years old. It is hard to believe. Your baby sister is sitting next to me in the swing and as I look down at her I could swear it was only a few months ago that you were that size. All smiles and giggles and turning inside out with delight whenever anyone looked at you. 

Photo Credit Sarah Abbott Photography

Surely you are not really six. It’s just a trick of my imagination… it has to be… I can still see you standing tip toe in a black and pink tutu looking out the window at the winter beach. You felt so big that winter. You had just turned one and were running around the beach house talking your aunt’s ears off and stealing food from your cousins. 

Photo Credit Sarah Abbott Photography

And then your sister was born and we bought house and some where in the shuffle you lost your baby cheeks and tiny ringlets and shot up into this gangly little girl who is learning to read and rides a bus to school. And my mother was right… I miss those tiny little hands and you in a stroller. 

I look at you now and see so much of myself in you. Not me as a child… not that’s your middle sister full of over exuberant displays of affection and an inability to sit still. No that’s not you… you are far more independent than I was as a child. You are reserved with your physical displays of affection and only around those whom you are closest to do you really express yourself. But you are like me now. Full of opinion and restlessness. Full of creative ideas and frustration at your inability to express yourself accurately. There are moments when I look at your face and I know exactly what you are feeling because I have those same feelings. I see tears spring into your eyes and I know why they are there, because I have held those same tears back myself so many times.

You are so an amazing little girl. You feel deeply, are highly in tune to those around you, are smarter than I know what to do with, and have potential that, if I am being deeply honest, scares me some days. You are a perfectionist and unwaveringly confident in the things you know you excel at. You have all the makings of growing up to be a woman who could change the world. If only I don’t screw you up to badly in the process. 

You are looking to me more and more to discern what being a female means. What being a person means. How to be kind to others, how to handle disappointment, what faith in God looks like. We are at a crucial point you and I. I can feel it in my gut. How I handle these next few years will determine so much.  In this next few years so much of who you will become will be determined and together you and I will lay the ground work for what our relationship will look as you grow up.  We are in this together, you and me, we are both learning. I’m sorry you have to be the first pancake. I know it’s not an easy job.

Things have been turbulently lately.  I pray that years down the road when you finally read this you will look back and have no memory of that. But chances are you will. Your memory is one of our challenges.  Your father asked me this morning what I thought needed to be done, how we could best help you. And, for what felt like the hundredth time I admitted defeat… “if I knew, I would be doing it”. 

I have spent this morning thinking this over this question. Spending time with it, not running away simply because it felt hard. It has been my companion as I went to the store, as I brewed a cup of coffee, as I made granola for a special breakfast treat for your birthday (Don’t worry there will also be donuts).  And I have come to the conclusion that the best way to help you, is to deal with some things in myself. I can hardly help you to be content and happy in the every-dayness of life, until I first find some contentment  in it. I need to find ways to deal with my own feelings before I can guide you in expressing yours.

And so,
Dear Abi Bear,
my first born,
my miracle child,
the one who changed the game for me…
this is my promise to you this year… 

I promise to work on myself.

To attempt to deal with my own questions so I can better answer yours.

To strive to spend time at the feet of our Heavenly Father, so I can lead you there as well.

Have patience with me little girl, I’m still learning, but you are an excellent teacher. 

Photo Credit Sincerely Liz Inc