Courage, sacrifice, determination,
commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts.
That's what little girls are made of;
the heck with sugar and spice.
Bethany Hamilton Soul Surfer
There's a baby girl on the way in our family. Kate and her husband, Zeke, are expecting their first child in the fall. A welcome surprise, but no accident.
She will arrive with apples, yellow #2 pencils and that faint scent of autumn woods, barely a hint of baked cinnamon.
Her little heart is being knit together as I type. She is already AMAZING. Listen to some things she can do. She can frown and smile, she hiccups, she can hear her mama's voice and Rowdy Cowboys's bark. She is hearing her mama's heartbeat up close. At just 12 weeks in her cocoon, she had her own unique shape to her fingernails and her fingerprints, palms and footprints were already engraved with lines and whorls. I wonder what she will create with those hands and what mark she will make with those fingerprints? Where will her feet take her?
She already has faint eyelashes, eyebrows and the beginning of tastebuds. I wonder what vistas she will see from those kaleidoscope eyes? What will tingle her tastebuds? I cannot wait to give her fresh food from the garden, blank canvases and clean white pages and see what it all becomes in her hand.
Because of the family she is joining, she will know the rugged Pacific coastline from Oregon down into California and the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. She will learn about the flight of the monarch butterflies to Santa Cruz and the migration of whales from Mexico to Alaska. She will know about country music and Texas bluebonnets. She will know words like grommet and y'all.
When I think of this baby girl, I dream good dreams for her. Most of my dreams for her have lots to do with beauty, but little to do with what she will look like. My dreams are more about her being strong, kind, wise, generous, forgiving and merciful. I pray she will be both tender and tough layered in with laughter. May she have a brave heart. Oh, and please don't forget things like resilience, fortitude, authenticity and knowing Jesus.
This is my all-time favorite photo of her mama, Kate, when she was around 4 years old. This was her own get-up of gun and tutu. To me, it captures Kate in kaleidoscope. It might look contradictory or even complicated, but it is also Girl richly layered, multi-faceted and true to the feminine heart.
Her extended family has gifts to give and willing hands to hold her tears. I hope she loves dogs and wide open spaces like her Mama and Daddy. May she be big-hearted like her Uncle Kyle. She will be blessed if she can ace a test like Uncle Sean and root for the underdog like Aunt Monica. I want her to have moxie in Aunt Ryan proportions. Uncle Bobby can give her resilience. Aunt Elle and the other Uncle Sean can bring her Tennessee. She will know "welcome home" and "come on in" from Grandpa Bob and Grandma Liz.
Whoever she becomes, I want her to know she was wild-crafted by a big God for a good reason. He saw her before any of us and sprinkled her with grit and hope.
He took tender care with all the details that are only her and no one else. He knows the voice we have not yet heard, the one he made and she will find.
I have no idea just how her smile will curve or whether she will like pickles, but a few things we will make sure of.
Her Pop will teach her to shoot a basketball, play guitar and whistle a fierce whistle, the kind with four fingers in her mouth; something he taught me before we were married. She will be surrounded by laughter, nurturing and challenge. We will make room in our laps, tuck her wild hair behind her ear, read her good books, kiss her owies, fill the house with good music, build forts, go fishing, bake cookies, squish our toes in the sand, sit under the stars, take the dog on walks and sometimes tell her no.
I've heard from my friends who have gone before me in the Beautiful Grandma Journey, that as her JoJo and Pop, we get the sweet perspective from raising our own fantastic four and a bit more rest than her mama and daddy. A good combination. Even before she was a spark, she has already been prayed up every which way by both sides. We will keep that up.
She is Girl and with that comes so many possibilities and a few challenges. She can do a lot, but not everything and not all at once. May she use her seasons in wisdom and in their time. She can be strong and feminine, independent and trusting. May she know how to dream and sacrifice, find her own fine voice and listen to others. I hope she will love her mind, her body and her heart. I pray she will appreciate just how God knit her together. One thing I am working on to give her; embracing my own flaws and mistakes as parts of the making of me. Maybe I can offer her that kind of grace with herself well before I learned it.
Baby girl, we cannot wait to meet you! I have a feeling that you will rock both tutu and camo, well and together. Just like your own Mama, seen here in all of her four-year-old kaleidoscope glory.