dear miss etta z,
i cannot believe you are four months old already. you fit in just perfectly with our little family.
i cannot imagine mornings without your full-body-face-squishing pandiculation as i un-velcro you from your swaddle. i cannot imagine greeting friends and strangers without your million watt smile and bright eyes. i cannot imagine breakfast time without the way your sister engages with you — making silly faces and voices to make you grin. i cannot imagine smaller laundry loads devoid of your drool-drenched clothes.
i cannot imagine outings without your little chubby body accompanying mine — on picnic blankets during soccer, in my lap while we sit in the river, around my waist while i wear you, or gazing back at me content while i push you in the stroller. i cannot imagine noon without getting you ready for nap time — swaddling you up just right, nursing you, and setting you down to fall asleep on your own. or bedtime, where the ritual is essentially the same except you also get some back rubs and thigh kneading and we roll your little burrito body around on the bed. this is followed by kissing you over and over again on the cheeks, which promptly gets you squealing and giggling. i do not want to imagine life without your sweet giggle.
not all mamas get this with their little ones. recently we learned of some heartbreak people we love have experienced when their babes were taken to heaven much too soon and unexpectedly. and so this month i held you even closer, inhaled your scent even deeper, and said prayers of thanks for all i’ve been given that i deserve no more than anyone else.
for you are wonderfully and awesomely made. and though you are my daughter you are not mine. you are child of our Lord’s, a daughter of the earth. and for however long you are entrusted to me –short or (i desperately pray) long– i will love you fiercely and humbly.
i love you. love, mama