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Special Birthday


Three weeks ago marked nine years of Meredith.  Whenever January 21st rolls around memories flood.  

She’s the baby I always marvel over has reached another year.  That we made it another three hundred sixty five days. That now nine years stretch out between the days before I was a mom, when I was still twenty-two and not responsible for much.  
Meredith has always been a grace to me. Her middle names fits. She still is.  When I think about succumbing to despair I start to think about her gray green eyes looking for mine.  The way  she still curls up in my lap and reaches for my hands.  Her long slender fingers threading through mine.  I think about her when I think about giving up. I think about the way she looks at me and the tender heart that hides under her nonchalant attitude.
Meredith experienced much growth this year.  She gained confidence which is no small feat considering her normal shyness.  She started to excel in reading thanks to her new tutor that is imbibing her with belief in herself.  I find her reading on her own now in the dimness of an almost darkened room.  Last night she finished another book and it was quite lengthy.  She’s shown me this year that what she most needed was someone to believe in her and then tell her over and over that they do.  Someone had to believer in her before she could believe in her.  That’s what Meredith’s new tutor has done for her.  She’s called for self belief in Meredith and Meredith has blossomed under the weight of her encouragement.  She has given her courage by encouragement.  She’s helped heal Meredith.  
Meredith’s legs have stretched out long and we keep having to find longer pants. She is starting to look like a preteen.  The other day I noticed sports bra straps peeking out of her shirt and she quietly nodded at my question.  She is interested in different things and our conversations find us discussing different topics. Her requests for birthday presents included electronics and clothes and temporary hair color.   Not toys.  She wears her knock off ‘beats’ around her neck.  Music or not.  Just because they match her DC shoes ☺
As we drove home the other day before her birthday I brought up her upcoming birthday. I was meaning to fill the moment with sentiment about our soon to be nine year old, but she cut me off. “Mom, I’m halfway to eighteen.”  She jolted me into reality quickly with those words.  “I know” I glanced back at her in the rearview.  I’ve always been someone who starts to mourn the halfway of a thing.  I know it sounds weird, but I always notice the halfway point of something and ponder all the ways it’s half way over.
I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the deeply blue eyes of baby Meredith and the hour we used to spend every night just she and I reading all her books over and over. I pictured baby Meredith’s quiet and gentle demeanor as she shadowed me around our small apartment as I did household chores and she pretended to dust and vacuum with me.  I remembered my days off from work when I abandoned all I needed to get done deciding to scoop Meredith up in my arms and hold her close during her nap time. Her golden hair curling damp against my chest.  

I remembered the other day how significant every milestone she made had seemed because she was the first baby and grand baby on both family sides.  How every moment was documented in scrap books and shared with grandmas.  I remember the sacred awe filled moments that encapsulated her first two years with us.  Before we added any more kids.  
I pictured the way jealousy bubbled out of her tiny two year old frame as I caught her kicking her newborn sister weeks after bringing her home.  

My mind flashed back to watching her bright blond hair glint gold in the Tennessee sun as she sat perched upon a rock wall laughing at all of us in delight. 

I saw her standing at our front door one bleak November afternoon watching the squirrels play lost in deep thought.  She came to me and said simply, “I’ve decided to ask Jesus to come in to my heart.”  I remember that evening with joy watching my husband explain everything to Meredith.  She nodded with clear eyes in understanding.  My mind fast forwarded to this past year when my husband got to baptize her himself.



I see her squealing as she flinches holding her fishing line as she catches her first fish.  My husband reeling in the line.  June sunshine baking her skin into a rich tan, freckles splattering even her lips. Green gray eyes smiling at first fish wonder. 

I remembered all the prayers she had prayed for people.  Like a well worn mantra repeated over and over she had asked simple blessings for friends at every meal.  Even when she was just a toddler.
My mind went back to all the afternoons we spent sun soaked with mulch cloaking our flip flopped feet swinging in the sun. We were gloriously lost in unhurried afternoon sunshine.  Enjoying simple things like cool grass and fast fluttering butterflies…together.  


My mind darkened briefly with all the ways I have failed her and all the things I would do differently.  All the ways I hope she isn’t like me. But as I looked into her eyes in the rearview I knew grace.  I’ve always thought of Meredith as a tangible picture of grace.  A life gifted to us.  One that we get to know, learn from and mostly get to cherish.  One I could never have dreamed up, but that I get to dream with.
I don’t want to think about her childhood half over, I want to think about all the ways it’s been  full. 

Happy Nine Meredith ☺




Comments

  1. Somer,
    This sweet birthday tribute to your Meredith is so touching and a real gift for her to read later. I think she will treasure it forever! xo

    ReplyDelete

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