My dearest Elise,
You are still so small as I write this letter. Still, when I look into your eyes, when I hold you close, when you wrap your hand around my fingers, there is so much that I want to say to you. I want to capture my thoughts and feelings in this very moment, so that you might know, later, something of your mother at this time.
But mere words cannot express how much you mean to me. You were born after I thought my heart was closed to the idea of more children. Yet God woke something there. He patiently taught me, making it clear that He was not finished crafting our family. I yielded to Him - not easily - and then...then, He gave me you.
I know, of course, that you have not been given to me at all - not in the sense that you are mine. You are merely lent me. Still, the Lord has sent you into our home for a season, and you have brought us such joy!
I utterly love mothering you. I love your bright eyes, your funny noises, your husky little cry. I love your velvety cheeks, your tiny hands, your kicking feet. Your smile lights up our home.
And those nighttime feedings. The house - so rarely quiet - is at last perfectly still: only you and me awake. It is such a dear, familiar routine. The secret choreography of your feeding, known only to the two of us. Yes, a part of me will be sad when you give up this last nighttime feeding. It is a precious time to me.
And you are so precious. Such a delightful surprise for our family! You have such a sweet spirit - you have captured our hearts. My love, you are blessed to have three big brothers. They will have your back when you're older, and though I know your relationships may not always be perfect, those brothers are, and will be, a gift to you. Your family is a gift. God certainly knew what He was doing when he knit us together.
It breaks my heart when you cry. And when I think of the loss and pain which seem inevitable in this life, I long to find a way to shelter you from it. But I know that the God of all comfort will be faithful, and that He can take a hard thing and refine it into something beautiful. So, when your heart is broken, when you're wounded, when you've stumbled or are betrayed...take it to Him.
Elise, I want so much to be exactly the mother you want and need. I want to be hip, and confident, and funny, and wise. I want to be quicker to lay down my pride, to yield to the wisdom that comes from above. I want to instill in you a sense of worth, and a longing for your Creator.
I know that I cannot be all you need. But I promise that I will do my best. Please be patient with me.
I do not know what the coming years will bring. I do not know if our family will continue to enjoy health and happiness, or hard things that will shake us all. But I know that wherever life takes us, God will be there. And no matter what, I am so thankful for each child He has, in His grace, given into my arms for a season.
I love you, sweet girl.