Well, it’s your earthly birthday and while I doubt you pay attention to that now in heaven, I do. September 24 is your day.
This is the eighth time I celebrate your birthday without you and I have even more questions I wish I could ask and news I wish I could share. The older I get, the more I realize I should have asked you tons more than I did.
I can’t even explain how much I miss your voice and your smile and your hugs. And your support, no matter what.
I could use those loving hugs right now. And your reassurance. And your fiesty-ness. We all could.
Mom, you would be crazy over Jubilee. Absolutely smitten.
I know that you would have taken her diagnosis hard at first. You are from that generation. But you also spent time at Camp. And you spent time with different. And you’ve watched Paul and I handle disabilities.
So, while the nurse and seventy-two year old you would have struggled and worried and wanted easier for me, you would be smitten with this little baby girl and you would be one of her biggest champions. I just know it.
No matter how old I get or that fact that I’ve already had a baby after you died, this just isn’t easy without you. I want you here. I want to watch you to hold her and cuddle her and read to her and gaze at her and fuss over her. And I want you to help me keep the stinkin nasal canula on correctly, the oxygen condenser set right, the formula mixed perfectly, and my mind trusting the doctors.
You have another granddaughter, Mom. Your eldest has another baby. And she’s stinkin cute.
That is, of course, the biggest news, but there is more.
Hannah Beth is acting more and more like you. And it cracks me up. And makes me crazy. She’s all stubbornness and confidence rolled up in smirk. She’s casual and barefoot most of the time (just like you were on your first date with Papalou and how you were most of the time) and still adores losing herself in a book, though she doesn’t read as much as she used to do. She worked at Glorieta this summer and the Baptist in you would have beamed.
Noah is struggling to become a young man. He is finding his way and learning more and more. He’s wicked with numbers and science, can you believe? (Yea, Paul’s genes!) He loved chemistry and rocked it. He has quite the sarcastic wit and the two of you could go head to head. He could use a grandmother cheering him on during this season of his life.
Chloe is still just as sweet as she was when you dressed her in pink fur coats. She is a natural care taker and sensitive young lady. The two of you would enjoy lounging in chairs on your back porch while reading your own books and snuggling pets. She desperately wants a cat and if you were here, she’d already have one.
Phoebe can hardly stand being only twelve. She’s ready to drive and to do. She hates having to learn and grown and just wants to be serving and entertaining and living life to the fullest. I’m pretty sure she’s cut from the same cloth as you. And I think your brother and sister would agree.
Esther finds big sisterhood to a new baby sister to be the best thing that has ever happened to her. She can’t stop raving and bragging about “the cutest baby ever”. She even changes diapers and dresses Jubilee. At ten, she is helpful and adorable to watch. She prefers electronic entertainment (lots like you) unless we force her to disengage from it and then she disappears for hours (just like you).
Paul Louis would have you completely wrapped around his little finger. And every other finger. His charm and antics would thrill your grandmother heart. He loves building and climbing and spouting one liners. He never ceases to entertain and he’s all boy, but he loves a good snuggle still.
Mom, you’d be rocking this age with the kids, like I said in my last letter. While you loved newborns and babies, you would have been a fantastic grandmother for the older stage.
I wish with all my heart that I could watch you enjoy conversations with them each. That I could see your smile spread across your face when they did something funny or made you proud.
Paul and I are doing great. Our love and marriage have stood through some serious situations and major life trials and we have come out on the other side stronger and more in love. You were so right when you said, “He’ll always take care of you.”
Our adoption may have been hard for you. The openness of it may have really made you uncomfortable, but I know that you would have seen the beauty and the purpose and the clearness of it all. And you would have been so proud of MH. You would not have doubted God’s hand in it all. And you would have found peace in that.
Mom, I still don’t feel old enough to be without you. Your unconditional love for me no matter what wacky road Paul and I took leaves its mark and finds me always wanting it. You did a great job.
We’re having oatmeal raisin cookies for breakfast and burgers for dinner. And I’ll be bragging all over the place about you.
Please know that I love you. I miss you. I look forward to hugging you in heaven. Happy birthday.