Sixteen years old! A milestone birthday which warranted a special letter to my sweet, sweet oldest grand-daughter.
My dearest Alex, August 4, 2016
There is an old song that keeps running through my head on this special day. It goes something like this:
Where are you going, my little one, little one
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you're two, turn around and you're four
Turn around and you're a young girl going out of my door.
I’m sure Mom and Dad are deeply feeling this too! The time has ticked by so quickly. So many precious moments began on August 4, 2000. Those moments have been like little pebbles guiding me out of a forrest of grief onto a path of gratitude and joy.
Actually, it began even before that. I’ve told you, there is no doubt in my mind, you were my angel sent from God to breathe life back into me after Mark died. The anticipation of your birth gave me hope and filled the days before with a sense of purpose. There was absolutely nothing more important than your safe arrival into our family. I watched as Mom and Dad created the perfect nursery for you; freshly painted with the best in baby couture, the John Lennon Collection - only the best for our baby. I sat with mom every day when she was on bed rest to keep you safe, preparing lunch for her and watching endless episodes of A Baby Story. Seeing all those television babies being born just heightened our own anticipation. My every day ritual was to climb the steps to your beautiful new room and pray to a God who had shaken my faith in Him and the fairness of life. I pleaded for Him to take good care of your mom and bring you safe and healthy into this world. And, then you arrived...many laborious hours later. I don’t think you were anxious to be a part of this world because you sure took your time making your grand entrance. I can't say I blame you. Heaven must have been, well, heavenly. Perfection. However, God knew you had more than one mission to fulfill here. When you did arrive, we all passed you around, laying kisses on your soft angel face, I know you sensed from hour one you were immensely loved and would be all the days of your life.
The times I was lucky enough to be called to “babysit” (aka: healing ceremonies) As soon as Mom and Dad walked out the door I would sweep you into my arms. You would nuzzle up to my neck, your tiny fuzzy head next to my chin, and I would breathe in your fresh new baby scents. With every inhalation, I felt my heart open up a little bit more; a torrent of love gushed in and freshened its battered old chambers. I whispered sweet every-things into your tiny ears, thanking you and God for the privilege of being your Mimi, promising you that I would always be there for you and love you forever and beyond: reciting stories and sealing them with kisses of the wonderful life you would have, filled with the kind of love that would always keep you safe while allowing you the freedom to be your own person. Uniquely, incredible, hand crafted you; formed of the same elements of the stars, in the image of the One who created all. I told you how blessed you were to be born a girl at a time that you could dare to dream and try, fail and succeed, and find your own path, all the while being unconditionally protected and tucked under the arms of your earthly parents and your heavenly one as well. I poured all of those wishes onto your tiny head like a baptism of sorts sealing your future with a God that I was beginning to know again. Wise sages have said that children are so fresh from heaven, they can heal your soul. Alex, you gave me back my life and put the light back into my eyes.
Everyday since your birth, I thank God for you, your sisters, your mom and dad, and all of our family. We are so blessed to have so much love in our lives and I never want to take that for granted. I hope you will always remember that too. Joy is our birthright, but it is also a great privilege and must be fertilized with our gratitude in order to experience its fullness.
I have watched you walk through things in this life that I wished I could have protected you from. Hand surgeries. Elementary school bullies. Disappointments. The amazing thing is, you always come out the other side stronger and a better person. Your empathy, acceptance and understanding of your friends and others is mature beyond your years. Your kind heart reaches out and forgives, touches, and softens people. I’ve been witness to that. I have always been amazed at your honesty for one so young. That is a rare quality these days, and at times it may not seem to serve you well, but it will always pay off in the long run if for no other reason, it will bring you peace of mind. I am delighted by your curiosity of life. A thirst for knowledge and open-mindedness are two of the best qualities a person can have. Keep reading. With only 33% of the population reading a book a year, it’s sure to give you a bit of an edge in life. The old saying, “knowledge is power” is so true. Knowledge slays fear and will help you to grow, step outside of your comfort zone, and find your purpose. I just know you will do great things with this precious life you have been given. When your heart gets skinned up, and it will, because that is part of this wonderful life, I will be there, extending the healing salve of love and kisses, helping you to remember your resilience and promising you that you will believe in love, and goodness, and find your joy again. Just like you did for me, 16 years ago.
Happy 16th Birthday my sweet girl! I will love you for all eternity.