Her daddy calls her
Claireberry Blue Eyes,and oh my.
I've had a lot of thoughts swirling as her birth day approached.
The other night, sitting at a Christmas concert,
a memory came to me that I had forgotten from two years ago.
I had left everyone else at home and drove 10 minutes on a cold late-November night.
Just me and this little one, my belly swollen and tight and expectant.
She was tucked in warm and I wanted her to come out.
I had gone home to help my dad decorate his Christmas tree.
He didn't know I was coming and I walked in the back door and called to let him know I was there. He was delighted I had come and we worked in the quiet together for a couple of hours.
We listened to carols---the comforting, familiar background soundtrack that accompanied all my childhood Christmases.
(That house, that place, my people, my memories, my faith.)
In my mind's eye I can see my pregnant self, up on the stool, helping Dad string the lights around the tree.
Afterward, I sat stringing ornaments at the dining room table,
the lights low in the house.
Just the two of us.
I had no idea, then, that it would be the last Christmas we would have---together, in the flesh.
It washes me in a beautiful, sad warmth as I think about it now.
And sitting there at the concert thinking, and in the days since, I have reflected on how I had no idea what was headed my way over the next couple of years that would be her first two on earth.
The dam broke loose when this beautiful baby girl entered the world.
One by one, struggle after struggle came,
practically on top of each other.
This little woman has been like a bright ray of sunshine
through so much pain and sorrow.
I know it's not on a global scale---but, like Mary, I feel like, at Christmas time two years ago,
God sent me a beautiful baby that has lit up my world.
She brought good cheer.
Because of her, I was pleading to God shortly after her birth, as we worried for her life.
Thinking about it now, it seems to foreshadow many
tearful conversations He and I would have
in the many difficult months ahead.
She was preparing the way and the pattern, and she has been our beautiful companion through it all -- for ALL of us,
our entire family.
She is optimism and spunk and sass and joy.
She has been nothing but a bright, lovely light.
Amid the birthday streamers and presents and chocolate cake with buttercream Nutella frosting (Ummmmm...hello!!),
I'm overwhelmed -- and in awe -- at how the Savior performs miracles.
They are personal and calculated to bless, for particular circumstances and specific people.
He ministers in ways you can't always understand or see.
He gives you more than you knew you needed -- like in the way He has let this beautiful soul grace ours.
I don't know how this happens; I just know that it does.
I'm humbled by it, and really grateful.