Dear Sadie: Thankful

Hi, precious girl.

So much has happened since I wrote to you last, in your world and the world at large.

You took your first steps on October 3, 2016…I bribed you by holding out my phone. Now, walking is your primary mode of transportation, and watching you do it so confidently makes me so proud of you I could explode. We moved into our new house on October 8, and you settled right in to exploring it on foot. May you ever approach things as fearlessly and fully as you do your laps around our house. You are starting to talk. You say: Sadie, Mommy, Daddy, Baby, Doggy, Ducky, Hi, Bye, Yes, No, your own brand of “Thank you”, and more. You’re starting to use sign language to communicate with us, and now have 12 teeth. You are a toddler now, a BIG girl, with big, TODDLER emotions. The tantrums are in full force, and suddenly parenting is more than feeding you and managing your sleep schedule–now we are tasked with staying calm when you’re losing it, and teaching you how to manage your feelings in a healthy way. Since I’m still trying to master this myself, trust me when I say that we are learning as we go on that one. Oh Sadie…you are the most incredible journey.

Speaking of journeys…Since I wrote to you last,  I started graduate school, and it has changed my life and my heart for the better. It takes so much of my time and energy–I should be studying now, actually, but there were a few things on my heart I needed to tell you NOW. School takes me away from you more than I’d like. I miss you when I’m at class until well past your bedtime, or sitting in a coffee shop, typing furiously to meet an assignment deadline. But while I’m missing you in class, I’m having my heart and my mind broken wide open by my classmates. What I am learning from books pales in comparison to what they teach me simply by sharing their stories. I am stretching and bending and shifting the ways I see the world, and the ways I see myself and the story I’m writing. What echoes so loudly for me with each new lesson is to hold nothing back. I have seen the sharing of experiences break down invisible walls between people–and those are the strongest kinds of walls, my darling girl. I hope your life never holds much darkness or pain. I pray it fervently, actually. But if it does, SHARE IT. Speak of it often and be brave…your pain can bring someone else healing, Sadie. Your dark can shine light all over the world, if you let it. Thank you (and Daddy, and Grandma) for being patient with me while I go on this adventure. I know it makes our lives harder sometimes, but I believe the outcome with be worth the sacrifice.

On November 8, there was an election. Without getting too political, I will tell you that the outcome has left much of our country angry and afraid. I pray, with every fiber of my being, that by the time you’re old enough to understand this election and all of its consequences, we will have found some healing and progress. So many are fearful of an uncertain future, and our fears are certainly warranted. The thing is, Sadie, the future is uncertain by definition. Right now we have no other choice than to walk forward–eyes open, hearts open, game faces on. But the truth is, walking forward in faith and love has always been the right direction. It always will be.

Anyway, today is Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day two years ago, I submerged a pregnancy test in a Dixie cup of pee (ain’t nobody got time for trying to go directly on the stick) and learned that I was going to be a mommy. YOUR Mommy. Yet I couldn’t have dreamed the blessing you’d be. You exceeded my every wish, every hope. A couple of nights ago, your daddy and I stayed up late, talking about our lives and the impact we want to have on this broken and beautiful world. We grieved a little over our year of house hunting, remodeling, and moving, and cried over the time it took away from our family, from you. We held each other and promised to stay as awake and present and alive as we can. We only get this one shot. To love you, and love each other. We know we won’t always get this right, but we will never stop trying.

Sweet girl, I have so much to be thankful for. So much. I am privileged and honestly, downright spoiled in so many ways. But you…you are my greatest privilege, and my most precious gift. I am humbled and honored to be your mommy. You make me so happy, so frustrated, so tired…so brave. My story is all I have to give this world, and by far and away, you are my favorite chapter.

Happy Thanksgiving, Sadie. Let’s take a good nap today, yeah?

Love you forever,